After seeing a recipe in my new all time favourite magazine The Simple Things, I thought I would give it another go.
First off, a note on oranges, the bitter Seville orange is the most traditional and arguably the finest marmalade fruit of all. It is only available for a few short weeks from mid January, but has a unique aromatic quality and is very rich in pectin. However, you can use almost any citrus fruit to make marmalade.
Marmalade involves an awful lot of chopping of peel, but don't let that put you off.
The first day (this is a two day job), involves all the squeezing of the oranges and chopping of their skin, then has to be allowed to soak now overnight.
This recipe includes grapefruit, that is the grapefruit pulp in the muslin, it is removed when it has soaked.
This recipe uses granulated sugar which takes a little longer to dissolve than caster sugar but is less likely to stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Preserving sugar is more costly and is by no means essential, the only real benefit that I see is that it can produce a little less scum. Whichever sugar you use if you warm it through in the oven this will speed up the dissolving process.
* A note on scum, can you see the scum on the top of the marmalade, if you had a knob of butter it will magically disappear..
It is fine to use recycled jars, just check they are not damaged, the same goes for the lids, make sure that they have no dents as this can effect the seal.
All jars have to be sterilised, this can be done in various ways, but I find it easiest to pop them in the dishwasher, if you time it right the jars will still be hot as you take them out of the dishwasher to fill them.
You need few pieces of equipment to make preserves, a jam pan is not essential, I used a large stock pot before I got one, a thermometer does make things a little easier, but I still test for setting by placing a little marmalade on a saucer that has been in the freezer, put it back in the fridge for a couple of minutes, and then push the marmalade with your finger. If it wrinkles it is ready. The only other piece of kit that I would recommend is a wide neck funnel, it really does make the filling of jars so much easier...
One of my favourite bits about making preserves it that lovely popping sound you hear as the preserve cools and the lids 'pop' to make the seal, that and the eating of course....