Place the whole fruit in a basin of lukewarm water and give them a wash and a gentle scrub.
Remove the button where the stem would have been.
Place the fruit, whole, into a saucepan with the water and cover with a lid.
Bring to the boil and simmer gently on a low heat for one-and-a-half to 2 hours.
You should be able to easily pierce the skins of the fruit when they are ready.
Remove from the water and leave to cool. Reserve the water.
Using a sharp knife, quarter the fruit and scrape out all the pulp and pips, right down to the peel.
Too much pith left on the peel makes cloudy marmalade.
Add the pips, pulp and any residual juice, into the pan with the reserved fruit water.
Boil for ten minutes and then strain through a sieve. Keep the juice and discard everything else.
Pour the sugar into a flat roasting dish and put it in the oven at 150C/Gas Mark 2 to warm through for up to an hour, while you prepare the fruit.
This will make it easier to dissolve the sugar.
Using a sharp knife, chop the orange and lemon peel by hand to your favourite shape. Machine cut peel makes cloudy marmalade.
Butter the base of your pan with a thin skim of unsalted butter.
Measure the strained juice and add extra water to make up the quantity to 1.5 if necessary, as some of the original quantity will have evaporated.
Put the strained juice into the pan with the chopped peel.
Slowly bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, add the warm sugar and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Put up to 12 thoroughly clean jam jars into the preheated oven to warm through ready for the finished marmalade.
Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture to the boil and continue to maintain a ‘good rolling boil’, without stirring, for at least 15 minutes, perhaps more.
You need to reach setting point.
Allow it to cool a little, and then push it with your finger, or tilt the dish to one side.
If the marmalade wrinkles up, it is ready.
Leave the marmalade in the hot pan until it shows that it is beginning to set.
The peel will be showing signs of becoming ‘suspended’ in the mixture.
Carefully ladle the hot marmalade into warm jam jars.
It is handy to have a jam funnel for this job. Seal the jars.
For other marmalades, using different citrus fruits, follow the basic recipe above.
Extracted from The Three Chimneys Marmalade Bible by Shirley Spear, £4.99, Birlinn
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