marjorie73: (Default)
The season for Seville Oranges is over now (it is very short), although I have enough in the freezer for one more batch of marmalade, but it occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that it might be interesting to give it a go with blood oranges, as they're so pretty!


It's not as easy as you might think to track down blood oranges, but I managed, it, and spent an afternoon juicing and chopping and boiling.

I ended up with 6 and a half jars.

It's pretty, although not quite as pink as I had hoped, based on the juice.It's also much sweeter than the ordinary Seville kind, so I shall probably use it for baking, or to offer to guests, as I like my marmalade  pretty tart.


For comparison - Blood Orange on the left, Seville Orange on the right.

I also bought some pin grapefruit and am planning to make a small batch using those, too, to see how that turns out.

marjorie73: (Default)
It's that time of year again.

Last weekend I was able to buy plenty of Seville oranges, and last Suday I made my first batch of marmalade, yielding around 7lbs.


I have another 5lbs or so of oranges in the freezer so will be making another couple of batches over the next week or so, and I am planning to see whether I can find some blood oranges and make a batch with those, too.


Feb. 14th, 2016 03:51 pm
marjorie73: (Default)

I posted a couple of weeks ago about making this year's first batch of marmalade - I have now worked my way through all 8lbs (or so) of oranges, and have an impressive-looking stock of jars full of marmalade, like bottled sunshine.

A chance thought as I was enjoying a glass of gin and tonic led me to ponder the possibility of using other kinds of citrus fruit, limes in particular.

Which resulted in me making 2 small batches of lime marmalade, one lime with Gin and Tonic, and the other Mojito - lime with fresh mint and rum.

I think they worked out reasonably well.

Marmalade harvest

I have, I think, ended up with a little more than 15lbs of orange marmalade, and around a pound of each variety of lime marmalade. I shall not, of course, be eating it all myself, but will be giving or sending jars to various friends and family members (postage charges permitting)

I may also use some of it in baking - chocolate and orange cupcakes,perhaps. . .

marjorie73: (Default)

I was supposed to have guests this weekend but sadly they had to cancel, but I have been keeping busy, never the less.

It is marmalade season once again, so I have been shopping, and bought about 6lbs of Seville oranges with a view to making an initial batch or two of marmalade.

It's a couple of years since I have made any - two years ago I was preparing to move house, and had people viewing the house a lot (and I decided that it wasn't really practical to also move loads of jars of marmalade).

Last year I didn't organise myself to do the thing properly and ended up making a small batch using a tin of pre-prepared orange pulp and peel (which, it has to be admitted, works pretty well, but isn't quite the same, and doesn't, at least if you are me, give quite the same sense of achievement!

So this year I am back to doing it the old-fashioned way.

The problem with the old-fashioned way, of course,  is that it does take a long time. Particularly the part where you have to chop orange peel into tiny pieces. (I'm limited, in the size of the batch I can make,  by the size of my largest pan, so I'm only using 2lbs of oranges at a time. However, juicing and chopping 9 oranges (and one lemon) takes time!

However, once that's done, you get to spend the next two hours with the lovely scent of simmering oranges pervading the house!

Then comes the exciting bit of adding lots of sugar, and finding out whether you have misjudged the size of your pan and the extent to which boiling sugar expands...

And a little after that you get to put the marmalade into jars and to admire that beautiful orange-gold colour.

This original batch has yielded about 5.5lbs of marmalade, and I still have about 4lbs of oranges, so should be able to make a couple more batches, when I get time. Meanwhile, my toast-covering needs for the next few months are sorted, and I should be able to share the orangey goodness with my friends.

marjorie73: (Default)
It's turned very cold again these last few days,and they are threatening us with snow, although I suspect it may not come this far south. I think we may get it as sleet or rain, instead.

On Friday I went into town and bought around 6 lbs of seville oranges, to make marmalade, and yesterday evening I did the juicing and chopping peel stage of the first batch (using around 2 lbs of oranges, which is as much as will fit into my largest saucepan without overflowing at the boiling sugar stage). By the time I had finished, it was too late to finish the whole process, as the peel has to be boiled for about 2 hours, to soften it, before you add the sugar, so I left it all to soak in water over night.

This morning turned out to be very cold and frosty but also clear and sunny. This is the sight which greeted me from my bedroom window as I made the bed.

As my frien Spacedlaw ommented, ideal weather for a walk. I agreed. I spent the morning making marmalade, but once that was done, and a dozen jars sitting cooling (and, I hope, setting!) in the kitchen, I set out for a walk.
It was cold and bright and beautiful, but also very wet and muddy.
And did I mention cold? I took a circular route, and the sun went it when I was at bout the most distant point, so the second half of the walk was both colder and, as a result, brisker, than the first half!
1st batch of marmalade of 2013

When I got home (at which point I had to change not only my shoes, but also my jeans, as they were so muddy) I was happy to find that my marmalade seems to be setting nicely.

