Orange marmalade









I always thought making orange marmalade was fiddly & super difficult. Well, turns out, it’s rather easy and the most difficult thing about it is the shopping. Seville oranges are not your usual (German) supermarket fare, they are mostly sold at proper/specialty grocers, markets and in farm shops – my favourite places to shop anyway. So, if you see Seville oranges (the season is from end of December to February), buy, buy, buy like a 1980s stockbroker and ask questions later*.

Dark January & February evenings afternoons are perfect for preserving in general and seasonal citrus fruit in particular. Everything has slowed down, the rush of Christmas has passed, the days are starting to get longer again but are still grey and cold and frankly, miserable at times. The citrus scent is intoxicating – a promise of warmer, brighter days – while the inherent satisfaction of preserving must play to our deepest instincts of making things last beyond their seasons, to conserve, ferment, smoke & pickle and lay down stocks. A far greater pleasure to chop and stir while chatting to your family or listening to all the accumulated podcasts and audiobooks than watching another episode of …

Seville orange marmalade
It rapidly seems to become a British food appreciation month here and frankly, a slice of good (!) toast, salted butter and orange marmalade are hard to beat when the early morning light is grey, the air cold & crisp and rather then the longed for snow, fog has embraced everything in white. Best enjoyed wearing woolly socks with a big mug of a strong milky Earl Grey and the morning papers. I wish for a few bounding dogs, noisy children and a house in the country – an idyllic daydream indeed.

*What to do with Seville oranges? Marmalade, of course, or for a double whammy use the sour juice or a few for the incredibly succulent & deliciously savoury cochinita pibil & use the extra peel in the preserve or bottle their fragrant bitterness for this summer’s bitter orange aperitif with the recipe for Vin d’orange from Southern France.

More preserving: preserved lemonschutney, Vin d’orange, confiture aux tomates vertes / green tomato jam, elderberry cordial, habanero salsa

Something to eat the marmalade on: English Hot cross buns, English muffins, Ricotta pancakesmaple & walnut scones, make orange almond squares


Preserving Seville oranges

Orange marmalade

Makes about ten jars, 3.5-4kg /8-9 lbs. of marmalade in total.


1kg / 2¼ lbs (7-8 Seville oranges)*
juice of 2 lemons (100ml / ½ cup)
2kg / 4 ½ lbs / 9 cups sugar
2 litres / 3½ UK pints / 2 US quarts + ½ cup water

a small piece of cheesecloth or butter muslin and cotton string
sugar thermometer (optional)
jam jars


Wash & halve the oranges, juice them and reserve all pips, fibres & pith in small bowl clad with the muslin (Very important, the pectin is in the pips & pith.). Decant the juice into a large bowl and remove the white fuzzy membrane with a tablespoon and collect likewise in your pip & pith bowl. Gather every the muslin together tie it like a spice bag.

Slice the peel depending on your preferences into very thin, thin or thicker shreds, I aim at a mixture of fine to medium thin strips (no need to be too pedantic about it, it’s handmade!) and add to the large juice bowl along with the lemon juice, muslin bag & water. Leave overnight to soften.

Decant the soaked oranges & juices into a preserving pan or large pot, bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 2 hours until the liquid has reduced by half to two thirds. Remove the muslin bag and squeeze out all the juices, add the sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Insert a sugar thermometer (careful not to trap any peel underneath), increase the heat and bring the fruit-sugar mixture to a vigorous boil. Keep boiling (approximately 25 minutes) until you have reached the setting point at 105°C / 221° F, remove any scum.
Alternative setting point test-method: place a saucer into the freezer and after 25 minutes boiling drop a little marmalade onto the plate and after a few moments watch the surface when you drag a finger through it. If it crinkles and the marmalade is not liquid anymore, the setting point is reached.

Fill prepared jam jars (sterilized: washed & dried, I keep them in a hot oven or run them through a hot dishwasher cycle) while the marmalade is hot, close & label. There’s always a little rest, decant into a small pot and reserve for tomorrow’s toast.


*if using leftover peel & pips from cochinita pibil, just weigh the whole lot and reach the approx. weight





Englische Bitterorangenmarmelade

Ergibt zehn Gläser, 3,5-4kg Marmelade insgesamt.


1kg (7-8 Sevilla- oder Bitterorangen)*
Saft von 2 Zitronen (100ml)
2kg Zucker
2 Liter Wasser

ein kleines Stück Musselin oder Mulltuch & Küchengarn
Zuckerthermometer (optional)


Orangen waschen und halbieren, den Saft auspressen und alle Kerne, weiße Haut & Mark in einer mit dem Mulltuch ausgelegten kleinen Schüssel sammeln (sehr wichtig, in diesen steckt wichtiges Pektin). Ausgepressten Saft in eine große Schüssel geben, mit einem Esslöffel die weiße Haut bzw. das Mark aus den Schalen entfernen und ebenfalls in dem Musselin sammeln. Das Tuch mit allen Kernen etc. zu einem kleinen Beutel zusammenbinden.

Die Orangenhaut je nach Geschmack in sehr dünne, dünne oder dickere Streifen schneiden, ich strebe eine Mischung aus feinen bis mittelfeinen Schnitze an (es macht keinen Sinn pedantisch genau zu sein, die Marmelade ist handgemacht und die Mischung macht sie interessant). Die zerschnitzelte Haut, Zitronensaft & Musselinbeutel zum ausgepressten Saft in die große Schüssel geben und mit dem Wasser auffüllen. Über Nacht einweichen lassen.

Am nächsten Tag in einen großen Topf füllen und zum Kochen bringen, für 2 Stunden leicht simmern lassen bis die Flüssigkeit um die Hälfte (oder etwas mehr) reduziert ist. Den Kernbeutel entfernen und den Saft ausdrücken, Zucker hineinrühren bis er sich vollständig aufgelöst hat. Das Thermometer in den Topf hängen (darauf achten, dass sich keine Orangenstückchen darunter befinden, die würden sonst anbrennen), die Mischung bei großer Hitze zum Kochen bringen und für ca. 25 Minuten kochen bis der Gelierpunkt (105°C) erreicht ist. Eventuell Schaum entfernen.
Alternativer Geliertest: eine Untertasse oder kleinen Teller ins Gefrierfach legen und nach ca. 25 Minuten einen Klacks Marmelade darauf geben. Einen Moment verstreichen lassen, dann mit dem Finger eine Linie durch den Orangenfleck ziehen. Wenn sich die kleine Haut auf der Oberfläche kräuselt und die Marmelade nicht fließt, dann ist der Gelierpunkt erreicht.

Heiß in vorbereitete Gläser füllen (Gläser waschen, abtrocknen und im heißen Ofen aufbewahren oder in einem heißen Spülmaschinengang sterilisieren), zuschrauben und mit Schildern versehen. Eine winzige Menge bleibt immer übrig, also schnell in ein kleines Schälchen fürs Frühstück füllen.

* Vom Cochinita pibil übrig gebliebene Orangenschalen und -kerne einfach mitwiegen.


7 thoughts on “Orange marmalade

  1. I have tried marmalade with several different recipes, including one where you cooked the whole oranges first—making it impossible to thinly cut the peels. I am anxious to try it again, with a better recipe. I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for Sevilles before the season passes.

    • Michelle, this is the easiest way to make marmalade. The orange peel is cut while firm & dry (no accidents) and the overnight soak softens it without loosing too much of the bright colour and fresh orange taste that gets lost due to a long cooking time. Send me a line how it worked for you. Happy Valentine’s Day! N

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