Diary of a Marmalade Maker

sliced oranges for marmalade

Realise it is already February and I haven’t made any marmalade. No sign of Seville oranges in local town, but foray to town twenty miles west proves more fruitful. Have noticed similar situation in past obtaining red cabbage and cold pressed rapeseed oil. Wonder if this is reflection of our neighbourhood.

Consult recipe book and forsake normal method of boiling and then cutting softened fruit in favour of cutting raw peel and then boiling as recipe promises this technique produces brighter, clearer marmalade.

Making marmalade

Catch thumbnail and skin with knife while slicing. Wish I’d used my normal recipe. Discover have bought insufficient Seville oranges and make up quantity with blood oranges. Much simmering of aforesaid peel results in glorious smell that pervades whole house. Realise recipe calls for demerara sugar of which only half a packet in pantry. Make up quanitity with granulated. Feel this can only add to the brighter, clearer marmalade.

Much boiling and checking of temperature. Marmalade refuses to rise above 102C. Saucer test confirms setting point not reached. Move pan to electric cooker. Answer phone and hear recorded message about boilers. Take some time pressing buttons to bar number. Marmalade now risen to 105C so should set well. Pour into jars. Note that marmalade looks distinctly dark and opaque. Leave to cool. Label and put on shelf next to last jar of 2016 marmalade. Which is a considerably brighter, clearer marmalade.

home made marmalade

Resolve to revert to normal recipe next year. Wonder why I am so easily seduced by new recipes that offer wondrous results when there was nothing wrong with original.

Discover an orange can keep both grandson and dog entertained for quite a long while.

Wait for both to fall asleep and eat orange.


34 thoughts on “Diary of a Marmalade Maker

  1. Sadly no Seville oranges here, the French do not know the joys of homemade marmalade. Since living here I have to resort to tins of mamade bought in bulk during my yearly trips back. Just another reason I miss England! Two jars left in the pantry so will be making more next time the Esse is lit!

      1. Marmalade is not really used here. They prefer jam or Nutella!
        Mamade is just the orange pulp and peel to which you add water and sugar then boil up. It sets beautifully every time. I get seven jars from one tin which costs £3 in Hobbycraft.
        I always have toast and marmalade ( homemade bread) for breakfast!

        1. I have been in a French house at breakfast time…the children had hot milky chocolate with chunks of baguette they covered in Nutella then dunked in the hot chocolate ( it comes in a bowl not a mug) before eating. Seems the norm in rural France! The children are skinny too surprisingly! Give me toast and marmalade anytime!

  2. I do enjoy your “diary style” posts! I know that feeling all too well of being tempted away by a new recipe variant of an old friend. I am sure your marmalade will be absolutely delicious though both this year’s and last. And there is some merit in having variety on your marmalade shelf. Darker marmalade on thick granary toast, lighter on the bottom / top of a sponge pudding, for example! Also let’s not forget that whatever its colour, homemade marmalade is homemade marmalade and therefore a treasure! Enjoy! E x
    Ps Thank you so much for the Eucalan recommendation in your comment on my tweed and tablet post – I’m going to try it!

    1. Can you tell that I’ve been re-reading The Diary of a Provincial Lady? I quite like dark marmalade but just fancied a change. As you say, there’s merit in having variety.

  3. Oh my goodness, that video is hilarious – you should put it on YouTube! I love the soundtrack of your giggling grandson. I stick to the boil, shred, add sugar, boil again method as I can’t imagine chopping all those citrus uncooked. I made one batch of marmalade a few weeks ago but I have a box of Sevilles tucked in the fridge to make some more when I can face all the chopping again! I’m sure yours will be delicious, regardless of colour. Homemade is definitely best 😊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊

    1. The video also proved a useful distraction later in the day for my grandson. From tears to laughter in the press of a button. Two batches of marmalade – you’re very productive.

  4. Trying to find some way to “like” without commenting, but can’t, so I will just say, “I love your photos & topics. I wish I had ever made marmalade which I adore & buy the British or French, or sometimes even Trader Joe’s, but haven’t cooked up myself. I do make Thanksgiving cranberry relish with oranges, seville or blood, or calamondins or kumquats when I can get them, & now & then Christmas candied orange peel. Thank you for your evocative & inspiring posts.” ~Judith in North Carolina.

    1. Thank you Judith for your kind words. I adore candied orange peel. I hadn’t heard of calamondins and when I just googled them, the first thing that came up was calamondin marmalade!

  5. I am still such an admirer of your posts and continue to feel as if we are kindred spirits. A friend from here ( Australia) was bicycling around England last year and visited you after I introduced her to your blog. Unfortunately you were not home, but she did bring me back some gin!!!.I too have learnt not to try to hipster up my tried and trusted recipes…. and on another note, minding my 14 month old grandson for several days after his Mum returned to work and childcare was shut- she rang me concerned that he was missing her. He was actually quite happy playing with an onion and our extremley patient Irish Wolfhound Eileen.

    1. I wondered who the mystery visitor was! Hope you enjoyed the gin she took back. I like the idea of your grandson playing with an onion and wolfhound 🙂

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one to get suckered by new recipes. Of course, some of them do turn out to be better than the old one. But certainly not all of them.

  6. Wonderful video. Reminds me of when we had a passel of dogs here, and our grandson and son were living here as well. The Jack Russell and the lab always entertained him. Thanks for that!

    Every time I make a batch of marmalade I use a different recipe. I can’t remember which I like, and I too, and realizing I have not made any yet this year. I can’t usually get Seville oranges, I still miss the Jaffa oranges from when I lived in Israel. I will use blood oranges, most likely. Maybe I will try Gerlinde’s recipe this year!

    1. Certainly no need entertain children when there’s a dog around to to it. I have the same problem remembering which recipe I liked when making jam. I should really put a big cross through the ones that don’t work.

  7. Love this post! I have never attempted marmalade since I’m the only one who likes it in our house. But, yes, I agree, usually sticking to the old and tried recipes is the most successful way. I have to say, however, that those 2017 labels of yours are making up for any jamming mishaps! And that video!!! I keep going back to it!

    1. I worked out that if I use different labels each year then I can tell which jams and chutneys need using first at a glance. Have to confess there’s several red 2015 labels still on the shelf.

  8. I love making marmalade but haven’t for quite some time. We used to have a tree in our garden here in Sydney that produced lovely sharp oranges that made the most delicious marmalade, but after it died we haven’t been able to find a good replacement – Seville trees seem unavailable. I can buy the oranges but they are very expensive, so now if I make it I use Navels (a bit too sweet) or Tangelos which are very good. My method is to cut then soak the fruit in the cooking water 24 hours before boiling, it generally works well.

    1. I used to make a three fruit marmalade with oranges, grapefruit and lemons, which I shall have to search out as it made a very fresh tasting marmalade. Will have to try the cut and soak technique again.

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