Seville Orange Marmalade is prized in Great Britain. Legend has it that this perfect marriage of the intensely bitter Seville oranges and the sweetness of sugar occurred by accident in the early 1700s in Scotland.
According to the legend, the current-day marmalade was invented in Dundee, Scotland, by the wife of James Keiller, a local grocer.
Keiller bought a load of discounted and unsellable oranges from a storm-blasted cargo ship from Seville, Spain. Because the oranges were so bitter, the grocer’s frugal and ingenious wife Janet used them instead of her normal fruit to make pots of preserves. Voila – Dundee Seville Orange Marmalade was born!
The Seville Orange Marmalade proved to be so popular that the Dundee public demanded more and more. The Keillers obliged and continued producing the marmalade.
Several generations later, in 1797, another Mrs. Keiller and her son James built the world’s first marmalade factory. And now, you know the rest of the story.
My Seville Orange Marmalade is not the typical variety. Yes, I do use Seville oranges. However, I double the amount of fruit and cut the amount of sugar in half.
The reason for the reduced sugar is that I make the marmalade according to the Master Taste Tester’s preference. He argues that the intense orange flavor shouldn’t be masked by excessive sweetness.
You may be wondering how I got my hands on Seville oranges. The answer is that several Seville orange trees grow here in Downtown Pensacola, around the aptly Seville Square, in the local Historic District.
The Seville Orange trees were planted over a century ago, and every year produce an abundant crop of Seville oranges.
Some years back, when I told the Master Taste Tester that I could get some Seville oranges that were grown locally, he requested that I put my culinary skills to work and produce marmalade, which I did.
Over the years, he has proclaimed my marmalade as “magnificent,” especially if it ripens for several years into a vintage masterpiece.
In case you didn’t know, vintage marmalade is sold in the UK at a premium price!
Ingredients: Here’s What I used
I use the following four simple ingredients for Seville Orange Marmalade: Seville oranges, lemons, water, and sugar.
This year, since we had an abundant crop of “sweet” oranges, I tried fresh squeezed orange juice in place of the water. It worked but was not necessary.
Here’s How I Made the Seville Orange Marmalade
It’s not difficult to make marmalade. However, it is quite time-consuming.
- I started by juicing the oranges. Fortunately, I have an electric juicer. I placed the numerous pips or seeds and piths from the oranges into pieces of cheesecloth tied with a piece of twine.
You may have noticed that I didn’t include pectin as an ingredient. The reason is that the seeds and pith are rich in pectin and provide all that is necessary.
- Next, I used my food processor fitted with a steel blade to cut the fruit skins into coarse pieces. I did this in several batches.
Traditionally, one should use a knife to cut the skins into thin strips. However, from my perspective, the food processor does a fine job of producing coarse-cut marmalade, and is way easier!
- To begin the process of making the marmalade, I added the juice from the oranges and the additional orange juice (or water) and cut up orange peels to a large Dutch oven.
- Then, I added the cheesecloth bags of seeds and pith and tied the bags to the handles of the Dutch oven. I did this to make it easier to retrieve the cheesecloth bags later.
- Next, I brought the mixture up to a simmer over medium heat and then lowered the heat to medium-low.
I simmered the mixture for around two hours until the peel was tender to the touch.
- After two hours, I removed the cheesecloth bags and let them cool for a bit. Meanwhile, I added the sugar and stirred the mixture over medium-low heat until all of the sugar had dissolved. This is a critical step.
- Back to the cheesecloth bags. Once they had cooled, I started the really messy part of extracting as much pectin as possible.
First, I pressed them with the bottom of a small saucer. Then, I used my hands to press as much pectin as I could from the bags. I added the pectin to the marmalade mixture.
Setting the Marmalade
Once the sugar had dissolved, and the pectin had been added, I turned the heat up to high to begin the setting stage. When the mixture reached a full boil, I let it cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
After 15 minutes, I put a small amount on a saucer that had been in the freezer. After it cooled a bit, I pushed the mixture with my finger to see if it wrinkled.
The wrinkling is an indication that the marmalade has set. Fifteen minutes was not enough, so I continued cooking the mixture in 10-minute increments until it wrinkled, which is around 220° F on a candy thermometer.
Overall, it took 45 minutes for the mixture to be properly set.
I let the marmalade cool for about 10 minutes before putting it into sterilized mason jars and screwing on the tops. Because the marmalade was still hot, the jars sealed themselves.
I ended up with nine 12-ounce jars of incredible Seville Orange Marmalade. Because the Master Taste Tester really likes the vintage variety, some of it will be stored in a cool, dry place for several years to age.
The rest will be served at breakfast or eaten as a midnight snack on toast. Yum!
If you’re looking to use this recipe in something really tasty, why not try my Coconut Shrimp with Orange Marmalade Dipping Sauce. Or for some more yummy citrus spreads, check out my Classic English Lemon Curd.
I hope you liked this recipe for Seville Orange Marmalade as much as I do. If so, please consider rating it and leaving a comment. Also, if you’d like to receive notifications of new posts by email, enter your email address in the Subscribe box.
