Seville Orange Marmalade – It’s January and once again Seville Oranges can be found here in the UK. Seville oranges are the best to use when making marmalade, because they are intensely sharp and bitter. 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. Grown in the Andalusia region of southern Spain, the trees adorn many streets in the towns. However, the trees are not grown for their fruit but instead to give shade during the intense heat of the summer months and the heady aroma of the blossom (azahar) in spring. The fruit itself is mainly for the export market.
Seville oranges as well as being the ideal fruit for marmalade also form the base of liqueurs such a Cointreau and Grand Marnier. The highly scented blossom is used for aromatherapy and perfumes and the leaves for medicinal purposes.
Every year I buy my Seville oranges from the Chegworth Valley stall in Borough Market . Although some supermarkets now stock the fruit, this stall is still one the cheapest places to buy them. They are a family run business operating from their farm in Kent.
When buying Seville oranges, the rougher the skins the better. Seville oranges are organic and unwaxed and therefore have a limited life span. The fruit loses its moisture content very quickly and becomes dry and unusable. If you don’t want to use the oranges straight away you can freeze them.
The fruit that we buy at our local supermarket it 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. Bramley Apples were kept in a cold storeroom for up to 9 months before being shipped to the supermarkets.
I bought 3 kilos of Seville Oranges and made a total 16 jars of marmalade. Half of them were flavoured with Cointreau and the others with Calvados. I also made two jars of orange and lime curd.
You can view Delia’s recipe here: Delia’s Traditional Seville Orange Marmalade or watch her online video here ……