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Sunday 7 February 2010

Blood Orange Marmalade

Not so very long ago (in fact, this was just last month), I was having breakfast with some work friends in Milan.

Now, I know how that sounds, but let me just make very clear from the start that we weren't lounging glamorously, sipping espressi and nibbling crostata on the terrace of some lovely bar near the Duomo (obviously - this was January; nobody was doing that!). No, we were in Linate Airport, waiting to catch a flight back to London.

(I know, I know... Dreams shatter, the romance that filled the air becomes a mere memory... Welcome back to the real world.)

Anyway, the breakfast we ate was completely unremarkable - can't even remember what we had - but the orange juice they brought us to drink with it has been on my mind ever since. Well, not constantly, but I enjoyed it enough to remember it, put it that way.

I say orange juice, but actually, this stuff was crimson. Sanguine. Red-as-you-like. It would easily pass for tomato at a Fruit Juice Fancy Dress, no questions asked. Or indeed, blood, but I prefer the rather more appetising lure of my first comparison. Feel free to choose which you like better.

Anyway, it turned out that I like blood orange juice very much indeed, and not least because I am just crazy about the way Italians serve freshly squeezed juice - as it comes, bits and all, and at room temperature. It was so good I ordered a second, risking terrible acid indigestion (which thankfully never came), convinced I would never have the chance to enjoy such an elixir ever again.

So far, I am sorry to say, I have been proven right, but let us not dwell too much on the negatives in life. I did succeed in finding some blood oranges in the greengrocer's last week, and wasted little time in buying several kilos, full of hope that I would be drinking freshly squeezed, blood-red OJ at home all week.

It was not to be.

We can go about this the easy way, or the hard way, but the long and the short of it is that my blood oranges were anaemic. No sanguine juices for me. I didn't even bother to photograph the juice they produced, as it was just too devastatingly orange.

Since I wasn't going to bother making juice anymore (we always have regular orange juice in the fridge, and I am not going to get all busy in the kitchen when there really isn't a need. Call me lazy. Go on.), I was at a loss over what to do with all the citrus lying about my kitchen.

Until I went out into the shed, that is.

Have I told we we always keep our empty jars? I have now.

And have I told you that I eat more pickled gherkins than anyone else in the British Isles? Ditto.

I like to think that it is a simple and easy to follow equation:

Oranges + Jars = Marmalade.

I didn't have much time for this though, owing to a roster change, so I decided to use the whole fruit method, which is meant to be a lot quicker than the sliced fruit method (that I used to make Lemon-Vanilla Marmalade), and has the added benefit of making your kitchen smell like a Sicilian orange grove. Always a bonus, I'm sure you'll agree.

A quick note - said roster change meant that I had to photograph this marmalade immediately after jarring, (with awful food styling; I have failed you, I know) while it was still hot and liquid. I'm not trying to encourage dangerous behaviour in the kitchen, but have to tell you that there really is nothing to rival just-made, hot orange marmalade on a buttered crumpet. The flavour of the oranges is incredible. I haven't had a chance to try the fully set preserve yet - I'm away - but if it is even half as zingy as the straight off the boil stuff, then this is basically the best thing I have ever made.

Blood Orange Marmalade

You will need:

1 kg (that's six!) blood oranges
2 kg granulated sugar
3 lemons
  1. Wash, scrub and remove the ends of the oranges. By ends I mean the little nubbly bits and stems.
  2. Put them in a pan, cover them with plenty of water and bring to the boil. Simmer, covered, until soft. This should take two hours, so you can clean away the breakfast things, hoover or do the ironing while you wait. Or all of those things. I can clean the whole house in two hours.
  3. Allow to cool slightly, and remove the oranges. Slice them as thin or thick as you like and put into a large pan. Measure the liquid you boiled them in, and either add more water to make 1.7 litres, or boil away more until you get that much. Add the orangey liquid to the oranges in the pan, along with the sugar and juice of the lemons.
  4. Stir and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Then bring to a rolling boil, and maintain the high heat until the setting point is reached. This took 40 minutes for me.
    Allow to cool for 10 minutes, and pour into sterilised jars. I filled four great big ones (450g capacity), and one small one. Seal immediately. Unless you want to try it hot like I did, in which case proceed carefully, and don't burn your tongue!
If you don't know what the setting point is, or how to sterilise jars, see here.


  1. OMG i loooove orange marmalade! making your own is waaaay cool!

  2. I love marmalade, it's on my toast every morning. Oranges are cheap here at the moment and it's been a while since I've made it. Thanks for the prompt :)

  3. I've had fail blood oranges myself. Seeing as they are more expensive as the plain ones, I find this very annoying. I now only buy the ones that have a strong blush on the outer skin, too, as a guarantee of inner...well, bloodiness.

    Nevertheless, these jars? They look wonderful. And I say PAH! to your poor self-judgment of the photos. I think they look marvelous, especially under the circumstances.

  4. I'd like to let you know that you've given me a disgusting and shameful craving for that marmalade. I would (if I could) eat it from a spoon.

    Oh and yes.

    I'm making this next week.

  5. Mr P, I am sorry your oranges disappointed! They did still have that glorious 'spicy' flavour though didn't they? I love the idea of blood orange marmalade!:) YUM:)

    Was this the colour you were expecting?:


  6. Sophie - Thanks! :) Can't wait to try it again when I get home.

    Sanjana - Do it! We'll start a Marmalade Youth Revolution! (Am I still a youth? Not really. But I like the sound of it. It's like a band name.)

    Coby - Exactly. That's exactly the colour I wanted. Hmph.

  7. Mae - they tasted good, but I was left dissatisfied. I don't pay extra for nothing extra! Except in this case, when I clearly did.

    Judy - It's cool in an elderly way. Just call me Grandad P.

  8. I fell in love with blood orange juice in Italy too. 'tis the thing to do, don't you know!

  9. I keep all my empty jars for exactly the same reason - although I am often too lazy to make preserves. I heart marmalade - and this looks like a delicious way to enjoy your less than perfect blood oranges.

  10. i love orange marmalade! I always have one jar in my fridge, but i make it sweet, very sweet. I never use the peel, and white parts, i use only pulp. Is delicios.

    http://cccris.blogspot.com/2009/11/dulceata-de-portocale.html to see mine.


That's what he said.

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