Recently I have had a notion for some good, old fashioned orange marmalade but, because I have a sulphite allergy I have to be very careful about what I eat. Anything containing sulphites can cause me to have a severe allergic reaction. You don’t really realise just what’s being added to our food until you have something like this but once you start looking, it’s a real eye-opener so I now prepare almost everything we eat from scratch and spend half my life checking labels to make sure there are no hidden sulphites in the products. It’s not just in the product itself either. Sulphites can be hidden within individual ingredients used to make the product too. So, for example, I love jams and marmalades but, if they contain concentrated lemon juice (most do), then they will have sulphites in them as sulphites are used to preserve the juice. It isn’t easy to keep on top of it all and the best way to deal with it is to buy the best products you can afford and make as much as you can yourself. In fact, cooking, baking and creating everything from scratch is not that difficult once you get into it, it’s actually a lot of fun and it’s so much better for you than buying food prepared in a factory.
And so, last week, after a couple of days of marmalade cravings, I decided that the best and safest way was to just get on and make it and, even though I say it myself, it is absolutely delicious!
And here’s the recipe should any of you like to try it for yourselves.
It’s a little bit fiddly but it isn’t difficult and as long as you set aside enough time to keep an eye on it, you should have absolutely no problem.
Old Fashioned Orange Marmalade
3 lb (1.4 kg) of oranges
the juice of two lemons
6 lb (2.7 kg) sugar (ordinary granulated will do)
Cut the oranges in half and squeeze the juice and pips into a bowl. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pips and any orange flesh from the juice and place them in the middle of a square of muslin. Scrape any flesh remaining on the orange skins into the muslin too and tie up into a little package. Slice the orange skins either thickly, thinly or a mixture of both (don’t get too hung up on this) and put them in a preserving pan along with the juice, the muslin bag and 6 pints (3.4 litres) of water. Do not remove the pith from the orange skins as this is where the pectin is stored. Without it, the marmalade won’t set properly.
Simmer the mixture gently for about 2 hours or until the peel is really soft and the liquid has reduced by about half. Remove the muslin bag and squeeze well making sure any juice runs back into the pan. Add the sugar and heat gently. Keep stirring until all the sugar is dissolved.
Once the sugar is completely dissolved, bring the mixture to the boil and boil rapidly for 15 – 30 minutes or until setting point is reached. (Mine took about 30 minutes).
Remove any scum with a slotted spoon and leave the mixture to stand for about 15 minutes. Then, give it a good stir and pot it up in the normal way.
And there you have it! Good old fashioned orange marmalade!
If you have any questions or aren’t sure of anything – just ask. You can contact me using any of the methods listed on the CONTACT PAGE.