Welsh Witterings – It’s that Time of Year Again
It is the time of year when my kitchen smells of citrus fruit and my hands smart from the juicing, zesting and chopping of Seville orange peel, yes it’s marmalade making season. With a new baby I must confess that marmalade making has taken a little longer to complete this year, with peel chopped in-between feeding times, cries and general mummy duties.
All across Britain home cooks and chefs alike are cooking up batches of the bitter-sweet preserve that has come to be an essential part of the quintessential British breakfast, the preserve is marmalade. Whilst it’s future was once in jeopardy with marmalade sales dropping in favour of spreads such as Marmite, but artisan marmalade making is on the rise and as quality marmalades have been increasing so has its appearance on British breakfast tables.
It’s not just because it is Seville orange season that there is a flurry of peel chopping taking place, but because the deadline for entries to The World’s Original Marmalade Awards is looming. The awards were founded to expand and champion the production of marmalade, the Awards have certainly been a great success for over a decade and attract thousands of entries each year.
Last year I didn’t manage to submit any entries for the Great British Marmalade Awards as my other work commitments were just so great, so this year I thought I’d make up for the lost year and enter all sorts of unusual combinations as well as my standard and well loved recipes. I’ve spent days leaning over a bubbling preserving pan, creating everything from gin and lime marmalade, to honey brandy and Seville marmalade jelly and even an extra special one that uses oak-leaf liqueur. I’ll certainly be letting you know how my entries fair and for the first time ever I shall be attending the awards so hopefully I can get some inspiration for next years entries, although my real motive for attending is just to get a photograph with Paddington Bear!
So tomorrow I shall be labelling up my entries and finishing off my final batches of marmalade. You might like to try out this recipe for lime marmalade.
- 14 limes
- Juice of 2lemons
- 5kg(3lbs) jam sugar
- A clean 30cm (12in) square of muslin,
- Four or five sterilised glass jars.
- Scrub the limes to remove any wax. Halve the fruit and squeeze them (reserving the juice). Place the lime halves in a bowl, cover with water and leave covered in the fridge overnight. This is an important step as it makes the peel slicing easier.
- Drain and discard the water. Halve the pieces of lime, scrape out the flesh and membrane, then wrap this – together with any pips – in a bag made from a clean square of muslin. This is vital in achieving a good set. Tie up the pips etc., in the muslin.
- Slice the peel thinly and place in a large saucepan along with the muslin bag. Then add lime juice, lemon juice and 1.5l (48fl oz) of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and gently simmer the mixture, uncovered, for 1 hour. The peel should be tender – never add the sugar until the peel is soft.
- Remove the muslin bag from the pan and, using tongs, carefully squeeze any liquid back into the pan. Discard the bag. Stir in the sugar and bring to the boil, stirring continuously to dissolve the sugar. Boil rapidly for 10 minutes or until setting point is reached.
- Allow the marmalade to cool for 20 minutes, then stir and spoon into sterilised jars. This stage of cooling will ensure even peel distribution. Seal and label when cool.
This recipe is a great one to use on toast in a morning, but is delicious slathered over brioche.