How to Make Seville Marmalade from Scratch

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Seville oranges – also called bitter oranges – are used mainly in marmalade recipes because of their high pectin content and attractive bitter flavour. You can make over 4 kilos of Seville orange marmalade from just 1 kilo of Seville oranges. Even adding the cost of sugar, it is still far cheaper, not to mention more pleasurable, to make marmalade rather than buying it. Seville oranges make excellent marmalade, in part because they are sour thanks to their acidity.

Makes 5 x 450g jars plus a 250g jar. Recipe can be doubled easily but will need longer cooking times.


1000g Seville oranges
Juice of 2 lemons
2000g granulated sugar


1. Wash the Seville oranges in soapy water and scrub them to remove any wax. Rinse well. Cut each orange in half, squeeze and place the orange juice in a bowl (it’s easier to do if the oranges are at room temperature). Remove the pips and tie them in a piece of muslin. Reserve.

2. Cut the squeezed orange halves into strips: if you like thick cut marmalade make the strands thick, if not, keep thinning them out with a sharp knife until they are the size you want in your marmalade. (Check a jar of your favourite marmalade and you’ll have a good idea. Fish one piece of peel out and measure it by eye.) Add the peel and the bag of pips to a large stainless steel saucepan or preserving pan with the orange juice and 2.5 litres of water. Leave overnight to soak and soften.

3. The next day, bring the mixture to the boil. Simmer (with the lid on, leaving a little gap for steam to escape) until the orange peel is fork-tender (this is important, if you don’t cook the peel enough now, your marmalade will have tough pieces of orange peel). This takes from between 1.5 to 2 hours. Remove the muslin bag of pips and discard.

4. Put a saucer in the freezer – you’ll need it to test the ‘set’ of the marmalade. (If you are using a jam or sugar thermometer, you won’t need to do this – see below.)

5. Add the lemon juice and sugar to the saucepan and turn the heat up to medium to melt the sugar. When the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil rapidly for 25 minutes – the mixture should be rolling and the froth moving over it in waves. Test for a set after 20 minutes. To do this, either spoon a little of the mixture onto the frozen saucer and leave it in the fridge for a few minutes (turn off the heat under the saucepan so you don’t overcook the marmalade). If the mixture wrinkles when you push your finger through it, the marmalade is ready. If not, bring the mixture to the boil again and test after 1-2 minutes until you have reached the wrinkle stage. If you are using a jam thermometer, it should read 104C.

6. Once the jam has reached its set, turn off the heat immediately so the jam doesn’t set further and leave to cool for 5-10 minutes or until you can skim the white froth easily. You need the marmalade to be clear so make sure to get rid of every bit of white scum. Ladle the marmalade carefully into warm sterilised jars and seal them immediately.

How to sterilise jars

Wash the jars and lids in warm soapy water, rinse well, then put the jars only (not the lids) in an oven at 170C/330F/Gas 3 for 10 minutes. Turn the oven off and when the marmalade is ready, ladle it into the warm jars. Top with a wax disk to deter mould and close with the lid or with a plastic top and elastic band (lightly moisten the outside of the plastic disc to get it to tighten on the jar).

Recipe Note: You need to watch the jam when it is boiling as if it boils over, the marmalade is hard to clean from the cooker top.

Watch ‘Pam the Jam’ from the River Cottage make Seville Marmalade in this video.

Photograph ©

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