And I was very good, and have cleaned up both the walk-related muddiness, and the marmalade-related stickiness, and vacuumed everywhere, so I have a nice clean, citrus-scented house, and a marked feeling of accomplishment.
marjorie73: (Default)
It's that time of year again: there are Seville oranges in the greengrocers' shops, it's cold outside, and I am (literally) scraping the bottom of my last jar of 2011 marmalade. So it must be time to make the entire house small of oranges by making marmalade.

Saturday was very cold - it's been a very mild winter so far, and I've only had about 2 days when I've needed to scrape ice off the car before heading into work. There was a very heavy frost, coupled with that very bright, cold sunshine you sometimes get in winter, and a perfectly clear, perfectly blue sky. I walked into town and found that the marmalade oranges were in stock at the greengrocer's (they weren't, last weekend) so I bought lots, popped into the corner shop on the way home for shedloads of sugar, and spent much of Saturday afternoon making my first batch, and much of Sunday afternoon making the second.
1st Batch of 2012 Marmalade!

So far, the first batch is looking good - it's got a nice set, and the peel is well distributed through the jars. Today's batch is not looking quite so good - it looks as though the peel is rising a bit, especially in the fist couple of jars I filled, which means that I didn't leave it quite long enough before putting it into jars, but the taste seems fine, so it's many aesthetic! I am always a little bit worried that I'll leave it too long and end up with a saucepan full of solid marmalade, instead of neat jars full.

I've probably made around 12lbs of marmalade, and have another 4lbs of oranges, (which will make around the same quantity) so will probably do some more next weekend, provided I can source a few more empty jars by then.

Having spent most of the last week eating very dull, not-very-good-for-me meals because I felt too tired to cook properly when I got in from work, I also took the opportunity yesterday to make a big batch of chili / spaghetti sauce, most of which I have frozen, so I have enough for 7 or 8 meals, so the next few times I'm too tired to cook I can have real, home cooked food without having to do any real cooking.

I also renewed my car insurance, which was, as it so often is, a frustrating exercise. My renewal from my existing provider was just under £100 more than last year, for the annual premium. Shopping around, I managed to get it to £45 less than last year (and with a slightly lower excess than the renewal quote, but otherwise an identical policy) - the really irritating part being that this is actually with the same insurer - but even knowing this, they wouldn't price match so it is treated as a new application, not a renewal, and I have to faff around sending copies of my licence and renewal notice. It seems such a waste, and just goes to show how much insurers rely on inertia to take advantage of their customers. I'd love to see an insurer genuinely reward loyal customers, with lower prices for sticking with them, but I doubt it will happen.

I didn't get around to spring cleaning the spare bedroom, which is next on my 'to-do' list, but all in all I feel the weekend has not been wasted, and I shall be able to settle down to enjoy watching 'Sherlock' with a clear conscience, this evening!
marjorie73: (Default)

It's marmalade season again, and having bought some Seville oranges 2 weeks ago, I now have both the time, and the energy, to actually make the marmalade (or at least the 1st batch - I have bought lots of oranges this year, so should be able to make several batches.)

One of the things about marmalade-making is that while it isn't difficult, it is time consuming. although it does make the house smell wonderful as it is cooking, and for me, it's an evocative scent as it reminds me of my grandmother, who always made marmalade (I never made any, until after she died)

This morning, I had some errands to run in town first thing, so didn't get started until lunchtime, and I spent most of the afternoon on it, one way or another. (although this did include a lunch-break and a waiting-for-the-dishwasher break.)

Still, by about 5 p.m. all was completed - I have 9 large & medium, and 3 small jars full, (I used 2lbs today, as  that's the right quantity for my largest saucepan) and I have at least 4 lbs of oranges left so should be able to make twice as much more, although I may have to wait until next weekend, as I find I have fewer empty jars than I thought, and the only 2 shops I know of in town which sell jam-jars are closed on Sundays.

