Original Bitter oranges marmalade

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Original Bitter oranges marmalade

Production: 10 – 1/2 pint  Jars
Preparation: 30 Minutes
Rest time: 6 Hours
Cooking: 5 Hours
Canning (boilling bath): 10 Minutes minutes in a boilling water bath

It is again this time of the year where we prepares the most “British” of sweets, the world-famous bitter orange marmalade.

The core product: the bitter Seville orange, show up on the markets in the last weeks of January and disappears from the shelves 15 or 20 days later. We must therefore act quickly in order to build up some stock for the year because there is no real equivalent to the special taste of this type of sour orange. It is originally from Seville but is now produce in a few other places (like the United States). This fruit unique sour flavor gives English orange marmalade their characteristic taste.

In all preparations of marmalade, brushing the fruit is a crucial step. As the bark is incorporated in the finished product, it is essential that all traces of chemicals be removed before cooking it.

For our first recipe of the season (2 more will follow) we used fruits from Florida as Seville oranges were not yet arrived at our supplier. (We where a little hesitant because the US productions are sometime of lesser quality in addition to being full of pesticides and chemical fertilizers). But we must recognize that these oranges were excellent and perfect for our recipe.

So we start with a classic and recognized recipe: the one from Delia Smith. It is a proven recipe that we used for several years and produces a superb marmalade worthy of the greatest English tables.

The preparation is done over two days. It begins with a first cooking of the whole fruits that are poached in water prior to being hollowed out for the second stage. The most difficult is the extraction of pectin from the seeds, it is quite simple but requires some real efforts. As for the second cooking stage, it is very similar to that of a jam and only requires a little attention to be certain to reach the gel point (220F-105C) without overcooking the preparation.

The ideal approach, we believe, is to undertake the first stage in the evening and finish the recipe the next morning.
Classic Bitter orange marmalade
For us this initial production will serve as an yardstick for evaluating the other recipes we’ll prepare and test using the same basic products.

Bitter Oranges (Seville) – [2 1/4 lbs.]  (1 Kg.)
Lemon – [1]
Water – [8 cups]  (2 L.)
White Sugar – [4 lbs.]  (1,8 K.)

1- Scrub the oranges and the lemon in warm water.
2- Place the whole fruits in a saucepan and add the water.
3- Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer.
4- Cover the pot and cover with aluminum foil.
5- Simmer over low heat for 3 hours.
6- Remove the fruit and let cool on the counter. Cover the saucepan with the cooking juices and set aside.
7- When fruits are cooled, cut them in half and remove the pulp and pits.
8- Keep the orange peel and discard the lemon. Set aside in a cool place.
9- Place the pulp and pits in a small saucepan with a little cooking liquid and simmer over low heat 10 minutes.
10- Pour the mixture through a fine strainer over a bowl. Cover and allow to drain for 6 hours.
11- Pour the contents of the colander in a clean cloth or a muslin bag and crush it well to extract all the juice possible. Add contents of bowl to the large saucepan.
12- Cut the orange peel into julienne strips (to taste) and add to pot.
13- Add the sugar and heat gently, stirring constantly, to fully dissolve the sugar.
14- Bring to low heat and cook uncovered about 3 hours (until it reach a temperature of 220F-105C).
15- Fill jars, close them well and treat them for conservation.

– – – Home Canning process – – –
10 Minutes minutes in a boilling water bath


  1. Comment by Dave at eRecipeCards:

    Hmmm… bitter oranges. Not sure if I have ever seen these. need to start the hunt as I LOVE Orange marmalade and would like to give this a try!

    Wonderful photos, Thanks for sharing, eRecipeCards.com

  2. Comment by Francois:

    Hi Dave and thanks for the comment.

    Bitter Oranges, are also know as SOUR oranges or Seville oranges. Or “oranges amères” in french.
    They are usually available from late Jan, to mid-Feb

    PS: Some stores will simply label them : marmalade organges