Aga Marmalade

I adore marmalade.  I really enjoy the bitterness of the orange peel in contrast with the sweet jam.  In fact, I just had to get up to make some toast so that I could have some marmalade because writing about it made my mouth water.  Well, between you and me, I made two pieces and spread the other one with lemon curd. I think it is a well established fact that I am greedy, and now there are crumbs on the laptop.

This is the time of year for making marmalade as it needs to be made from Seville oranges and these are only available from markets in January and early February. The Seville orange is incredibly bitter and not at all one that you want to eat freshly peeled. But when mixed with a ton of sugar they make one of the best things that can be spread on toast. The lady who runs my local market tells me every year of the tale of the woman who was naughtily mixing her bag of oranges between the normal and the Seville.  The Seville is usually a bit dearer and this lady thought she was going to get herself a good deal. The market owner thought it appropriate that she let her get on with it and have fun at home playing orange roulette.

Seville oranges freeze very well, so buy them when you see them and put them in the freezer for making marmalade throughout the year.  In fact, I used frozen for this recipe as I mentioned to my mum that I was off to get some Sevilles and she still had some in her freezer from last year so I used those up. Use them from frozen.

I used Mary Berry’s recipe from The Aga Book. In this recipe she recommends that you simmer fresh fruit for 2 hours and frozen fruit overnight.  This makes me feel better as I missed that instruction and was planning to simmer them for two hours but fell asleep watching telly and went straight to bed having forgotten all about my oranges. You see, things always work out in the end.

This recipe made loads, about 10 jars, so unless you have friends and family who are marmalade fiends too you may want to halve the recipe. You will find another marmalade recipe of mine here.

1½kg (3lb) Seville oranges
Juice of 2 lemons
3 kg (6lb) sugar
2 litres (4 pints) water


Put the whole oranges in the Aga preserving pan and squeeze in the lemon juice. Cover with the water and bring to the boil.  Once boiling, place the pan carefully in the simmering oven and leave to simmer until the oranges are tender (2 hours or so for fresh fruit, overnight for frozen). Remove the oranges and leave to cool. Once cool enough to handle cut them in half and scoop out all the pulp and pips and place these back into the water.  Bring to the boil and boil for 6 minutes.  Strain this liquid into a large bowl through a sieve and, using a spoon, force the pulp through the sieve.  It is this pulp which contains the pectin that will set the marmalade. Pour the liquid back into the preserving pan.

Cut the peel of the oranges as thinly or as thickly as you like your shreds to be and add these to the liquid, along with the sugar.  Bring the whole lot up to a rolling boil and boil until setting point is reached.  You can test for this with a sugar thermometer (105°c) or have a cold saucer ready and when a little is allowed to cool on this saucer it should wrinkle when pushed with your finger.

Allow the marmalade to cool a little (this will help with the distribution of peel through the jar rather than it all sitting at the top) and then pour into sterilised jars.

To sterilise your jars, wash in warm soapy water and rinse with hot water, then place on a baking tray in the simmering oven for twenty minutes.

May 2014: I have been requested to link to Aga Living as this is a recipe from Mary Berry’s Aga Book.

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40 thoughts on “Aga Marmalade”

  1. Such a beautiful colour Kath. I’ve never made marmalade, it seems like an awful faff, but I do like it (the homemade variety anyway). Luckily, my mother makes an annual batch on her aga, so I’m not deprived. Didn’t know they froze well either. Do you chop them before freezing or freeze whole?

    1. Thank you Choclette, I thought it might be a faff, but it really isn’t. It takes very little time to chop the peel when it’s so soft. But if your mum makes some then you have no need to bother. You just pop them straight in the freezer from the shop, no need for chopping. Then when you want to make marmalade you just place them straight into the water still frozen.

  2. Freeze Seville oranges – now that is interesting.
    I have to be honest marmalade is something my husband would appreciate more than me, I find marmalade a little too zingy, but I’ll be happy to let my eyes feast on the colours in the jar. Its like sunshine bursting to come out.

  3. You have been very busy in the kitchen lately and have put me to shame! The marmalade looks wonderful and I can just imagine the pan full of orange loveliness boiling away on the Aga.

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    1. Hi Louise,
      This is a good question that I don’t have the answer to I am afraid as my mum had weighed the oranges before freezing them. I have googled it and it seems that freezing the oranges won’t make a great deal of difference to their weight. So 300g of frozen fruit should roughly be the same as 300g of fresh. Hope this helps and I hope your marmalade works out well.

  6. Way after the fact, but there you go, it’s marmalade season. Two tips: First: If you like your marmalade really zingy, simmer a lemon with the oranges and shred the lemon peel along with the orange peel. Then you get these lovely lemon bursts in your marmalade. Second, there is a really good cake you can make with a seville orange and ground almonds. If I get around to it, I’ll put the recipe up on my site soon.

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  8. Anita E Molyneux

    Hello Kathy
    I have used this recipe from Mary Berry’s Aga Book for years …. It’s excellent!! When I visit my daughters family the first thing after the initial greeting is ‘ have you brought some marmalade? ‘ ! Adding some chopped stem ginger is even more delicious or replacing 4 ozs of white sugar with 4ozs of dark muscovado sugar is another option .
    Mislaid my recipe book so was delighted to find it on line today !

    1. Hi Jenny, I haven’t tried it in a pressure cooker, but I can’t see any reason for it not working if you are familiar with the timings etc for a pressure cooker. I don’t use one so can’t advise on how long it will take for the oranges to become tender.

    1. Apologies for the delay in replying, you dropped into my spam folder. You could simmer in a low electric oven. I would use an oven set at about 100 degrees centigrade and see how you get on, if it is not continuing to simmer turn the oven up a little.

  9. This is my go to recipe for making marmalade. I am now famed amongst my friends for the best marmalade ever. Thank you so much for posting it!

  10. Hi my family said it’s too bitter how do I take the bitterness out of the oranges and make it more sweeter ? Thanks

    1. Seville oranges are bitter. The best way of making it less bitter is to make another batch with normal oranges and towards the end of the cooking time add in your bitter batch and mix through and cook until everything is at the setting temperature. You will end up with a lot of marmalade and it might still taste a little bitter with the pieces of Seville in there. This is the only way I can think that will help reduce the bitterness. Adding more sugar will throw the recipe off too much.

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