Blood, blood, glorious blood
I’ve never been a huge fan of preserves on toast or bread. I find the combination of the jelly-like texture and overriding sweetness quite sickly, despite adoring honey (go figure). But marmalade is a different beast entirely, in fact in my opinion it should never be put in the same clause as jam, and I can happily devour slice upon slice of toast with butter and smothered in marmalade. It has to be a very specific type though; seville orange or another dark, bitter marmalade, coarse cut, and with not too much pectin. Those jelly-like confections you can buy in supermarkets made from lime, with hardly any rind and too many colourings are not marmalade. Neither is anything made from apricots. Or lemons. It has to be thick-cut, bitter orange stuff all the way. This marmalade has a lovely bitter tang to it, though it’s not as dark and rich in flavour as vintage seville orange marmalade. It also has a very delicate pinkish tinge (my blood oranges weren’t that red); if yours are darker you will get a lovely dark red preserve.
Blood orange marmalade
Adapted slightly from Food in Jars
I found that my oranges didn’t give very much juice, so once the mixture had boiled down for 15 minutes or so it was about 90% peel and flesh. As a result I doubled the liquid content to give the marmalade a bit more gloop, and it set fine. The marmalade definitely has a tongue-tingling tang to it, but that is, I believe, how marmalade should be; embrace it.
4 blood oranges, sliced into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 1/2-3 cups)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons pectin powder
1. Wash your jam jars in hot, soapy water and place in the oven at 75 C until you need them.
2. Thoroughly wash the oranges and give the outside a good scrub. Chop them up, rind and all, removing any pips as you go, into small pieces; the rind chunks should be no bigger than 1/2″ square, and a little smaller if you don’t like really coarse marmalade. You should have roughly 2 1/2 cups fruit and juice in all.
3. Put the chopped fruit and juice into a large saucepan along with 1 cup of white sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1/2 cup water. Bring mixture to a boil.
4. Once boiling turn the heat down to a simmer and leave for 15 minutes, or until the mixture looks thick (hard to tell with all that rind, I know) and coats the back of your spoon like a syrup.
5. Turn the heat up a little and stir in the 2 teaspoons pectin. Make sure it is properly stirred into the mixture, then boil for between 3 and 10 minutes, depending on how set you want the marmalade to be. To test, spoon a little of the marmalade onto a small plate and leave to cool. Then push the cooled marmalade blob with your finger. If the surface wrinkles up then it has reached the right consistency and will set properly. If it is still a little runny, boil for a little longer.
6. Remove from the heat and pour or ladle into the sterilised jars. Add seals and lids and leave to cool completely before stashing in the cupboard for future use.
Makes 1 1lb jar plus a couple of tablespoons left over.