Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Seville Marmalade , orange blossom blessed

Seville Marmalade , orange blossom blessed
It had to happen sooner or later.  Take a look at my friend Shirley’s dining room window.  Do you see her self discipline?  Although people see she has this wonderful cobalt blue glass collection, they give her pieces that are burgundy or purple.  She’s a gracious lady who thanks them and puts those pieces in different windows.  When I look at Shirley’s window, I imagine that if it were me, I wouldn’t be able to resist putting in one emerald green piece, just for contrast.  Then the deluge of other glass bottles, in yellows, reds, oranges, lime green with hot pink polka dots, would pour in.  I could never pull off Shirley’s beautiful window.  And so it is with my Indian cuisine blog.  How dare I include a recipe for marmalade?  Well, I have tinkered with it a bit, justifying the inclusion of this recipe by explaining it is scented with orange blossom water. 

6 Seville oranges (these become available in February, and aren’t meant for eating!)
7 cups water
2 cups raw sugar cane crystals
2 cups vanilla sugar (see my sugar recipe)
pinch salt
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
Cut the oranges into quarters, taking out and reserving the seeds.  Slice the orange pieces into thread like strands  (warning: the seeding and slicing takes well over an hour!) Put the seeds into a large tea ball, if you have one, or tied into cheesecloth if you don’t.  In a large pot, combine the enclosed seeds, loose orange bits, salt and water.  Bring to a boil and turn down heat to simmer for half an hour.  Turn off heat and let rest for several hours.  Over night is best. 

Turn the heat back onto high, and add the sugars.  Once it’s boiling, turn heat down to medium and simmer for at least an hour.  Test the mixture by dropping a tiny amount (less than a half teaspoon) onto a cold saucer.  If it crinkles, and is a bit jelled, it’s done.  If it’s runny, keep cooking.  Once you have crinkles and jelling, turn off the heat, pull out the enclosed seeds, and add the orange blossom water.  Stir to encourage a bit more evaporation, then pour into sterilized jars with sterilized rubber rings and lids.

This is the second batch I’ve made.  With the first batch I was determined to create a stiff jell, but didn’t realize it gets even stiffer later.  My sugars started to caramelise, and the marmalade got almost coka-cola coloured, and then it was too stiff to spread on toast!  This batch turned out a smidge too runny, but the colour is pretty and it spreads easily.  

The taste of homemade marmalade is like sunshine exploding in your mouth.  Nothing tastes cleaner, or more delightful.  It may not be a traditional Indian item, but it belongs in my heart!
I’m looking forward to making my third batch when the Sevilles are back in the grocery stores.  I’ve heard you can use other oranges, blood oranges making a beautiful marmalade, and you can use less sugar.  If I go that route, I’ll write up another posting describing my non-Indian recipe.  And thanks to Shirley for her picture!


  1. I love the picture of the blue glass in the window, so calming, and I'd like to try this marmalade recipe, so... a dumb question, can I still get the Seville oranges in the grocery store, and/or will any other oranges work?

  2. Hi Edith, not dumb at all. Sevilles are no longer available, as far as I know. But just five minutes ago I figured out what to do with the huge number of leftover organic lemons that I used for the Easter dinner. I'll be turning them to lemon marmalade with rose petals and orange blossom water. Stay tuned!