Add a recipe
Seville orange marmalade
Seville orange marmalade
added by River Cottage Preserves Handbook

Season: January to February The bitter Seville orange is the most traditional and arguably the finest marmalade fruit of all. Only available for a few short weeks from mid-January, this knobbly, often misshapen orange has a unique aromatic quality and is very rich in pectin. However, you can use almost any citrus fruit to make good marmalade – consider sweet oranges, ruby-red or blood oranges, grapefruit, limes, clementines, kumquats, or a combination of two or three.

Rate this recipe:
Prep time
  • One day
Cook Time
  • Four hours
  • Makes 5–6 x 450g jars
  • 1kg Seville oranges
  • 75ml lemon juice
  • 2kg demerara sugar
, ,

There are two basic ways of making marmalade. My first choice is the sliced fruit method, which involves cutting the raw peel into shreds before cooking. I find this technique produces a brighter, clearer result. However, the whole fruit method, in which the fruit is boiled whole before being cut up, is easier and less time-consuming. It tends to create a darker, less delicate preserve – but that, of course, might be exactly what you want. I’ve given you both methods here ...

Sliced fruit method

Scrub the oranges, remove the buttons at the top of the fruit, then cut in half.

Squeeze out the juice and keep to one side. Using a sharp knife, slice the peel, pith and all, into thin, medium or chunky shreds, according to your preference.

Put the sliced peel into a bowl with the orange juice and cover with 2.5 litres water.

Leave to soak overnight or for up to 24 hours.

Transfer the whole mixture to a preserving pan, bring to the boil then simmer slowly, covered, until the peel is tender. This should take approximately 2 hours, by which time the contents of the pan will have reduced by about one-third.

Stir in the lemon juice and sugar. Bring the marmalade to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Boil rapidly until setting point is reached, about 20–25 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Leave to cool for 8–10 minutes – a little longer if the peel is in very chunky pieces – then stir gently to disperse any scum, pour into warm, sterilised jars and seal immediately.

Use within 2 years.

Whole fruit method

Scrub the fruit, remove the buttons at the top and put it, whole, into a preserving pan with 2.5 litres water. Bring to the boil then simmer, covered, for 2–2½ hours or until the orange skins are tender and can be pierced easily with a fork.

When cool enough to handle, take the oranges out. Measure and keep the cooking water – you should have about 1.7 litres. Make it up to this amount with more water if you have less, or bring to the boil and reduce if you have more.

Cut the oranges in half and remove the pips with a fork, flicking them into a bowl. Strain any juice from the pips back into the cooking water, then discard the pips.

Meanwhile, cut up the orange peel and flesh into thick, medium or thin shreds. Put the cut-up fruit into the strained cooking liquid. Add the lemon juice and sugar and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Bring to a rolling boil and boil rapidly until setting point is reached, about 10–15 minutes.

Leave to cool for 10–12 minutes – a little longer if you’ve cut the peel into very chunky pieces – then stir gently to disperse any scum, pour into warm, sterilised jars and seal immediately. Use within 2 years.

5 replies
Replied on

I always use a large Pyrex bowl and cook in the microwave, far less scrubbing of saucepans and you can watch it cooking. I make all my jams and chutneys this way. Use a thermometer to check temperatures, mind you I have a large microwave with a turntable. It's so easy and when I give jam and chutneys as Xmas presents everyone raves about them.

Replied on

I have followed this recipe and others. What none of them tell you is whther or not to top up the liquid to the original level after you have simmered for two hours. My 2.5 litres reduced to less than half a litre. I made it up to 2 litres (which seems to match the quantities of sugar recommended) but after reaching 205 degrees for over 5 minutes it still hasn't fully set.

What do I now do? Reboil (and according to some writers risk destroying the pectine) to reduce the liquidity; or add artificial pectine ?

Replied on

I like a really dark marmalade and learned a nice little trick, try adding two tablespoons of black treacle along with the sugar and peel at the start, a little whisky added before jarring up is nice too ...

Replied on

I also pick out all the very numerous pips, put them inside a cloth, tie it up and put inside a pan of boiling water for about 20 mins to catch the precious pectin. I then squeeze out the pectin from the bag before getting rid of the pips and use this water to boil the oranges and sugar in the last stage of marmalade making. but I also use half the sugar you use and instead, whether I cook them cut or uncut I change the water in which I cook the oranges twice during those first two hours of cooking. This helps get rid of the bitterness and therefore means you won't have to compensate by adding so much sugar.

Replied on

Where's the description for the whole fruit method that you say you give but is not there?

I find a jam thermometer gives me more confidence with the setting point--and the boiling time seems less. about 10mins

I leave it to cool for about 30mins to stop the peel rising.

If you taste when boiling and find it too sweet or not sharp enough you can add more lemon juice

To leave a response to the post you will need to be a registered user. Sign-up here or Login here
Similar recipes
In the Shop
One Day Cookery Course
One Day Cookery Course
In the Shop
Friday Night at River Cottage
Friday Night at River Cottage
Login or Sign-up

Login & Sign-up

Forgotten your password? Retrieve it here
Or connect via Facebook
Connect with Facebook
Join River Cottage
Shopping basket: 0 items £0.00