- Took a little road trip this weekend to the Dalemain Marmalade Awards in Cumbria (www.dalemainmarmaladeawards.co.uk). Established in 2006, these awards were set up by Jane Hasell-McCosh to promote the making and enjoyment of that now very British tradition of turning all kinds of citrus fruit into marmalade. Nine years on and what started as a small but quirky event has grown into an international festival, attracting entries from all over the world. This year over 2000 jars of marmalade made their way to Dalemain Mansion, where they were sorted into categories e.g “Marmalade with interesting additions…” and separated into home-made, artisan and bed & breakfast/hotel makers.
Judged by a plethora of respected foodies including Dan Lepard, Pam Corbin & Ivan Day, the entries are tasted “blind” with no indication beyond the ingredients and name of the product on the jar to ensure absolute impartiality.
I have to confess, I had a specific reason for attending these awards as I had entered three jars in the artisan categories – whiskey marmalade, Seville marmalade with gin & plain Seville marmalade. It was my first time of entering, and it was more in expectation of getting advice on my products (all entries get given tasting notes by the judges) then actually getting anywhere in the competition. I was incredibly chuffed to be given a GOLD award for my Seville Marmalade, medium cut.
Simple Seville Orange Marmalade:
1.5 kilos Seville oranges, washed.
2.2 litres (4 pints) water
2.5 kilos sugar
Whole Sevilles in the pan
Put the oranges in a large saucepan and add the water. Simmer gently for 2 – 3 hours until the peel is very soft.
Remove the fruit, but DON’T throw the water away.
Let fruit cool til you can handle comfortably.
Cut the fruit in half and scoop the pips into a small saucepan, add 300ml of water and bring this to a simmer for 10 minutes. Leave to cool and then strain through a sieve into the reserved water from earlier. Squeeze as much liquid from the sieve as you can.
Meantime chop the peel to suit – thick or thin!
Put this fruit back into the large pan with the water and sugar. Stir well over a low heat until the sugar has all dissolved.
Turn the heat up and bring to a fast boil for 10 minutes, then pull off the heat and test for a set – either: dip a clean wooden spoon into the pan, remove it and holding above the pan, twirl the spoon to cool it then let the marmalade ‘fall’ off the spoon. If the drops run together and form flakes that hang onto the edge of the spoon, a set has been reached; or:
chill a saucer in the fridge, put a teaspoon of marmalade on the cold saucer and let it cool for 1 minute. Push the surface and if it ‘wrinkle’, it has reached setting point.
If the marmalade hasn’t yet set, put back on the heat and cook for another 5 minutes and try the set again. Repeat as necessary but do make sure you take the pan off the heat each time you test the set or you’ll end up with toffee!
Let it sit a little, remove any “scum” (or froth really), by adding a small pat of butter and stirring to disperse the air bubbles. Letting it sit for 5 minutes or so before potting it also helps the peel to suspend in the jelly rather than sinking to the bottom.
Ladle into sterilized jars (fill jars with just boiled water, rinse out and leave upside to dry in a warm oven), and seal. Leave to cool before labeling.
This recipes makes about 9 x 340g jars or 18 190g jars.
Jars of marmalade cooling