Kalyn is back hosting Weekend Herb Blogging and I'm sure she is counting down to that magic 2 years of WHB - last year coriander/cilantro came out on top as our favourite herb maybe this year we can find out what our favourite vegetable is?
This week it's not a herb or a vegetable but a fruit that I'm looking at - one that is right at the peak of its season....the Seville Orange
It does look quite harmless but looks are deceiving - you don't want to start the day with a glass of this orange juice. Seville Orange is otherwise known as a bitter orange and belongs to the Aurantium species of Citrus. There are many varieties and they are used to make Orange flower water, Chinotto, Bergamot Oil and liqueurs such as Grand Marnier, Triple Sec and Curaçao.
Seville Oranges are best used in making marmalade, they are high in pectin so they set like a dream and produce that typical tart marmalade so loved by Englishmen such as Paalo. The season is relatively short, in Europe from December to February and here from July to September so if the desire to make real marmalade takes hold, act quickly!
Seville Orange Marmalade
4 Seville oranges (around 1kg in weight)
4 cups water, approximate
5 cups white sugar, approximate
Wash the oranges well and dry them.
Thinly slice off the top and bottom to create flat edges and then cut the orange in half lengthways.
Place it cut side down and slice into thin semicircles - save all the seeds as you go and place them in a small glass. The seeds are a great source of pectin which will help set the marmalade.
Finely slice the top and bottom pieces as well and place all the sliced oranges and any of the juice into a non-reactive container. Fill with enough water to cover the oranges - in this case I used 4 cups of water. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
In the glass containing the seeds just add enough water to cover the seeds and place this in the fridge as well.
This process will start softening the skin and releasing the pectin into the water. If you don't have time to do this you can continue from the next step but just cook for a little longer.
The next day place the oranges and the liquid from the seeds into a non-reactive saucepan and slowly bring to a simmer - cover and cook until the peel has softened. This batch took 20 minutes though the time will depend on the hardness of the peel and the thickness of the slices.
If you haven't soaked the oranges or the seeds overnight, tie the seeds in muslin and place them in with the oranges to simmer - the time needed to soften the skins will increase. When they have softened, remove the seeds and continue.
The simple equation in marmalade making is to use 1 cup of sugar to every 1 cup of mixture. To clarify, you must measure the total volume, the oranges and the water remaining.
After the simmering time, I had 5 cups remaining so I used 5 cups of sugar.
Place the mixture over a gentle heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved, brush the sides of the pan down with a wet pastry brush to dissolve any remaining sugar. If you use a candy thermometer, the marmalade should be ready when it reaches 105°C/221°F.
It's best not to stir the mixture as it's cooking but do check to make sure it's not sticking. You'll notice a scum forming on the top as it cooks, just skim this off.
Once it's cooked let it sit for 5 minutes to allow the fruit to distribute evenly through the mixture and then pour into sterilised jars and seal.
When it sets it should have a quasi translucent appearance and the slivers of peel should be suspended through it
With thick slices of toast and perhaps a good lashing of butter, a spoonful of this and a warming cup of tea might just be the perfect way to start Sunday...
Tagged with Weekend Herb Blogging