For some peculiar reason, marmalade isn’t nearly as popular in the UK as jam, both in terms of consuming it and making it. Perhaps it’s less popular with shoppers because they perceive that the only way to use it is on toast at the breakfast table, whereas jam can also be used in cakes and other sweet treats. And perhaps fewer people make marmalade themselves because they think it’s difficult to get right or that you can only make marmalade at a certain time of year.
Whilst there might be some truth in that last point when it comes to Seville orange marmalade, we’re going to try to set the record straight in today’s blog post, to prove that marmalade is much more versatile than most people give it credit for and to show that it’s really no more tricky than any other preserve, once you’ve read our tips for marmalade success. So get those glass marmalade jars out, track down some fresh Seville oranges from your local greengrocer, and let’s get marmalade making!
Tip 1: Use Fresh Seville Oranges
It’s a myth that Seville oranges are the only type of oranges that you can use
to make marmalade. In fact, you can use pretty much any citrus fruit - indeed,
we’ve covered a few alternative marmalade recipes in previous blog posts.
However, if you want to make a traditional thick-shred orange marmalade that
positively glows in those glass jars, then Seville oranges are the fruit of
This is where the notion comes from that you can only make marmalade at the start of the year - because Seville oranges are only in season and available at greengrocers for a few weeks over Christmas and into January. That means that if you do want to make the perfect Seville orange marmalade, you need to get your skates on, and make it soon!
Tip 2. Use The Pith And The Pips
Along with the shredded peel, you should always make sure that you use the white pith and the pips when you make your marmalade, regardless as to whether it’s a Seville orange marmalade or some other citrus fruit. This is because the pith and pips both contain lots of pectin, which will help you to get a good set on your marmalade.
Don’t worry, however, as you don’t need to toss them in willy-nilly with your other ingredients. Just tie them into a little muslin pouch so that you can remove them once the marmalade has cooked. All that extra pectin will ensure you get a really good set with your marmalade and when you fill those glass jars, you’ll be really pleased you took the time to do this step in the process.
Tip 3. Soften The Peel Overnight
One key secret to success with marmalade is to ensure that the shreds of peel are properly softened. It really pays to soak the shreds overnight to get them soft before you start cooking, as otherwise you risk over-boiling your marmalade in an attempt to soften up the shreds during the actual preserving process. And if you don’t soak them the night before, you could also end up with shreds that are still tough and chewy when they’ve been decanted into your glass marmalade jars - and no-one enjoys that kind of marmalade!
Tip 4. Use Your Marmalade In Different Ways
Let’s face it, a row of glass jars filled with marmalade will look wonderful on your larder shelf, but if you only use marmalade for breakfasts, it will take an awfully long time to use it all up, especially if it’s competing against all those lovely jams that you’ve also made. That means you need to think outside the box and use some of your marmalade stash in baking projects and for other sweet treats.
One of our favourite ideas is to make a marmalade sponge pudding. Make a regular steamed sponge pudding, but instead of dolloping jam or golden syrup in the base of the pudding basin, use marmalade instead. Once you’ve tried this pudding, you’ll wonder why you have never thought of it before!
Another idea that is quick and easy to do is marmalade muffins. We’re firm believers that with a good basic muffin recipe, you can pretty much experiment when it comes to flavouring those muffins. For marmalade muffins, reduce the amount of sugar specified in the recipe, and spoon in about four or five tablespoons of marmalade whilst you’re mixing the muffin mix. Be careful not to overdo the mixing, as muffin mix is supposed to be lumpy; too much stirring will make your muffins heavy once cooked.
So there we have it - hopefully, we’ve given you a few pointers for marmalade success and encouraged you to prep some glass jars and get busy with your maslin pan. If you do decide to make some marmalade, be sure to share your photos with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!