Saturday, 25 January 2014

Classic Seville Marmalade

What is Classic Seville Marmalade?  There must be so many...and all different, well even when one follows the same recipe different batches can taste different.

What Mr M wanted was a Marmalade, plain and simple: oranges, lemon juice and sugar.  Bless him!  He loves classic flavours.  Don't get me wrong, they are good, I like them, but I also like to take a recipe and add my twist.  I love spices and nuts, and unusual combinations.  I was chatting with my friend Janice last night, and it is the other way round in her household:  her husband likes the variations and she favours the more classic straight forward preserves.

This year I am following the classic route.  My Domestic Science teacher would approve:  I bought the first fruits of the season, always the best and freshest, and highest in pectin.  This year I have decided not to freeze any more fruit for preserves, of course unless this is purely for keeping a glut of fruit for which I have no time to deal with immediately, which I cannot give away, or have not time to deal with immediately.  Sounds like a New Year's Resolution to me.  This means there not be any mid year Seville Marmalade making....but it also means I can make special marmalades mid year, such as Pink grapefruit, and the Lemon, Pear and Cardamom Marmalade which is my favourite special marmalade from last year.

I consulted two of my favourite books: A little Course in Preserving by DK, and River Cottage Handbook. 

Over and above my own previous method(s), I opted for squeezing the juice from the oranges and keeping that in the fridge overnight.  I have a little wooden tool for spooning out olives from the olive oil, and tried this for fishing out the pips from the juice.  Just playing really, as I love my little wooden utensils. I left the shells and seeds soaking in the cooking water.  I covered them with a weighted plate to keep everything submerged.

In the morning the pips were surrounded by a thick jelly like substance.  This is the first time I have noticed this, and wonder whether this is the pectin coming out of the pips.  

Usually I pressure cook with the 10 lb weight, but felt the peel always needed further cooking, so this time I used the 15 lb weight for 8 minutes, and this was perfect. I did not add the lemon peel or pith, and pressure cooked the orange shells and pips with water.  

When I had sliced all the cooked peel, and pushed all the mush through a sieve, until it was too difficult and I had a sieve full of pips, I measured this mush, and all the cooking liquid and squeezed orange juice and weighed this and added a little more water to get 1700 g for each Kg of Oranges I started with.  This is in addition to the chopped skins.  This was following RCH's advice of measuring all the liquid and making sure that there was 1.7 litres to each original Kg of Fruit.  I would change this to 1.5 litres, or 1500g next time, as it took rather longer boiling to achieve the right temperate and set at 105 C.

I then went off to design this year's label, and the following morning, the labels were stuck on and the jars added to my Preserves Stash!