Squeeze the oranges and keep their
juice. Scrape out the pith and pips with
a metal spoon, again keeping everything.
Juice the lemon, too, then put the lemon
shells, orange pith and seeds into a
square of muslin about 30 x 30cm, and
tie it with string. Leave the string long –
that way you can tie it to your wooden
spoon, which will make it easier to lift
Cut each orange shell into 3 petals,
then finely shred with a large, sharp
knife. Put the peel into a preserving pan,
tip in the juices, then sit the bag in the
juice. Pour in 2.4 litres/4 pints cold water
and leave to steep overnight.
Next day, leaving the bag in the pan,
bring the liquid to the boil, then simmer
for about 1 hr, or until the peel is soft and
translucent and the liquid has reduced by
one third. Turn off the heat and lift the
muslin bag into a large bowl. Leave the
bag until it’s cool enough to handle.
While you wait, get your jars ready.
Wash 8 x 450g/1lb jars (or the equivalent
volume larger or smaller jars) in hot,
soapy water, then leave in a low oven
to dry completely. Keep them warm.
Alternatively, if you’ve got a dishwasher
you can run the jars and lids though
a hot cycle, then let them dry. Put a
saucer in the freezer at this point, too.
Now for the messy bit – I like to don a
pair of rubber gloves at this point. Hold
the bag over its bowl, and squeeze and
pummel it until you’ve extracted every
last drop of juice and gunge through the
muslin. This stuff contains the pectin –
the crucial ingredient to the perfect set.
You can now throw away what’s left in
the bag and wash the muslin, ready to
Stir the contents of the bowl, plus all
the sugar, into the pan. Stir every so
often over a very gentle heat until the
sugar has completely dissolved. Don’t
boil before all the sugar has melted.
Slowly bring the pan to the boil. After
10 mins boiling, spoon a small blob of
marmalade onto the cold saucer. Leave
for a few secs, then push the marmalade
with your finger. If it wrinkles, it’s ready.
If not, boil for 10 mins more then try again.
Even if you have a sugar thermometer
(look for 105C or where it says ‘jam’), I’d
still recommend the saucer test. If yours
seems to be taking a while don’t worry,
it can take anything from 10 mins to
45 mins for marmalade to reach setting
point, depending on your oranges. Skim
off any scum that comes to the surface
in the meantime.
Once you’ve reached setting point,
ladle the marmalade into the warm jars
and seal. A funnel is really handy if you
have one. The marmalade will keep for up
to 1 year in a cool, dark place, and for
up to a month in the fridge once opened.