This is quite seriously one of the simplest, most basic recipes ever. I’d never made marmalade before last weekend – but with the Kodicek Clan rolling up with jars for days, all needing to be filled with “something” for their school fair…marmalade we did! We also pumpkin chutneyed (that recipe is floating around elsewhere on this site – it’s a cracker!). I was pleasantly surprised – I’m not a huge fan of the overly bitter marmalades made with the classic Seville oranges, but the beautiful sweet mandarins around at the moment seem to add an extra zest and lightness. So good on toasted sourdough! Added bonus of buying all mandarins from local honesty stall. I highly recommend having a go.
Makes about 2 .5 kg
12 whole sweet mandarins
4 lemons, juiced
Put the whole mandarins (yes, skin on) and lemon juice into a large pot big enough to hold them all and barely cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the mandarins are completely soft and just starting to break apart. Remove the mandarins from the pot (retain the liquid) and set about removing the seeds. While they are still hot, I do this by tearing them apart with 2 pair of small tongs and just lifting the seeds out – not a completely painful exercise but it does take a little patience. If seedless mandarins are an option – go there.
Discard the seeds and puree all the remaining mandarin pieces, skin and all; it doesnt need to be completely smooth – you will still see pieces of skin and flesh (as you do in marmalade).
Add the puree back to the water and take a complete measurement of the fruit and water mixture combined. You are now going to add exactly the same amount of sugar to this mixture – so if you have 1 litre of fruit/ water, then add 1kg of sugar .
Place the pot back on a medium-high heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time to dissolve the sugar. Keeping on a steady, constant boil, cook for about 20 minutes then do the setting point test. I use the ‘flake test’ (see below). Once setting point is reached, remove the marmalade from the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
Pour into hot sterilised jars and seal straight away.
The flake test
When you are close to setting point, take a tablespoon of the jam or marmalade with a metal spoon and leave it to cool a little. Now tilt the spoon on it’s side and pour the mixture onto a plate. If the marmalade drips in a solid sheet, it is ready. If it falls in drips then you are not quite there yet.