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Seville oranges are the best variety for making traditional marmalade. Incredibly bitter they are not nice to eat, but with their high levels of pectin they produce a great set when cooked down with lots of sugar.


  • 1 kg Seville oranges
  • 2 lemons, juice only
  • 2 litres water
  • 2 kg granulated sugar (no added pectin)
  • (1-2 tbs soft dark brown sugar


  • Put the whole oranges and the lemon juice in a large pan and cover with 2 litres of water; use a pan that is the right size for the water to cover the fruit. You can weigh the oranges down with a heat-proof plate to keep them submerged.
  • Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for around two hours.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked oranges into a bowl. Allow the oranges to cool until they are easy to handle.
  • Meanwhile, warm the sugar in a very low oven. When the oranges are cool enough, cut them in half. Scoop out all the pips and pith and add to the pan.
  • Bring to the boil for 6 minutes, then strain this liquid through a sieve into a bowl and press the pulp through with a wooden spoon. Pour this liquid into a preserving pan.
  • Cut the peel, with a sharp knife, into thick strips. Add the peel to the liquid in the preserving pan with the warm sugar. Stir over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved, for about 10 minutes, then bring to a rolling boil and do not keep stirring it. After about 15-25 minutes, it subsides to a more relaxed rolling boil, and that is usually the setting point.
  • Take the pan off the heat and skim any scum from the surface. (To dissolve any excess scum, drop a small knob of butter on to the surface, and stir.) Leave the marmalade to stand in the pan for 20 minutes to cool a little and allow the peel to settle (but not less than 85°C) so that it does not float to the top when you pot it.
  • Pot in sterilized warm jars and put the lids on as soon as you can.