Seville Oranges

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Availability: January

We supply Seville oranges from Spain for their short season - just a few weeks at the start of the year. Also known as bitter oranges, the fruit has a bumpy skin, thick pith and sour juice. Traditionally, the skin of the fruit is used for marmalade due to its aromatic essential oils and high pectin content - see our recipe below. Here are some other simple ideas for cooking with this unique citrus fruit …

SIX Ideas for Seville Oranges …

  1. Use the juice when making ceviche, the South American dish of raw seafood ‘cooked’ in citrus juice.

  2. Try the juice in a simple dressing for white fish and vegetables. Prepare in the same way as a vinaigrette, omitting the mustard and replacing the vinegar with the Seville orange juice.

  3. Prepare a classic ‘Duck à l’orange’ with the fruit - the complex flavours of Seville oranges are absolutely ideal for this dish.

  4. Candy the rind, using any leftover sugar syrup as a drench for sponge cakes.

  5. Use the juice and zest in a Spanish fish soup called ‘Caldillo de Perro’. You’ll find the full recipe online if you do a quick search.

  6. Don’t forget that any surplus fruit can also be frozen - so you can stretch their short season.

RECIPE FOR SEVILLE ORANGE MARMALADE

What’s the difference between a jam and a marmalade? Marmalades are made from fruit with a rind, such as our wonderful Seville oranges. If re-using old jars, sterilise first and note that metal or plastic-lined lids work fine. This recipe will fill around 6 standard-sized jars and is best done over two days. You will also need a sieve, a 20cm square of muslin and a large, heavy-based pan or preserving pan.

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1 kilo Seville oranges

1 lemon

2.5 litres water

2 kilos granulated sugar

Take a large bowl. Measure in 2.5 litres of water. Flick off any stalk ends on the oranges and cut in half. Holding the sieve over the bowl, squeeze the juice into the water. Put any pips and loose pith in the muslin square, tie into a bundle, then drop this into the bowl. Cut the halved oranges into shreds - the thickness you prefer - and add these, too. Cover and leave overnight.

The next day, pour the whole lot into a heavy-based saucepan or preserving pan. Bring to a simmer. You are aiming to soften the skin - this takes up to 2 hours for thick shreds, but taste as you go. When done, carefully fish out the muslin bag and pop in a bowl to cool down.

Put a couple of small plates in the freezer - this is for testing the marmalade later. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the pan. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the muslin bag and scrape the jelly-like substance (pectin) into the pan and give it a stir.

Add the sugar. Over a moderate heat, stir until the sugar has totally dissolved. Then turn up the heat and boil the marmalade rapidly.

You are aiming to stop the boiling process at the ‘setting point’ - this is when the marmalade thickens up from the pectin in the fruit. This can take anything from 15 to 40 minutes or more. So it’s vital to test as you go. Take it off the heat after 15 minutes and put a teaspoon of the marmalade onto a chilled plate. Put it back in the freezer for 2 minutes to cool. Then give it a prod - you need the marmalade to form a skin that wrinkles and holds this shape. If it’s not ready, return to the boil, give it another 5 minutes then test again until done.

When the marmalade is ready, leave to cool for 15 minutes then use the ladle or a wide funnel to pour into the jars. (Ideally, warm them first in the oven). Seal with the lid, cool, label and store.