Guest Post from my Mum today as I don’t like marmalade at all! I thought you guys might like this recipe though. All her own words so take it away, Mum:
I found this recipe many years ago and, having seen many others over the years, still cannot fault it. It does require a pressure cooker, which, until I married 32 years ago, I had had no experience of – when I first started using it all those years ago; I was terrified of it, being convinced it would explode! I can say that I am now quite comfy with it, though it does give me the odd scare if its equilibrium is disturbed – for example, if someone walks past and hits the loose floorboard by the cooker, it screams and gushes steam out from under the weight!
The original recipe calls for the oranges to be frozen, but it is not essential. You just cut the cooking time by half on the first cooking. The advantage of being able to use frozen oranges is, of course, that the Seville orange season is short, normally January/ February each year, and sometimes, having spotted them in the shop, you just don’t have the time to make the marmalade immediately.
2lbs Seville oranges
2 pints of water
4lbs granulated sugar, or jam sugar if you want to make it more expensive!
4 tablespoons of lemon juice.
You can scale this up or down easily, though much will depend on the size of your pressure cooker. These quantities are the maximum mine will take.
This made 2 x 500g jars and 4 x 250 jars, so about 4 lbs in total. Sorry, I work in pounds and ounces, but my jars come from France and Italy, where I stock up each year on the wonderful preserving jars they sell so cheaply over there.
Put the jars to warm, minus lids if they are screw top, minus the rubber seal if they are the rubber seal and wire closure type, in a very low oven, whilst you make the marmalade.
Put the oranges in the pressure cooker with the water, put the lid and the pressure weight on and bring to the boil and to pressure (15lbs) or max or whatever is the top setting on your particular monster. Once at pressure, cook for 20minutes if frozen and 10 minutes if not. Turn off the heat and slowly the pressure will revert to normal. You can speed this up by taking the pressure cooker to the cold tap and running cold water over the lid. Even after 32 years, I still consider this is a step too far! Once the pressure is off, the lid comes off easily – don’t rush it – yes, you can sometimes get it off when it is still under pressure, if you are strong enough, but the contents will potentially spray everywhere, and they will burn. I normally switch off the gas, and make a cup of tea whilst it sorts itself out.
Remove the oranges to a colander over a bowl with a slotted spoon. They should be soft and tender and a thin skewer should pass through the skin easily. Cut each one in half on a plate, to catch the juice, and with a soup or dessert spoon scoop out the inside pips, pith and all into the remaining liquid in the pressure cooker with any juice collected in the bowl. Put the lid back on and bring up to 15lbs/max/whatever for a further 5 minutes. Cool as before and then strain the liquid and orange flesh etc through a fine sieve into a bowl. It is OK to press the flesh quite hard to extract the maximum of juice and pectin and doesn’t make the end result cloudy. Return the liquid to the pressure cooker. Scrape off any pulp from the outside of the sieve and add to the liquid, then discard the residue of pips etc.
The remaining skin shells need then to be sliced thinly, about the thickness of a matchstick, or thicker if you like coarse cut marmalade, and added to the liquid with the sugar and lemon juice.
I use the same pressure cooker without the lid to finish off the marmalade, but if you make larger quantities you will need to use a preserving pan. You need to bear in mind that the mix of liquid, sugar and peel will rise up as you boil it and you do not want it to boil over.
Warm the liquid etc over a medium heat to gently dissolve the sugar, stirring regularly. You know it is dissolved when you no longer can feel the gritty texture of the sugar between wooden spoon and pan. Then bring to a rapid, rolling boil for 10 minutes before testing for set. Stir regularly, so that the peel doesn’t sink and burn, but watch out as it can get quite explosive and will burn badly if it erupts onto your hand.
To test for setting point, take a very small spoonful and pour onto a cold plate. Leave for a minute or so then slowly push your finger through the marmalade sample. If it wrinkles, it is ready. Alternatively, use a jam thermometer and cook to 105C. How quickly it gets to setting point is variable as it will depend on the age of the oranges, and the level of pectin in them. The last lot I made took 15 minutes to get to setting point, and I checked it using the finger test, and the thermometer to be sure. Nothing is worse than runny marmalade as it gets everywhere, except on the toast.
Once setting point is reached, turn off the heat, add a knob of butter, and give it a quick stir to melt it and mix it in and then leave for 5 to 10 minutes before potting up. This stops the peel sinking or floating. The butter prevents scrum forming and seems to make the marmalade glossier.
Gently fill each jar, making sure you get an even distribution of peel between all the jars. Using a jam funnel helps for this and avoids sticky jars. Put the lids on tightly and leave to cool before labelling. Purists would probably go for waxed discs, cellophane tops, and rubber bands, but I prefer the French/Italian jars with either metal lids or rubber seals and a wire clamp. It is very satisfying when you hear the metal lids snap as the vacuum is created, and I think the jam/marmalade stores better and for longer. I have even reused shop bought jam jars, with the telltale vacuum seal lids, and these too will snap and reseal when filled with hot jam.
Store in a cool, dark place – we have a wardrobe in the garage full of jams, pickles and other preserved goods, that does the trick.