Thank you so much for visiting Pudge Factor. I hope you’ll come back!
Seville Orange Marmalade
- 6 pounds Seville Oranges
- 2 lemons
- 6 cups water
- 7 cups granulated sugar, or more to taste
- Wash the oranges and lemons well. Cut the oranges and lemons in half. Squeeze the juice from the oranges and lemons using a citrus juicer. Add the juice and the water to a large Dutch oven. Place the pips or seeds and any bits of pith that cling to the juicer on a piece of cheesecloth laid over a small bowl.
- Cut the orange peel and the lemon peel into quarters with a sharp knife. Place the orange peel and lemon peel in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel cutting blade. Process until coarse. Add to the Dutch oven. The pith contains a lot of pectin so don't discard any, and don't worry about any pith and skin that clings to the shreds – it all gets dissolved in the boiling.
- Tie the cheesecloth loosely to form a little bag, and tie this onto the handle of the pan so that the bag is suspended in the liquid. Bring the liquid up to a simmering point, and simmer gently, uncovered, for two hours, or until the peel is completely soft – test a piece carefully by pressing it between your finger and thumb.
- Remove the bag of seeds and pith and leave it to cool in a saucer.
- Add the sugar into the Dutch oven and stir over low heat until all the crystals have dissolved (check carefully, it's important). Taste for the desired level of sweetness. Increase the heat to high.
- Squeeze the bag of seeds into the Dutch oven to extract all of the sticky, jelly-like substance that contains the pectin. As you squeeze, you'll see it ooze out. You can do this by placing the bag between two saucers or using your hands. Then stir or whisk it into the rest of the mixture.
- Place several small saucers into the freezer to later use to test the doneness.
- As soon as the mixture reaches a really fast boil, start timing. Then after 15 minutes, spoon a little of the marmalade onto one of the cold saucers from the freezer, and let it cool back in the freezer. When it has cooled, you can tell if you have a "set" by pushing the mixture with your little finger; if it has a really wrinkled skin, it is set. If not, continue to boil the marmalade and give it the same test at about 10-minute intervals until it does set. (This generally takes 45 to 55 minutes for the marmalade to set.)
- After the marmalade has set, remove the Dutch oven from the heat. Spoon any scum from the top.
- Leave the marmalade to settle for about 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, the jars (washed, rinsed, and dried first) should be heated in a 200º F oven for about 10 minutes. The tops should be boiled in water for about 5 minutes.
- Pour the marmalade, with the aid of a funnel, into the jars, and seal them while still hot. If the jars do not seal themselves, place them submerged, in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove and wait to hear the "pop" indicating that the jar has been sealed. Yield: nine 12-ounce jars of marmalade.
Great step-by step instructions. Marmelade is a firm favourite in my house – I shall try your recipe!
You might want to add more sugar than I do. My husband likes the marmalade on the less sweet side!
I have never heard of Seville Oranges! Thank you for the introduction!
Good luck finding them!
a flavor journal. says
How awesome! I’ve never thought of making my own marmalade … I really enjoy how helpful your post is in describing it step-by-step. I really want to give this a shot now!
It’s well worth the effort!
carol Mitchell says
Colin Weedon says
What an excellent recipe!! Could I use brown sugar to give a richer deeper colour?
Chula King says
I’ve not used brown sugar to make the marmalade. However, I’ve found that as the marmalade ages, it takes on the same deep colour as vintage marmalade.
If you do decide to use brown sugar, I’d love to know how it turns out.
Loved it but added more sugar.
Chula King says
I can totally understand your adding more sugar. My husband who likes less sugary marmalade dictated the amount of sugar in the recipe!
Anyway, I’m so glad that you liked the recipe.
I add a table spoon of black treacle at the end of the boil and put a table spoon of whiskey or spiced rum into the jar before pouring the marmalade from the pan. If too foamy add a knob of butter to pan.
Chula King says
Thanks for your suggestions Carolyn!
Do you have access to a stainless steel food mill ~so helpful to some parts of this process. I made grape jam first time this year, and was experiencing same with after I cooked the seeds, as the seeds held the pectin, also used this process in making our apple butter! My son, who taught me to can jams, ran out to purchase a food mill, what a time saving step! Thanks for this recipe, would love to try if I can find some wonderful Seville oranges!! Judy
Chula King says
Thanks so much for the suggestion! I do have a stainless steel food mill, but never thought about using it for making this marmalade!
This is my 4th time making Seville orange marmalade using oranges from the Seville orange tree on my property in the south of Portugal. Unfortunately, I have now sold the house and so this is my last batch from my own tree. I have found that the setting up time is very variable and that relying on a candy thermometer doesn’t always help. I can now tell just by the change of color and viscosity without doing either plate of temperature test. I also actually use a wee bit less sugar than the recipe calls for, and squeeze my pectin bag a lot to compensate. Homemade orange marmalade is the best!
Chula King says
I totally agree – homemade orange marmalade is the best!