Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Citrus Season - I - Seville Orange Marmalade

Last year I promised myself that I wouldn't miss out on Seville Orange season in 2007. Cutting it perilously close, I traipsed down to the Vic Market on Saturday (in between brain-bending seminars on Lakatos) and bought four huge Seville Oranges from Stall 83.

On Sunday, I set about marmalade production, having also bought a teeth-aching 3kg bag of sugar, and some lemons. Nominally, I used the recipe in Nigella Lawson's How to Eat, but a pretty-much identical version can be found on the BBC Good Food website, here. The advantage of this method is that it absolves the maker from trying to locate muslin and reduces the faffing around.

So far, so good. Except, of course, the damn thing wouldn't reach setting point to my liking. This is probably because I didn't boil up the pips for long enough. I was, however, pleased to see Nigel Slater dismissing the importance of very-set jam, in that day's Observer. And he's quite right - for jam, at least.

As it is, if the marmalade is too set it you end up squashing your toast as you attempt to spread, and that's awful.

Now, the marmalade. As far as I'm concerned, the only marmalade worth having is Frank Cooper's Vintage Oxford. It is fiendishly dark, chunky, and bitter. My marmalade is not as dark - despite a good two tablespoons of treacle drizzled in, and this is probably from insufficient boiling - but it is certainly chunky and tart/sour/bitter. It leaves you salivating like after chewing on a lemon. Yum.

Just as well that it is delicious, because there are eight jars of the stuff.

Still to come: blood orange marmalade (my task for today), and a post about the blood orange and lemon tart I made on Sunday.

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