Sunday, August 30, 2015

3 Generations Marmalade #marmalade #oranges and #lemons

Still life of marmalade preparation by Colleen Duffy, now exhibiting at Nepenthe Wines.

Okay, I'm late to marmalade making.  Given it is a full two day commitment, I somehow never got around to it during my full-time working years.  Life is a bit slower now (I keep telling myself).

Thoroughly wash oranges and lemons.  I used a vegetable scrubber.

This week I busted mum out of the nursing home and we were joined by my sister and daughter.   I highly recommend enlisting family and/or friends for this job. As someone once said, 'many hands make light work'.   Plus, it so much more fun!  It was hard getting a word in as we sat around the table peeling, pithing and cutting.

Mum's beautifully hands.
Mum could always peel a whole orange in one piece.  It is her gift.  And she was able to pass on to my daughter Hannah the art of dropping the peel onto the table, to determine a letter.  Of course, the letter the peel makes is the first letter of the name of the love of your life.  Hannah had some horror moments and kept re-throwing the peel, hoping to get a different outcome.

G or P? Even a T with a flourish?

Peel the fruit

Remove the pith as it makes the marmalade bitter. 
The pith is a good source of pectin, used to set the marmalade.  Save some of the pith to put into a muslin bag, to cook along with the fruit and water.

Cut the fruit into small pieces.

Orange marmalade

Orange and lemon marmalade.

We made orange marmalade as well as orange and lemon marmalade.

Mum was the font of knowledge when it came to the method but for the quantities I hunted out a few recipes but eventually settled on this formula.

For every one kilogram of fruit, use one litre of water and one kilogram of sugar. 1:1:1

For the orange marmalade we used 2 kg of oranges, 2 litres of water and 2 kg of sugar

For the orange and lemon marmalade we used 2 kg of oranges, 1 kg of lemons, 3 litres of water and 3 kg of sugar.

The oranges and lemons were off 60 years old trees, from mum's family home. The oranges are the best tasting navels I've ever had.  I remember taking these navel oranges to netball as a child. The home team always had to supply the oranges at half time. The navels are so easy to peel and they have no pips. The lemons are seedless Eureka. Juicy, fat lemons with no pips. Amazing.

Thoroughly wash the jars.

If anyone has any tips on how you get particularly stubborn glue off jam jars, please let me know!  I soaked some of these jars for an hour, scrubbed them with a scourer and put them through the 3 hour saucepan setting in the dishwasher but they still had huge amounts of glue sticking to their sides. Aarrgghh

Soaking fruit with water and pith (and pips if you have them) in muslin (or chux!)

Mountains of sugar about to be warmed in the oven to help it dissolve quicker.

Pips are full of pectin, so having no pips in either the oranges or lemons, meant I needed to add pectin or Jamsetta to the marmalade to help it set.  The pith in the muslin just wasn't enough.

Sterilise the jars and lids by putting them in the oven on low (130c) for 15 minutes.  Hot marmalade must be put into hot jars, otherwise the glass could crack. As the jars and marmalade cool you will hear the lids pop as the vacuum seal is activated. This means the jam can keep in the pantry for a year or so without spoiling.  However, once you open a jar of marmalade, keep it in the fridge.

It's a messy business.  But worth it.  Our marmalade is quite dark as I boiled it for over an hour, trying to get it set before I twigged to the fact that no pips meant I didn't have enough pectin.  Once I put the jamsetta in, the marmalade set in 5 minutes!  Learn from my mistakes.  Less cooking makes lighter marmalade.  Still, the darker colour looks luxurious to me.

Yummy with an espresso coffee at breakfast.


Day 1

Wash and scrub fruit
Peel fruit and cut peel finely
Remove white pith and any pips and keep separate
Cut fruit into small pieces
Put pith and pips in muslin bag
Put fruit, peel, water and muslin bag in large pot and soak overnight (helps with pectin extraction)
Wash jars and lids

Day 2

Cook fruit in water until soft (about 1.5 hours)
Warm sugar on low oven (130c) for about 15 minutes (dissolves quicker)
Add sugar to fruit mixture on low heat and stir until dissolved (add jamsetta at this stage if you didn't use pips.  25 gm jamsetta per kg of fruit)
Bring to boil
Hopefully it will set after about 15 minutes.  This will mean you have a light coloured marmalade.
To test it is set, put a teaspoon of marmalade on a cold plate (put plate in freezer to cool).  After about 40 seconds, marmalade should crinkle when touched.
Warm jars and lids in low oven to sterilise and to ensure you are adding hot marmalade into hot jars to avoid explosions.  Have oven mitts on hand! Or even on your hands.



  1. I love marmalade, I'll have to give it a try! :)


  2. Just remember to use jamsetter, so it sets quickly and stays a light orange colour!