Quick Marmalade

I found this recipe in my Mum’s recipe book but, as with the majority of them, I know not where it originated, so apologies for the lack of acknowledgement. If you know from whence it came, please let me know.

2015-Sep-Grapefruit001Some people cut up the fruit first and soak it overnight in the water, but it is much easier to cut after it is cooked.
1.5lbs (700g) Seville oranges (well washed)
4 pints (1.8 litres) water, plus half pint for pips
1 lemon
3 lbs (1.4kg) sugar

Bring the whole oranges and the lemon to the boil in the 4 pints of water. Simmer in a closely covered pan, until very tender (approx 1 hour or more.)

Remove from cooker. When cool enough to handle, take out the fruit and chop it up, remove the pips, and return fruit to the pan. Boil the pips for 10 minutes in half a pint of water and then strain onto the fruit and water in the big pan. [The pips contain natural pectin, which helps the marmalade to set.]

2015-Sep-Grapefruit002Boil rapidly for 10-15 minutes. Add the 3lbs of sugar and continue to boil rapidly until the sugar is dissolved and the marmalade is at setting point (about 20-25 minutes).

To test for ‘setting’, place a couple of saucers in the freezer for about 5 minutes until chilled. Pour a teaspoon of the marmalade onto the cold saucer and return to freezer for a minute. The marmalade is ready to set if when you push it with your finger it wrinkles. (The 2nd saucer is there, if you need another go!)

Bottle in clean, sterilised, screw top jars.

P.S. Judy adds some beer instead of part of the water. She also uses brown sugar to make a very dark marmalade.

Carola’s variations:
Well, typical me, when attempting this recipe for the first time I didn’t follow it verbatim. I had a basket of grapefruits not oranges (thank you Juliette at Media on Mars for the fruit). Also, I don’t like super sweet preserves, so I cut the sugar by 30% and used organic raw sugar. Additionally, I experimented with some spices – by adding chilli flakes, cardamon, star anise, cinnamon and cloves.

2015-Sep-Grapefruit003This approach meant a few challenges, as the mystery behind rich and well set marmalade making is the scientific and perfect balance of the acid, pectin and sugar, boiled at the right temperature for the right amount of time. Not to be put off – I went ahead anyway – and I can probably say that the results are an ‘acquired taste’! We like it, but you may not!

Le me know how you get on – comments welcome.



Forage and Preserve

Pamela loved to forage in hedgerows and to make use of seasonal ‘free’ produce. And, if there’s a glut, you preserve. That could mean jams, marmalades, chutneys, pickles and liqueurs (also the famous exploding elderflower cordial). Here, in Australia, it’s spring and there’s plenty of citrus about. In Scotland, I suspect there are late summer fruits and maybe brambles and sloes, ready for the picking in the hedgerows.


Cumquat’s from Annie’s garden.

I’ve been on an amateur adventure into the land of marmalades, pickles and liqueurs lately – channeling Mum, as I can’t bear to see lawn-fuls of fruit going to waste. Although I don’t have ample citrus trees, many of my friends do and I have always liked the idea of homemade goodies to give away at Christmas or to donate to a charity fundraising stall. So…


16 year old gin-soaked cumquats! (These will be going in this year’s Christmas Cake.)

On discovering a quick marmalade recipe in Pamela’s recipe book, I put a call out for fruit and I searched for jars to prepare. I came across two Kilner jars of fruit in the back of a cupboard. Mum had preserved cumquats in gin and plums in brandy about 16 years ago, when we lived in Greenwich, Sydney – and these were the very same jars with the same said fruit! Although the majority of the liquid had long been consumed, some gin still remained – and wow, it’s good stuff!

Perfect neat or mixed as a cocktail with a squeeze of lime and a slice or two of fresh cumquat. Cheers to Mum & Dad.

Recipes coming along in the next couple of posts for Quick Marmalade, Lime Pickle and Cumquat Gin.


Pamela and Ross, circa 1950. Cumquat gin, circa 1999 – served 2015.


Cumquat gin, with tonic, squeeze of fresh lime, slices of fresh cumquat.