For marmalade good enough to enter into the World’s Original Marmalade Awards, we’ve taken advice from experts and asked for some tips for making marmalade.
Making marmalade tips according to the experts
Use the best ingredients
Whether you’re going for the traditional Seville orange or using lemons, limes or mandarins, when making marmalade use high quality produce, free from blemishes and ideally organic.
Back to basics
Perfect a simple, Seville orange marmalade before you start experimenting with exotic additions such as cardamom or chilli.
It’s all about the shred
Make sure that you shred rather than dice your peel, and don’t make the slices too fine; you want some body and texture to the marmalade. You’ll need a sharp knife for easy shredding.
Softening the peel
The peel is the basis of a good marmalade and it must be properly softened and cooked for a proper set and ease of eating. The shred needs to soften fully before you add the sugar, so simmer for two to four hours first.
Don’t fiddle when making marmalade
After you’ve added the sugar you need to make sure that it dissolves completely, so keep to a gentle heat and stir slowly. Once the sugar has fully dissolved, put your spoon down, bring the mixture to a rolling boil and then leave it alone! The sugar will do its work best when left in peace.
Use your ears
You’ll know when to test for a set if you listen to the marmalade as it bubbles away. The foamy mass will subside to a more relaxed bubbling when the marmalade is reaching setting point.
Don’t over boil
If you think that your marmalade could have reached setting point, take it off the heat while you test the mixture. If you overcook even by a few minutes you will end up with a thicker, darker marmalade.
Let your marmalade relax
To achieve a good seal you should jar up your marmalade while it’s still hot. However once you’ve taken your pan off the heat, allow it to sit for a while and relax. This helps the mixture to thicken and the peel to settle evenly throughout the marmalade. Provided that you jar up while the mixture is still at 85C or above and seal quickly, there shouldn’t be any risk of early spoiling.
Freeze your fruit
Seville oranges and other fruits can be frozen for later use, but only use young, fresh fruits. Overripe oranges defrosted and then cooked will turn black.
One of the most important making marmalade tips is simply to enjoy the process! Don’t rush, wait for the muse to inspire you and enjoy the whole preserving ritual.