Sunday, 1 March 2015

Seville and Rosemary Marmalade

A friend of mine entered a marmalade competition last year, I remember looking at a photo of her certificates and awards and feeling suitably impressed. So when she said she was entering again this year I thought I would give it a go. The fact that I had never even made marmalade before was just a triviality...

I ended up entering the first jar of marmalade I had ever made, which I obviously didn't tell them, but it was actually nice; and I won an actual award... So I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself and my marmalade making skills. I was awarded a Silver certificate, next year I'm going for Gold...


The Marmalade Awards are held at Dalemain, a beautiful country house near Ullswater. They decorate the whole house with oranges, hold a farmers market and dedicate the whole weekend to all this marmalade. I imagine they must tire of tasting so many marmalades, the entries run into the thousands, but they get through them, and here is what they said about mine...


I had various ideas for what I would like to do, I wanted to add something unusual to the oranges. I thought about coriander seeds, juniper berries, earl grey tea, ginger... but finally settled on rosemary. I have used rosemary in various citrus puddings and always love it, especially my Lemon and Rosemary Posset; so hoped it would turn out ok...

I had 750g of Seville oranges, which I juiced. Keep the juice then finely slice all of the skin and pith, removing and keeping all of the pips. Put all the sliced skin into a large cast iron pan, add the juice and pour over 1.8 litres of water and leave to soak over night.

The next day I added 3 large sprigs of rosemary and the seeds in a little bag of muslin. Some people say that you need the seeds in to help with setting as they contain lots of pectin, which makes a jam or marmalade set, others say there is enough pectin in the fruit itself to do this, I added them anyway just to be on the safe side. Bring the whole lot to the boil and simmer for a couple of hours, until the skin is soft and the water has reduced by about a third. You want to end up with a volume  approximately double the quantity of oranges, so approximately 1.5 litres after cooking.


Then add 1kg of caster sugar and 500g of light brown sugar, adding darker sugar will result in a darker marmalade. This is double the weight of the oranges again. At this point I added another large sprig of rosemary too. Bring everything to the boil and stir to dissolve the sugar, then keep at a fast rolling boil until it reaches setting point. I used a thermometer, it needs to get to about 104 degrees Celsius. Oranges are quite high in pectin so can set a few degrees lower than this but I kept on till 104 just in case. It took about 20 minutes. I also tested it on a cold saucer, dropping a bit on and leaving it for a minute, if it wrinkles when you push it it has reached setting point.

So when you are all done leave your marmalade to sit in the pan for ten minutes. This lets it cool and set very slightly so all the peel doesn't sink to the bottom when you put it into jars. I put it all into little sterilised jars, these quantities produced 11 8oz jars. I put a fresh sprig of rosemary in each jar and then filled them up. I was pretty proud at this point, actual marmalade that tasted lovely, but still nervous that it wouldn't set...


However, they set within an hour and were very tasty. The rosemary is mild but definitely present, the oranges are bitter and delicious and it isn't too sickly sweet. I been enjoying it on toast and serving it to customers in Cook House, who have been very complimentary so far.

I was pretty pleased with my actual scores, I will know better to fill my jar up a bit more next time, I thought it was pretty much full to be honest... but they are obviously a stickler for detail; and next time I may not leave the rosemary loose in the marmalade but keep it in a muslin bag just for flavour, although it does look pretty and the judges didn't complain... First prize was getting your marmalade stocked in Fortnum and Mason's, I'm after that next time...


1 comment:

  1. I was at the Cook House last week and had this marmarlade with tasty toast - it was delicious - can't believe it did not get first prize!

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