Every year when I was a little girl my mum would look out for the Seville oranges, and when they arrived she'd make a big pot of marmalade, which lasted for years, and improved with age.
I saw some wonderful blood oranges at a market recently and I thought it would be great to make a beautiful pink marmalade with them. Unfortunately I took my eyes away from the bubbling cauldron for just a minute and it became very dark and welded to the bottom. I was careful not to stir after I burned it, so I salvaged most of the marmalade, but it certainly wasn't a pretty pink.
I think madam Delia was a little off with the timing, I don't think it took 2 1/2 hours to reach the setting point, more like 45 mins. I think one of my mistakes was to use a pan that had a bottom that wasn't thick enough.
I'd say you'd want to do this while you're pottering about in the kitchen, check every 5 minutes or so and give it a stir.
The recipe is made over a couple of days, and be warned, you'll end up very sticky! Its very rewarding though, and a wonderful gift for friends.
I'm putting a recipe, but I think this is one of those things that you kind of play by ear. I didn't discard any of the water that I boiled the oranges in, and I reduced the sugar significantly, as I was using much sweeter oranges.
Marmalade, adapted from Delia Online
Makes around 7 500ml jars
3lb Oranges, scrubbed
1.Take the fruit, cover with water and boil in a large saucepan for around 3 hours. Cool until ready to handle.
2. Cut each of the fruits in half and scoop the flesh into a medium saucepan. Discard the lemon peel. Boil the flesh with the remaining water for around 10 mins (I boiled a little longer to reduce the liquid down)
3. Meanwhile, slice the peel of the oranges thinly.
4. Place some gauze over a nylon sieve and pour the fruit into it to strain. Leave for a while, then gather up the fabric and squeeze all the important pectin out.
5. Combine all the peels and the strained fruit and leave overnight in a large saucepan
6. The next day add the sugar and then slowly heat until the sugar has all dissolved. Bring to a rolling boil and stir occasionally. This is the tricky part. You want to bring the stuff to a jam without completely ruining it and your saucepan, and you dont want to stop too soon and have runny syrup instead of marmalade. Delia says check every 15 minutes, but I say that after 30 mins you should keep a fairly close eye.
You know when its done because when you put a bit on a plate and push your finger through it, it stays completely separated.
7. Meanwhile, sterilize the jars. I usually put a teaspoon in them and pour boiling water in them and leave for a few minutes.
8. Leave for a few minutes to cool, this will ensure that the peel is well distributed, then pour into jars.