It’s January and once again Seville Oranges can be found here in the UK. Because of their intensely sharp bitterness Seville Oranges are highly prized and the best to use when making homemade marmalade. However they are only usually available in London during the months of January and February.
Originally from SE Asia, Seville oranges (Citrus x aurantium) are thought to have been brought to Europe by the Persians. They are grown in the Andalusia region of southern Spain but mainly for the export market. The trees, which adorn the pavements of many streets in the towns, are not grown for their fruit, but instead for the heady aroma of the blossom (azahar) in spring and relief from the heat in summer. As well as being the ideal fruit for marmalade it also forms the base of liqueurs such a Cointreau and Grand Marnier. In addition, the blossom is used for aromatherapy and perfumes and the leaves for medicinal purposes.
Every year I make a pilgrimage to the Chegworth Valley stall in Borough Market to buy my oranges. Although some supermarkets now stock the fruit, this stall is still one the cheapest places to buy them. Chegworth Valley is a family run business operating from their farm in Kent and has been established at Borough Market for many years.
When buying Seville oranges, the rougher the skins the better. The fruit is organic and unwaxed and therefore has a limited life span (they lose their moisture content very quickly and become dry and unusable) but if you don’t want to use them all straight away they can be frozen whole. For many years at lot of our local and imported fruit has been coated with wax to extend the shelf-life. When I did my level 2 Horticultural course at Greenwich Skills Centre (Hadlow College) we visited an orchard in Kent. I was amazed to hear that Bramley Apples could be kept in a cold storeroom for up to 9 months before being shipped to the supermarkets as they had been coated with wax.
You can view Delia’s recipe here: Delia’s Traditional Seville Orange Marmalade or watch her online video here ……
Delia explains that this is sheer luxury, the unique concentrated citrus flavour of marmalade, made with very special oranges from Seville in Spain, can only be achieved when you make it at home. Delia shows in detail the equipment required to make marmalade and a step-by-step guide to making Traditional Seville Orange Marmalade.