All over the country marmalade makers are rolling up their sleeves and peeling oranges, for January is the traditional month in which to make the year’s supply. But this year we are bringing you a low-sugar version perfected by Cordelia Hamilton. It works out at using about the same weight of sugar to fruit rather than double. You’ll find it also tastes much fresher and more orangey than traditional recipes simply because it’s less sugary.
12 seville oranges
1.25 kg sugar (demarara or unrefined golden granulated is nicest)
- Wash the oranges and peel them. It’s quite easy to peel and keep the inside whole if you use a small sharp knife.
- Take the juicy insides and squeeze out all the juice you can into a measuring jug. Put the squeezed inside pulp and pips aside.
- Cut the quarter skins as fine as your patience will permit.
- Top up the squeezed juice to make 4.5 litres (this will mean adding between 3.5 and 4 litres of water).
- Put the sliced orange skins into the liquid (in large bowl or pan) and leave to soak over night.
- Next day put all into a very large stainless steel pan and add the pulp and pips tied up tightly up in some thin cotton or muslin. Push them well under the surface.
- Bring to the boil and then simmer until the orange skins are really tender and biteable. (How long depends on the oranges.)
- Take off the heat, remove the pulp and pips bag and put in bowl to cool enough to handle.
- Meanwhile add the sugar and stir till dissolved.
- Turn heat back on and start the final cooking to reach the mystic setting point. As soon as you can handle the pulp and pips bag squeeze as much of the the cloudy thick liquid out of it into the pan – this contains the pectin that will help the set.
- When the setting point is reached, pour into warm dry jars (as full as possible), close tight immediately and turn upside down. Leave till cold before setting upright.