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Handmade Seville Orange Marmalade: Scrumptious


On a dull winter day in January there’s something quite magical in creating handmade Seville Orange Marmalade.  The kitchen atmosphere is fragrant, tingling with a fizzy orange mist during juicing, and there’s the intense anticipation of neat cut strips of succulent peel suspended in wobbly amber jelly.

The distinctive fresh, tingly citrus aroma is a real assault on the senses slicing sharply through any lingering rich and warm Christmas spicing. 

All in all creating a jar of amber goodness is an absolute preserving taste adventure.  In this blog, we’ll explore a little of the art of hand-crafting Seville Oranges into a marmalade that undeniably captures the very essence of sunshine in every spoonful.

Seville Orange Marmalade: A Zesty Adventure 

For a good quality traditional breakfast marmalade there can only be one fruit, and the clue is often in the product name, Seville Orange Marmalade.  It’s made with oranges grown around Seville in southern Spain.  The botanical name is Citrus x  aurantium and it’s a hybrid of the grapefruit (Citrus maxima) and the mandarin (Citrus reticulata). It’s an evergreen plant originating from the Himalayas.  If the conditions are right for the heat-loving bitter orange, it can grow into a tree of up to 10 metres tall. The leaves are rich green, oval-shaped and this is where the fragrant essential oil is found.

Seville Orange Marmalade: The Fruit 

Selecting good quality fruit is crucial to make a good marmalade. Look for oranges with a bright, firm skin and a slightly bumpy texture which is a  good indicator of flavour.   My choice of oranges are those grown by Gospa Citrus, a family grower from Mairena del Alcor east of Seville — GOSPA CITRUS – Cítricos ecológicos de Sevilla.  During January and early February, you’ll find these oranges at Riverford and some Sainsbury’s supermarkets.

You’ll also need a lemon, water, granulated sugar, and sterilised jars ready for the finished marmalade.

When making marmalade I often think of a Dad’s Army episode ‘The Love of Three Oranges’ where Mr Hodges the greengrocer auctions three oranges.   Capt. Mainwaring tells Sgt Wilson he must buy an orange for Mrs Mainwaring. The verger overhears and tells Mr Hodges, who resolves not to sell an orange to Capt. Mainwaring.

The first orange sells for a shilling (younger readers that’s 5p) to Mrs Yeatman, before Capt. Mainwaring can bid. The second orange is withdrawn from the sale for (according to Mr Hodges) not reaching its unstated reserve price.  Sgt Wilson tells Pte. Pike to buy the last orange for Capt. Mainwaring. They (Pike and the Capt.) unknowingly bid against each other, and the orange eventually sells for a whopping ten shillings (50p). Then Capt.  Mainwaring discovers it’s a Seville orange and totally inedible! So don’t forget these oranges are bitter, full of pips, perfect for handmade marmalade, and totally unsuitable for eating!

Seville Orange Marmalade: Making it Scrumptious 

Cue the magic to begin, this is my favourite part of making marmalade.  I find it creative and relaxing.  Often citrus skins are coated with a preserve to prevent deterioration, this is not the case for Seville oranges, the fruit just needs washing thoroughly, then… 

Juice the oranges and the lemon. Remove the inner membrane of the oranges.

Slice the peel into evenly shaped batons

Blitz the waste from the oranges and all the lemon shell. Secure the waste in a jelly bag or muslin. Add the bag of waste to the sliced orange skins.

Soak the peel overnight  in the cooking water (this helps reduce cooking time).

Cook – simmer the hand-cut batons until the liquid content is reduced by a third.  Add the sugar and bring the contents back to a rolling boil.  This looks like a bottle of fizzy drink has been poured into the pan. Keep a close eye on the pan and check for setting point, this is the ultimate magic of preserving.

Jar – once the marmalade reaches setting point, carefully ladle it into the sterilised jars.

Eat on toast.  On crumpets.  Simply on a spoon. 

Handmade Seville Orange Marmalade is definitely a marmalade for all and every season.


Every palate is different, and this makes taste very personal, finding the right balance for you between sweetness and tanginess is key to a truly scrumptious and memorable marmalade. Try experimenting with sugar quantities, and finally how about adding a splash of your favourite tipple to transform your marmalade into something undeniably adults only. 

From selecting the finest Seville Oranges to the artful process of hand cutting, every step contributes to the creation of truly exceptional citrus preserve.

Handmade Seville Orange Marmalade is a labour of love that rewards the artisan maker and the lucky recipients who get to eat it. You can find plenty more marmalade inspiration and advice at Home – Vivien Lloyd – Inspirational preserves and baking tutor

So, roll up your sleeves, embrace the zest, and embark on a journey to capture the essence of sunshine in a jar – your handcrafted masterpiece awaits, and once you’ve done that how about entering the World Marmalade Awards where there’s a special category for homemade jars Marmalade Awards & Festival — DALEMAIN MANSION & HISTORIC GARDENS If you’re quick you can get an entry in this year!

Don’t forget…a wise bear always keeps a marmalade sandwich in his hat in case of emergency.


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