We ♥ Seville Orange Marmalade

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summary: recipe for Seville orange marmalade; what to do and what not to do (click on image for larger view)

After yesterday’s ominous looking photos, you might be expecting more whining. But no. I’m very pleased to report the following…

marmalade Seville Orange Marmalade!! We have our own Seville Orange Marmalade!!

A week or so ago, we were very excited to see that someone in Toronto had bought Seville oranges.

Whoohoo!!!! We neeeeeeeeeeded Seville oranges!! Because now of course, we know everything there is to know about jamming (cough), and we wanted to make marmalade. And out we went, slogging through the snow, to the nearby street that is full of fruit and vegetable stores.

Only ONE of the fruit and vegetable vendors even knew what we were talking about. He said he thought he might have some on Friday.

We were too lazy to go all the way to St. Laurence Market. We walked down to our high street the following Friday to the store we call “the expensive vegetable store”. The vendor’s eyes lit up. He pointed to the California Seville oranges that had just come in. They were 1.99/lb. Excellent!! We were expecting a MUCH higher price.

We bought 6 oranges and raced home to get started on making marmalade, only to be completely befuddled by the trusted family recipe, written out years ago by someone who assumed that whoever would use the recipe had made jam before….

(Okay, okay, maybe there’s going to be a little whining.)

Squeeze out the juice saving juice and the pulp with seeds separately. […] Add skins to the saved juice then add water to make up double the fruit […] simmer up to an hour or until done. […]

-Liz Wilson, Seville Orange Marmalade recipe

After about half an hour, arguing about exactly what “saving juice and the pulp with seeds separately” and “until done” meant in the recipe, we finally agreed on the definitive English translation and began chopping and juicing.

And still, our first try at making marmalade took 3 days instead of 2. Why?? Please read on.

On Day 2, we were admiring the just-processed jars, only mildly worrying that the contents seemed awfully liquid and that the peel was floating on top or lying at the bottom of each jar. I said that we should move the jars now. And lifted the rack holding all the jars.

WHAT was I doing?!!

Almost immediately, one of the jars began to tip. I adjusted and it settled back. Sadly, a different jar began to tip. More adjustment. More tipping.

Words were shouted.

More adjustments. Radical tipping of more jars in all directions, more wild adjustments, more shouting as, in slow motion, all the jars crashed to the floor.

More shouting. Then the amazed discovery that only one jar had burst its seams and dumped its contents on the floor.

not marmalade Yes, even though there is just one jar in the photo, I feel compelled to reiterate that ALL the jars fell.

Even though none of the jars broke, it was starting to become clear that the marmalade would not set and had not been heated to a high enough temperature. Here’s how the conversation went as we cleaned up the mess:

me: Eeeeeek, it’s so liquid!! Is it supposed to be that liquid?!

we: It smells fabulous!

he: The thermometer said 215 and she said to put it between 200 and 220. I really hate thick gluey marmalade.

me: Me too. Let’s see how things look tomorrow. The recipes I looked at did say that it might not set right away.

we: We should probably process it all again anyway. Just to make sure of the seals. Do we have any more lids?

Of course, it didn’t set. We had been so afraid of overboiling and producing marmalade that would “set like concrete” that we had succeeded in making orange syrup.

Delicious orange syrup, mind….

On day 3, we trekked through the snow in the bitter cold to the hardware store to get more lids. Then we emptied the contents of the jars into a pot (good thing we did this; all the jars were quite sticky on the outside – clearly their seals hadn’t held at all). We reboiled the mixture until the temperature reached 221F and re-processed for 8 minutes. We at last have marmalade.

How beautifully dispersed the peel is now!

marmalade So. With 6 oranges, instead of producing seven 250ml jars of marmalade, we now have four jars… it WOULD have been five jars if someone hadn’t thrown all the unfinished marmalade jars on the floor the day before.