So, for anyone who fancies having a go at making their own marmalde, this is the recipie I use.
3lbs seville oranges
2 lemons
6 pints of water
6lbs sugar


1. Wash the fruit thoroughly

2. Halve the oranges and lemons and squeeze out the juice and pips. Put all of the pips, plus and pulp & pith/membrane which comes away into a muslin bag & tie it up. Leave the bag soaking in the juice for now.
3. Cut the peel up (however thickly or thinly you like your marmalade)

4. Put the peel into a preserving pan or large saucepan with the water and the bag of pips & pith. Save the juice.
5. Bring the peel to the boil and simmer until the peel is very, very soft. (it should be soft enough that a piece rubbed between your thumb & finger will disintegrate). This will take up to 2 hours and the amount of liquid will have reduced by around half.(slightly shport time for smaller quantities)

6. Remove the muslin bag and squeeze so all the liquid runs back into the pan.

7. Add the sugar and heat gently until the sugar is all dissolved

8. Bring to the boil & boil rapidly until setting point is reached (if you have a jam thermometer, the temp is 105 C / 221 F. - if not, put a couple of saucers in the freezer before you start stage 7, then test by dropping a little marmalade onto the chilled saucer, leave for a moment then push the puddle with your fingernail - the top should wrinkle. If not, boil a bit more and try again)

9. Stir in the juice

10. Remove from heat and remove any scum from the top with a slotted spoon.

11. Leave for 10-15 then stir to distribute the peel and put into clean, warm pots (pots straight out of the dishwasher are fine, or alternatively, wash them very carefully then warm them in a cool oven)

12. Cover the top of the marmalade in each jar with a waxed disc then leave (covered with a clean tea towel) until completely cooled.

13. When completely cool, cover with a cellophane cover and (if you wish) a screw top.


Obviously you can increase or decrease the quantities, as long as you keep them in proportion. You normally get approximately 1lb marmalade per orange - these quantities will yield around 10lbs of marmalade. - I tend to make it in smaller batches as I don’t have a preserving pan, and find that about 1-2 lbs of oranges is as much as I can do at any given time in the largest pan I have, what with the boiling sugar.

If you want to get fancy, you can add ¼ pint of whisky or of Cointreau at stage 9

If you want, you can add the juice with the water at stage 4 - saving it to the end makes the marmalade taste a bit more tangy, which is why I do it, but you don't have to.


Feb. 14th, 2010 07:22 pm
marjorie73: (Default)

I don't wish to tempt fate, especially after the false alarm last week, but it does look as though spring might be on it's way.

I spent some time in the garden this afternoon, clearing away dead leaves and so on. I'm not really a gardener, and I suspect that some of this is stuff which ought to have been done in the autumn, but better late than never...

I have two little clumps of snowdrops, both of which have buds just beginning to open, and some other green shoots which I think may be crocuses when they get around to it. The rosemary bush seems to be thriving.

The sun came out for a little while whilst I was outside, which was lovely, and made everything look more alive - I can start to believe that more things will grow, and reappear.

I also finished off the marmalade, with lids and labels. It And ate some of it for the first time - there was a little bit left over, not enough to fill a jar, which forces me to eat it straight away....It isn't perfect - I think I ought to have let it sit a few more minutes before putting it in jars, as the peel has risen a bit, but only a little, and it tastes OK.
Small things, but satisfying. I think, today, I am happy

marjorie73: (Default)
(Originally posted at

Remember that marmalade I didn't get around to making last weekend? I did get around to it this weekend (Well, mostly)
The thing I tend to forget, between one year's marmalade and the next, is how time consuming it is.

Mostly the chopping-orange-peel-into-very-small-pieces part, although the boiling of the peel to make it soft takes ages as well, you can mostly go away and let it get on with it.
In my case, 'preparation time' also included walking down to the shops to buy another 4lbs of sugar. I did go into the kitchen shop to see whether they had a jam funnel, to reduce the stickiness factor at the bottling stage. I didn't buy one, tho'. Partly because they were a bit pricy, and partly because all three of the shop assistants stood around chatting to one another and drinking coffee, completely ignoring me and 3 other customers, so I felt disinclined to buy lest it encourage them!

Chopping up was a frustrating experience for Tybalt. In his world, the sound of the kitchen scissors must mean that I am trimming meat or cutting up bacon rashers. He was therefore not best pleased when, having made the effort of running all the way downstairs, he found that I was not cutting up anthing edible at all!
Having a short memory (or perhaps simply an optimistic character) He came to check on me several times. each time, he was disappointed anew to find nothing but citrus fruit....
Aside from a moment of panic when it seemed the marmalade was going to boil over, the marmalade-making seemed to go well, althoug I shall now have to wait for it to cool to see whether I get a decent set, but it doesn't look too bad so far - as far as I can see so far, the peel isn't rising to the top, which is a good sign.
I still have about 1/3 of the marmalade to make, but I've done all the chopping - it's just the easy boiling and decanting which still needs doing. That, and working my way through my current jar of shop-bought marmalde, so I can start eating the good stuff!
And for now, the whole house smells of oranges, reminding me of Laleah, my grandmother. She used to make the marmalde in this family - I never made any until after she died, as I could always rely on her to let me have a jar or two each time I visited..


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