Thursday, 2 February 2012

Seville and ginger marmalade

Until earlier this week, winter had been pretty mild. It's all changed now, though. Here in London we have vivid blue skies, bright sunshine, but it's bitterly cold. Perfect weather for making and, indeed, eating marmalade. Rather than turning on the heating, why not base yourself in the kitchen and let a large pan of this amber nectar simmer away, not just warming the room, but allowing the smell of fresh, fragrant Seville oranges permeate your home?

This recipe comes from my mother – a twist on classic marmalade. The ginger gives it a really warming kick and couldn't be more welcome this time of year. It also includes cooking apples, although you wouldn't know from tasting the marmalade. I'll give the ingredients in imperial, rather than metric, as that's how they came to me. Just to warn you: you need to allow a long time. As this was my first time making marmalade, I was surprised just how long it took to prepare the oranges, even though you don't need many. It's well worth it, though.

Seville and ginger marmalade
Makes 10–12 jars
5 Seville oranges
5 pints water
3 lb cooking apples
6½ lb sugar (I used granulated)
8 oz crystallised ginger, roughly chopped
½ oz ground ginger

Cut the oranges in half, squeeze out the juice and reserve. Shred the peel finely, scraping out pips and pith into a muslin bag (I used a large muslin square that I tied into a makeshift bag). Put the peel, juice, water and the muslin bag into a large preserving pan and simmer for a couple of hours until the peel has softened. Remove the muslin bag, squeezing it with your hands to reserve as much juice as possible.

Peel, core and slice the apples. Simmer in 4 tablespoons of water until pulpy. Add the apples to the cooked oranges and stir in the sugar until dissolved. Add both types of ginger and stir well. Bring to the boil and allow to bubble away, skimming as necessary, until setting point is reached. Pour into warm, sterilised jars and seal immediately.

I decided to play things safe and use the sugar thermometer, taking it to 105°C. The temperature rose to just over 100°C fairly quickly and then I watched it like a hawk for it to reach setting point – which seemed to take a long time. Maybe 15 minutes or so, but I also tested it more traditionally on a chilled saucer. I'm really happy with the results and hope you will be, too.

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