Here’s what we did to make fabulous marmalade:

Mrs. W’s Seville Orange Marmalade
based on Liz Wilson’s recipe for Seville Orange Marmalade

makes approximately five 250ml jars

  • 6 Seville Oranges
  • water, (amount to be determined)
  • sugar, (amount to be determined)
  1. Use a paring knife to shave the peel away from the oranges, ensuring that there is virtually no pulp white pith or pulp on the peel. Put the peelings into a bowl and set aside. Put the pulp into a largish pot. If any of the shaved peel has white pith on it, shave it away, putting the pith into a largish pot.
  2. Cut each orange in half and squeeze. Put the juice in another bowl and the pulp and seeds into the pot, after roughly chopping the pulpy orange pieces.
  3. Add 2 cup water to the pulp mixture. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Strain and reserve the liquid. (Discard the pulp and seeds.)
  4. Slice the peel thin thin thin to about 1/2″ length. There should be about 4 cups of peel.
  5. Add the peel to the saved juice (from step 2). Add water to double the amount of peel – presumably to make 8 c liquid in all. Put this into a pot and simmer, covered, up to an hour “or until done” (We simmered for about 30 minutes…).
  6. Add the reserved liquid (from step 3) to the simmered peel. Allow this mixture to stand overnight.
  7. The next day, measure the peel/juice mixture. Heat and simmer for 10 minutes WITH THE LID OFF.
  8. Add 3/4 c sugar for every cup of peel/juice mixture. With the pot still on the heat, stir until dissolved.
  9. Boil the sugar and peel/juice mixture, continuing to stir often with a wooden spoon. Boil for about 30 minutes or til the temperature is 220/222F on a candy thermometer.
  10. Ladle into sterilized jars, leaving a quarter inch head space and process the jars for 8 minutes. (Some recipes suggest zero processing, others suggest 15 minutes and Bernardin suggests 10 minutes.)


Boiling Temperature Mrs. Wilson wrote: “Too little boiling and the marmalade will be too thin. Too much and it sets up like concrete. The books say to test on a plated kept in the freezer or with a candy thermometer up to 200/220F.

It became clear to us that the “200/220 degrees” had to be a typo and/or that Mrs. Wilson had always made her marmalade by feel rather than by using a thermometer. Martha Stewart says to boil to a temperature of 220F to 222F. We went just shy of 221F on our candy thermometer.

After Processing Keeping them upright, carefully transfer the jars one at a time to a safe spot. Under no circumstances is it a good idea to balance all the jars on a rack for “easy” transfer. :lalala:

We had marmalade on toast this morning and it’s terrific.

The amount of sugar is perfect.

The marmalade is perfect: floral, light, orangey. It’s everything that marmalade should be!

(Hmmmm, I wonder if we need to get more Seville oranges. Do you think 4 jars is enough?)

Seville Orange - January 2011 ABACUS MARMALADE You can count on it; it always adds up. (© ejm)


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4 responses to “We ♥ Seville Orange Marmalade

  1. Lisa@ButteryBooks

    I despised orange marmalade when I was a kid, but I recently tasted it again and loved, loved it. I will have to give your recipe a try.

    Me too, Lisa. Maybe it’s something to do with children having difficulty with bitter and/or strong flavours?? (Eeek! Are our taste sensors are fading as we age?) Do let us know how your marmalade turns out! -Elizabeth

  2. Janet

    I’m afraid four jars is nowhere near enough – I mean that’s a couple of mornings of breakfasts in my part of the world. I now take marmalade-peanut butter sandwiches on bike rides or ski trips, and there’s a Nigella Lawson chocolate marmalade cake that’s to die for. (It’s out there on the internets.) And with only four jars, you won’t have any to give away!

    As for the recipe, family heirloom recipe or not, juicing Seville oranges is just asking for trouble in my book. My favorite recipe says to boil the oranges whole, then scoop out pulp and pits and put in muslin and slice up the peel. It’s messy, but it smells so good.

    But isn’t home-made marmalade wonderful?

    Give some away, Janet? Are you mad?? :-) -Elizabeth

  3. katie

    I was into making jam big time in the Vendee. We had 2 kinds of peaches, 3 kinds of plums, apples, pears and table grapes. Nothing is so rewarding as seeing all the jars lined up in the cellar…. Nothing is more stressful than getting to that point. Nothing ever set right.

    I too was most stressed out when things weren’t turning out the way I had hoped, Katie. But I’ve since found that the key is to simply rename the contents. What was a spectacular failure at plum jam is now incredibly brilliant very very tart plum sauce. Insanely sweet, overly thick apricot jam is now very good for slathering between cake layers. And my most recent batch of blood orange marmalade (I’ll be posting about that soon) that set like concrete and is basically a mass of peel glued together, is now ready to be added to orange sauce for chicken. :-) -Elizabeth


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