I grew up with a marmalade hedge, actually I later discovered that it was a citrus hedge, and my mum made loads of marmalade every winter. For some reason I have never wanted to make marmalade, because I knew exactly where to go to get mine… thanks mum!!! But For the last few years I have been hunkering after making my own… it is my mum’s legacy after all… so on endless scraps of paper, and the longest email ever… I finally took the age old recipe in hand and we have been creating marmalade since the start of lockdown and we have enough to last us a good long while. And every time I see some wintry citrus cheering up our fruit bowl, I wait a day or two before saying: time to make some marmalade.
When I posted our marmalade haul on instagram the other day a couple of folk asked me for the recipe… Honestly there is nothing prettier than bowl of citrus on the kitchen counter during winter, when the sunshine is tepid… citrus can light up entire the kitchen. I do have to say, that like jam, once you have made your own you will never buy shop jam again. It is not nearly as hard as or as complicated as people say it is… its fun and the house smell delicious. Totally worth the time and the effort.
Just keep in mind that I can’t stand to waste anything and when the fruit bowl gets low, to the place where everyone says no thank you… then it is time to make some jars of liquid gold.
Se7en + 1 Steps to a Jar of Marmalade
- Citrus Fruit: We used a mixture of whatever citrus fruit was in the bowl, be sure to include lemons, you need a couple of lemons in the mix, to help your marmalade to set.
- Water: To cover your sliced fruit.
- Sugar: Once your fruit is sliced and has soaked overnight, measure it and for each cup of fruit pulp, add a cup of sugar to your pot.
- TIME: This is not an instant recipe, but it is a great weekend project, chop and slice your fruit on the Saturday, and boil it up on the Sunday.
- Finely slice the fruit and place it in a large bowl, keeping the pips to the side for now. Cover your sliced fruit with water, just enough to cover it and soak overnight, for about 24 hours.
- About the Pips: The pips contain pectin and help with the setting of your marmalade, so you need them in the process of making the marmalade, but nobody wants them in the final product. Most recipes say wrap them in a muslin cloth, but I just use reusable tea bags. I put them in a small muslin bag, or I place them in a small tea bag that I use for making a pot of lose tea… any re-usable teabags for loose tea would be perfect… pop the pips in there. And then pop the “tea/pip bag” into your soaking fruit and it is easy to take them out when the time comes later.
- The following day I put the chopped up fruit pulp in a pot, with the water they soaked in. As I put the fruit pulp into the pot I weight it to get the amount of sugar that I will need. Once it is all in the pot on the stove top, I let it simmer away for about an hour until the skins are soft. Stir it every now and then, so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. (Don’t ask me how I know this, but should your fruit stick to the bottom of the pot, don’t stir it, just immediately pour it into a new pot, leaving the stuck fruit behind and continue in the fresh pot).
- This is a good time to dash around the kitchen finding any available jam jars and I pop them into the dishwasher on the hottest wash… my mother used to spend hours of time sterilising jars in pots of boiling water, I am happy with the dishwasher… it works fine for me.
- Once the fruit has simmered away you can remove your bag of pips make sure you squeeze all the juices around the pips, back into the pot, when you do that.
- Then add the sugar to your pot… and leave it gently simmering away. It will begin to heat up and bubble away really quickly, sugar does that.
- At this stage I split it into two pots, we had way more marmalade than the one put could cope with. This is very much a case of a half full pot is a lot easier to manage. It does need to bubble away quite a bit…until it reaches the magical setting point. I use a candy thermometer to make sure the marmalade reaches the setting number of 106°C /222°F then let it boil there for a few minutes while I stir it.
- Once your marmalade has boiled away for a couple of minutes it is ready to jar. You can test it by placing a small spoonful onto a “fridge cooled saucer” after a moment to cool, your marmalade should start to set slightly on the cold saucer. Then we just ladle it into our jars and close them tight… wipe the jars down and the jars are ready to pop into the cupboard to use as you need or to gift on.