Seville orange marmalade has been a favored friend to toast for years and making your own homemade marmalade is easy, rewarding, and healthy! Seville oranges are popular for marmalade making, as the peel gives marmalade its characteristic bitter flavor. I thought that marmalade must be a healthy spread due as it contains the whole orange (not only the juice and pulp but also the skin and the pith), meaning lots of antioxidant bioflavonoids.
I decided to do some research and came up with plenty of articles outlining the health benefits of marmalade. One article in the Daily Mail puts forth that marmalade, especially the low-sugar variety, is indeed a healthy food!
Despite the recent trend to opt for honey due to the well-publicized health benefits of the Manuka variety – marmalade is arguably healthier as it contains vitamins and antioxidants from the fruit
However, many shop bought marmalades contain more than 50 percent sugar, so go for low/no added sugar varieties, or better still make your own to control the amount and type of sugar you add.
Pectin, a gelling agent naturally occurring in oranges used to help marmalade set, relieves constipation and sore throats, according to a study by the institute of Food Research. It has also been found to inhibit tumour growth. Meanwhile, antioxidants in the citrus peel help lower levels of LDL cholesterol, and with 20 times more antioxidants in 1g of marmalade than in your ordinary glass of orange juice, it could be a better choice.
Marmalade is a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron. It usually contains added sugar, but when I make it I always use less than half the quantity that most recipes suggest. I also use raw brown cane sugar. You could try replacing regular brown sugar with stevia or xylitol when making your own marmalade, but I haven’t tried it yet and can’t vouch for the results.
Feel free to experiment, but here’s my marmalade recipe to get you started.
900g Seville organic unwaxed oranges
1 organic, unwaxed lemon
2.4 litre of filtered water
750 g raw brown cane sugar
Makes approximately 6lbs.
Slice oranges and lemon in half and squeeze. Pour the resulting juice into a large stainless steel pan, retaining the pips.
With a metal spoon, scoop out any remaining pips, pulp and white pith from the skins. Place all pips, pulp and pith into a piece of muslin and secure tightly with a piece of twine. This provides the pectin for setting the marmalade.
Chop or grate orange & lemon peel to desired thickness. Add the chopped peel and water to the juice in the pan. Immerse muslin bag containing the pips, pulp and pith in the pan and leave all to soak overnight.
Next day, bring contents of the pan (including muslin bag) to a boil and simmer for about 1.5 hours until peel is soft and liquid has reduced by nearly a half.
About 10 minutes before end of simmering time, place the brown sugar on a baking tray in a low oven to warm up. This helps it dissolve more easily.
Remove pan from heat and squeeze out as much liquid as possible from muslin bag into the pan, then discard.
Slowly dissolve the warmed sugar in the liquid, stirring well so that it’s completely dissolved.
Bring mixture back to a rolling boil and keep it boiling until it reaches a temperature of 220% C. This is setting point.
One way to check if it has reached setting point is to place a little of the boiled liquid onto a cold plate and push with a spoon. If the cooled liquid crinkles, it is set. The time from adding the sugar to reaching setting point is usually about half an hour of rolling boil time.
When ready, remove from heat, stir well to ensure an even mix of peel through the jam and pour into sterilized jam jars. Place greaseproof paper discs over surface of marmalade and seal with lid immediately.
Allow to cool and set overnight.