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Marvellous Marmalade

Marvellous Marmalade

I am so pleased that Lisa Osman from All Hallows' Farmhouse Cookery School has agreed to be our guest blogger this week.  Lisa runs the only AGA approved cookery school in the South West and has an international following.  Lisa and I share a love of making sour dough bread!

Lisa Osman All Hallows' Farmhouse Cookery School

Over the last year, Lisa has moved to teaching her award winning classes online from her beautiful Georgian farmhouse in Dorset and offers personalised courses alongside AGA cookery advice and support.  She also sells a range of gorgeous kitchen accessories through her online shop.  I know that like me, Lisa is looking forward to seeing customers again and welcoming cookery guests back to All Hallows' Farmhouse, just as soon as she can. 

In the meantime, here are her tips on making marmalade and some great marmalade recipes to make the most of the wonderful Seville oranges that are available in the shops during the first couple of months of each year.

Thanks Helen, I love making marmalade, there is something about the citrus aroma as it fills the kitchen that I find particularly uplifting and it's a ritual that I look forward to in the aftermath of Christmas.  

Tips for making great Seville orange marmalade

  • Select the best oranges that your budget allows. We love to seek out organic Seville sours from fourth generation farmers Gospa Citrus.
Seville Oranges
  • Seville oranges are available to buy from late December until mid-February. Whilst their unmistakable aroma is uplifting, unfortunately these seasonal fruits do not have the best keeping qualities.  So try to put some time aside to make your marmalade as soon as you have bought your oranges.
  • Follow a well-balanced recipe and do not be tempted to double this method to fill your larder in one preserving session. It is important to reach setting point quickly and this is most easily achieved on a domestic stove when the quantities are kept to a workable amount.

Orange being prepared for making Marmalade

  • To achieve a great set as well as a beautifully glistening, transparent orange gel, we recommend that you use cane sugar rather than beet. Cane sugar will always be labelled to confirm how it was grown.
  • Re-cycle glass jars and give them a thorough wash before sterilising. However you will need to use a new lid to create an adequate seal that ensures your marmalade will keep for a year in a cool larder or store cupboard.  This will enable you to make enough of your favourite breakfast preserve to last until next season.
  • We like to follow the traditional open pan method for our marmalade. Every part of the fruit is used so that we extract as much natural pectin as possible.

Every part of the orange is used

  • Soaking the prepared peel overnight allows the tough skins to begin to soften. The fruit is then gently simmered in a large lidded pan to ensure that the peel is cooked until tender. 

 Soak the peel overnight

  • The liquid must only reduce by a third as this pectin-rich fluid is essential to ensure a good ratio of peel and translucent gel.
  • Warming the sugar before adding it to your cooked citrus will help it to dissolve more quickly.
  • Don’t allow yourself to be distracted during the final boiling stage. Time to yourself and full attention to your bubbling pan is essential.  So is a timer!


Traditional Seville Orange Marmalade Recipe - All Hallows’ Farmhouse

To make 6 x 300 ml jars, you will need..


  • 675g (1lb 8oz) Seville oranges
  • 1 large un-waxed lemon 
  • Approximately 1350g (3lb) granulated cane sugar
  • 1.75 litres (3 pints) water


  • 8 litre (approx. 16 pints) stainless steel pan with lid
  • Clean muslin square and kitchen string
  • Juicer and strainer
  • Sharp knife and chopping board
  • Measuring jug and scales
  • Large mixing bowl and pudding basin


Wash oranges and lemon, cut in half and squeeze juice.  Line a pudding bowl with muslin square and strain juice over a jug to save pips. Scrape pips into prepared pudding bowl.

Measure water into large mixing bowl and add reserved juice. 

Prepare orange peel.  Cut each half into quarters and using a teaspoon or melon baller scrape membranes from pith and add this to the pips.  Do not remove the pith.

Quartered oranges, being squeezed

Using a sharp knife slice the peel into short, fine matchsticks and add these to the bowl of water.

Securely tie the muslin, ensuring that no loose ends remain and leaving enough string so that the bag of pips and membrane can be tied to the handle of your saucepan whilst the peel is simmering.  Leave the peel to soak overnight.

The following day:

Transfer soaked peel, liquid and muslin bag to your large pan.  Replace lid and bring to the boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook gently until the peel is soft.  The liquid should be reduced by one third.

Sterilise jam jars and place on a roasting tray ready to be warmed in the oven.  Preheat oven to 75 C Gas Mark 1 and warm sugar.

Reduce heat and gently add sugar, stirring all the time until every last granule is dissolved. Gently warm jars in anticipation of adding hot preserve.

Increase heat and bring the marmalade to a rolling boil.  DO NOT STIR.  As soon as it is boiling vigorously set timer to five minutes and then check for a set using the flake test* at five minutes.  Check again at ten minutes and if the preserve has not set, continue to boil for a final five minutes and check again.

Carefully remove the pan from the heat and stand for five minutes.  Do not stir, remove scum or add butter!

After the pan has stood for five minutes, use a sterilised spoon to remove any scum.  Carefully stir the marmalade to distribute peel evenly and then carefully ladle into ready prepared and warmed, sterilised jars. Immediately seal with new lids and twisted tightly in place.

Leave to stand and label when cold.  Store in a dark, cool cupboard or larder.

Marmalade ready for storing and eating

Notes for cooks

Only the juice of the lemon is required so you may wish to remove the zest before juicing, wrap well and freeze for another time.  Or simply keep in the fridge and use to stuff inside a roast chicken.

To check that the peel is sufficiently cooked, remove a piece from the pan and let it cool slightly, before rubbing it between your thumb and forefinger.  If should start to disintegrate.

Testing for a set

*Flake test –

Do not test until the marmalade has reached a continuous rolling boiling for at least five minutes.  The surface of the marmalade should be covered completely in small very vigorous bubbles.

Using a preserving spoon, carefully dip into the boiling preserve and draw a spoonful out and hold this above the pan.  Slowly turn the spoon so that the liquid pours back into the pan.  If the marmalade is set, a trickle of preserve will cling to the spoon forming a stalactite shape.

Using a sugar thermometer – the preserve needs to reach 104.5 C

 Marvellous marmalade

Making the most of your marmalade

There are loads of great recipes which will benefit from your marvellous marmalade! 

Marmalade Tart

  • Make a custard tart but before you add the filling, spread a couple of tablespoons across the pastry base and add sweet orange zest to the eggs

Marmalade Pudding

  • Omit treacle from your steamed sponge and replace with marmalade

Bread and Butter Pudding

  • Use marmalade as an extra layer, on top of the butter, it will add a rich orange flavour to your regular bread and butter pud!

Good luck and happy marmalade making!

 Marmalade on Toast

Thank you so much Lisa, I have definitely learnt some new tips for making marmalade and can't wait to get preserving!  If you are interested in finding out more about All Hallows' Farmhouse Cookery School and the breadth and depth of expertise that Lisa can share about cookery and AGA cookery in particular please do get in touch with them via their website, Instagram or Facebook.

If anyone else has any marmalade tips to share, please do get in touch through the usual social media channels on Facebook or Instagram.

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