The cold winter months can seem like a very long time to the home preserves enthusiast, with little in the way of fresh fruit or vegetables available for turning into delicious jams, jellies and chutneys. Then suddenly, in January, it's time to make marmalade and the preserving year kicks off again in earnest!
In today's blog post, we take a look at a traditional marmalade recipe, along with some more unusual ideas. We'll also cover some ideas as to how to use marmalade within some fabulous recipes.
A Simple Recipe For Marmalade
Sometimes, keeping things simple is just the best option and this recipe for marmalade couldn't be easier. It doesn't make a huge quantity and it's easy to scale too, if you really do only want to make a very small amount.
- 8 oranges
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1500ml water
- 1200g sugar
- Cut the oranges into halves and scoop out all the flesh into a bowl, removing any pithy bits from the orange segments.
- Using a food processor, blend the orange, pips and juice together until smooth. Sieve this into a maslin pan.
- Take the orange skins and remove as much white pith as possible. Then cut the skins into very thin strips about 2cm long. If you prefer your marmalade to be thick or thin cut, you can adjust the size of the shreds to suit. Add the shreds to the maslin pan.
- Add the water and lemon juice and bring the pan to the boil. Once boiling , reduce the heat and let the pan simmer for 1.5 hours. The pieces of orange rind should now be soft and the liquid should be reduced by around 50%.
- Add the sugar, stirring continuously. When the sugar has completely dissolved, bring the pan to the boil again and keep boiling for 10 minutes. If froth forms on the surface of the marmalade, skim it off.
- Test for the setting point, either using a jam thermometer 104.5⁰C or using the chilled plate method.
- If the marmalade is ready set, allow it to cool a little and then pour into clean sterilised jars. Seal and label, then store in a cool place.
Other Marmalade Recipe Ideas
If you love traditional marmalade, there are a whole range of more unusual recipes you can try out. Most citrus fruits make super marmalade, including lemon marmalade, lime marmalade and grapefruit marmalade. Of course, you could also mix these together, for example - lemon and lime marmalade. Rhubarb and orange marmalade is sensational and an easy way to make use of the inevitable glut of rhubarb that will happen to us all a little later in the growing season.
In addition to using other fruits in your marmalade recipes, you can also stick with oranges but give the marmalade a twist by adding some other flavours. Try using 50% dark muscovado sugar and 50% regular sugar for a richer taste and depth of colour, or adding a little drop of whisky for an indulgent treat. A little ginger added to a standard marmalade recipe also gives it a unique flavour. Of course, there's no need to make huge quantities of these more unusual flavours of marmalade - you can experiment with just a jam jar or two of each flavour if you wish and you can always then make a bigger batch if you find you really like a particular recipe.
Dishes That Use Marmalade
All too often, we get the maslin pan out and fill those glass jars with marmalade and then we only ever use it at breakfast! Marmalade is so much more than just a breakfast treat. So, do consider keeping a jam jar full of the stuff, ready for use in a variety of dishes.
There are all sorts of marmalade cakes to be baked. Try a marmalade loaf, which is a lot like a lemon drizzle cake, but by using marmalade instead. Chocolate and orange go together so very well, as we all no doubt know. What could be better, therefore, than a chocolate and marmalade cake, with the marmalade added to the mixture to keep it moist, but also melted and drizzled over the top of the cake to give it a sticky sheen?
If you think marmalade can only be used in cake recipes, then think again. We recently came across a recipe for marmalade meatballs. At first we were sceptical! However, these little beauties are divine - simply mix marmalade with cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, ginger and chilli flakes. Cook the meatballs as normal and then when they are almost cooked, pour the sauce ingredients in a pan and heat for 4 - 5 minutes. Turn down low and add the meatballs, ensuring they are all coated well. Transfer the meatballs back onto a baking tray and grill for a couple of minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes or couscous perhaps.