Jam and marmalade making doesn’t have to be the preserve (sorry) of those with bags of time and an industrial-sized kitchen. I’ve made this recipe every January for the past four or five years – so a few times pre-baby, then heavily pregnant (with a bit of carrying help from my mum) and when Scrip was just under a year old. And it’s easy and delicious.
There are no sticky jam thermometers involved or massive vats of liquid bubbling away on the stove – just a deep microwave dish, a microwave and some simple ingredients. And the finished pots are always appreciated as presents (particularly by mother-in-laws).
I’m afraid I can’t remember where the recipe’s from but I think it’s from a microwave cookbook. The setting method is the one I’ve borrowed from the Good Housekeeping Step-by-Step Cook Book (where else).
Orange Marmalade – makes 1.5 – 2lb (3 to 4 jam jars)
450g (1lb) seville oranges – I used ones from Abel & Cole
1 lemon (or an extra orange and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice)
900ml (1.5 pts) water
450g (1lb) sugar
knob of butter (optional)
1. Put a saucer into the freezer to chill. Grate the oranges and lemon ensuring all the pith is left on the fruit – I use a grater and do a quick grate all the way round.
2. Put the fruit in a food processor (you can peel it but I don’t usually) and chop until the pips are broken – important to ensure the pectin is released.
3. Place the chopped mixture in a large bowl and pour over boiling water. Cover and cook on HIGH power for 10 mins.
4. Strain the mixture through a sieve into another large bowl or jug (if you want to clean and reuse the original bowl) pressing the pulp well until all the juice is extracted. Discard the pulp.
5. Sir the shredded rind into the hot juice in your microwave dish and cook uncovered on HIGH for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, until the rind is tender. Stir in the sugar until dissolved.
6. Cover and cook on HIGH for 8 mins. Stir in the butter (if using) and cook on HIGH again to setting point (see below) for 6 mins (I tend to cook for at least 6 and maybe up to 8 mins to ensure set. Just keep going in 30 second blasts checking until it’s set – see below).
7. When set, leave to stand for 10 mins then pour into warmed, sterilised jars – I sterlise these by washing jam jars thoroughly then filling up to a quarter way up with water and heating in the microwave (without lids) until the water boils. Then draining and drying thoroughly.
Testing for the set
When the marmalade is nearly ready, spoon a small blob of it on to the chilled plate and chill for a couple of mins. When it’s cooled, push the surface with your finger. If the surface wrinkles and doesn’t break to reveal liquid jam, it’s set.