It's marmalade time again!

We wish everyone a very belated Happy New Year! May 2011 bring you Joy and Happiness.

And we can think of no better way to chase away the snow and embrace the short, cold days of January than to spend a few steamy hours in the kitchen turning a pan full of oranges into pots of sticky, bittersweet Seville orange marmalade for those lazy summer breakfasts. We so can't wait to fill the house with that bright, clean, fresh smell of orange blossom which slowly turns to warm honey as the jewel-like mixture transforms into golden pots of happiness.


If you're thinking of trying your hand at making a batch of the golden shreds so beloved of our Devon bed and breakfast guests, who always ask if they can buy and jar of the sunny stuff to take home, I hesitantly offer up my own recipe for you to try. It originates from the Kenya Cookery Book, handed down to me by my mother and grandmother.

Don’t delay though, the Seville Orange season is short and sweet - buy them when you see them. And even if you're a marmalade novice, there's a lot to be said for beginners luck and there's nothing more satisfying than getting out the preserving pan and potting up some winter sunshine.

Seville Orange Marmalade Recipe

You will need 9 Seville oranges, 2 sweet oranges and 2 lemons, Unbleached granulated sugar, a preserving pan or large heavy bottom pan, a piece of muslin, seven to nine 500 ml capacity sterilised jam jars and a preserving funnel.

To sterilise the jars, wash them in warm soapy water, rinse and dry them and place in a medium oven for five minutes.

Wipe fruit carefully with a damp cloth.

With a sharp knife, cut fruit, saving all the pips (which are important in helping the marmalade to jell), into very thin slices and put into a large basin.

Put the pips into a piece of muslin, tie into a bag and add to the basin. Cover the fruit and pip bag with cold water and leave to soak for 24 hours.

Next, bring the mixture to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently until you can squeeze the peel to a pulp between your fingers. This could take up to one and a half hours. Leave the cooked mixture to stand overnight.

Next day add the sugar at a ratio of 600g to 550ml of pulp.

Slowly heat the mixture, stirring well with a wooden spoon, until all the sugar has dissolved - you can check this by looking at the back of the spoon, when there are no crystals the sugar is completely dissolved.

Once the sugar is dissolved, bring the mixture up to the boil, skim froth off the top and continue to let it boil gently for as long as it take to get a set.

Then to test for a set, take the pan off the heat and spoon a teaspoonful of marmalade on to a plate that has been chilled in the freezer. Allow it to cool for a minute back in the freezer, then push it with your finger – if a crinkly skin forms, it has reached setting point. If not, return the pan to the heat and continue cooking - do more testing every 15 minutes or so.

When the marmalade has set, leave it to cool for 30 minutes – this prevents the fruit rising to the top of the jar – then ladle (using a preserving funnel) into the warm sterilised jars. Seal the jars while they are hot, label when cold. Store in a cool, dry place.

Romansleigh : South Molton : Devon : EX36 4JW : +44 (0) 1769 550580