Seville bitter oranges

In season: Seville bitter oranges

Tuesday’s arrival of in-season Seville bitter oranges in the farm shop indicates that it is time to start marmalade making.

The oranges are grown organically on the Ave Maria farm in the heart of Spain’s bitter orange growing region, where the orchards date back to the late 19th century and the increasing British appetite for marmalade.

Although they are too sharp to eat raw, they can be transformed into one of the world’s finest preserves with the simple addition of sugar, lemon and heat.

We wholly appreciate the farm’s attention to the health of their soil and their organic growing methods – both of which produce a special flavour, aroma and purity in the fruit. This month’s recipe is straight from the growers at Ave Maria – who better to advise on the perfect marmalade making approach?

Seville Bitter Oranges Marmalade Recipe

(Produces approx. 6.5lbs of marmalade)


1.5 pounds Seville oranges

4 pints of water

Juice of 1 lemon

Sugar (1lb per pint of juice)


Wash the fruit and cut the oranges in half. Squeeze out the juice and the pips.

Tie the pips in a muslin bag. Cut the peel into shreds.

Put the pip bag into a bowl with the orange and lemon juice, water and peel.

Cover the bowl and leave to soak for 24-48 hours.

Transfer the mixture to a pan and cook gently until the peel is soft (approx 1.5 hours).

Remove the bag of pips and squeeze gently. Take the pan from the heat and add 1lb of sugar for every pint and stir until dissolved.

Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly until setting point* is reached.

Spoon into sterilised jars.

*Setting point test: spoon a little marmalade onto a cold plate, allow to cool, push gently at the edge and if wrinkles form it is at setting point.

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