Seville Orange Marmalade

My husband loves marmalade on toast for his breakfast   Mind you he doesn’t object to it as a glaze over a baked ham or atop a steamed pudding either (though truthfully he likes all steamed puddings!).  But whilst we are at it, marmalade goes very well with both roast duck and roast pork as well which is useful to know  for those who have an allergy to onions as a dear friend of mine has.    I will add some recipes using marmalade during the next few weeks so you can see its versatility!

Some foods are steeped in our culture and in our personal histories. Marmalade is certainly one of them. From the moment you open the jar, that bitter sweet citrus smell that fills the air evokes memories. Mine are of my mother making marmalade in the 1960s whilst I watched perched on the top of the red kitchen steps judiciously placed at a safe distance (I was an inquisitive child!!)  Itwas the first preserve of the year and somehow it’s tangy flavour after all the rich Christmas flavours is just right

There is a lovely story behind how marmalade came to be invented in Dundee by Janet Keiller   Apparently in the early 1700s a Spanish ship, having been caught up  in easterly gales whilst at sea, stopped at Tayside, and offloaded a cargo of oranges that they needed to get rid of   At the quayside was James Keiller, who, tempted by the low price, bought a large amount at a cheap price, but they turned out not to be the bargain he had hoped, as nobody wanted to buy them from him because of their bitter taste   His wife, Janet, came to the rescue and turned those Seville oranges into marmalade   It sold well and money was made rather than lost.     I know that marmalade is supposedly derived from the Portuguese “melado” (which is made from quinces)  but I can’t help but wonder if Janet didn’t get the idea from making rowan jelly – rowans themselves being very bitter?!

How you like your marmalade is a very personal thing  I like mine thick with chunky shreds, others like a finer shred and looser set – it all depends on how finely you cut the peel and how long you boil it for   Some like a richer marmalade and use brown sugar and some like to add a few drops of whisky just before bottling –  it’s completely up to you   The recipe below is how my family have always made it and is done over a couple of days  though you could do it in a day if convenient. It’s called a whole fruit marmalade because you boil the fruit the day before so it’s soft and then shred the fruit


  • 1.5 kg Seville oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 1.5 kg granulated sugar
  • 5 pts cold water



  1. Scrub the fruit and put it into a jam pan.
  2. Cover with 5pts cold water and boil until fruit is soft (about 2-3 hrs and I always put in a pan lid or plate to keep fruit submerged.
  3. Leave to cool ( I leave overnight) reserve liquid
  4. Put a chopping board inside a sided baking pan to catch juices
  5. Halve all the fruit and put the inside pulp and pips into a sieve over a bowl
  6. Discard lemon skins
  7. Rub the pulp through the sieve to extract as much juice as possible
  8. Quarter orange skins and use a knife to remove any excess pith before shredding peel as finely as possible. Reserve
  9. Place all juices into the pan of reserved cooking liquor
  10. Put pith into a tied muslin or jcloth and squeeze as much liquid as possible into pane before placing bag into liquid.
  11. Boil until mixture is reduced by half
  12. Remove bag of pith, squeezing as much liquid as possible back into pan.
  13. Return to heat adding both sugar and peel, stirring until sugar is disolved
  14. Cook at rolling boil until setting point is reached. Approx 20 minutes
  15. Let pan sit until peel has “settled” and then ladle into sterilised jars.  Seal
  16. Label when cold


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