Monday, 21 January 2013

Making marmalade to competition standard - batch two/three results

This whole marmalade making thing is turning into a full season of 'Breaking Bad' (if you've never watched it please do though it has nothing to do with preserves!).

Batch two and three of the Seville orange marmalade results are in!...Same recipe as last time for batch one but last one was not quite right so batch two had to be better...batch two needed less liquid, less stirring, a better set...

People have been asking me what recipe I am using, I am following Vivien Lloyds recipes from her own book 'First Preserves' and she has a helpful video on her website that is worth a watch if you are making marmalade, the video gives an insight into the content of her marmalade book.

In other news...I've started to get 'marmalade forearm' slicing all this peel, trying to get it the same size and 'thin'...the shred for the Seville category in the national marmalade awards has to be 'thin' but what is thin enough? What is too thin? There are no guidelines I can see other than the thin reference...perish the thought of a judge finding the shred too thick in this category. My peel needs to be thinner and the same thinness! (thinner peel = more pectin = better set)
Anyway back to batch two...the results...well here they are...•sobs•

Yes this batch did not even make it into a (sterilised/pre warmed - new lid ready) jar! Such was the poor quality...on this ocassion the marmalade 'caught' the bottom of the pan and started to was all over bar the least the shred appeared 'thin'...if blackened!

I have my own theory as to why this happened...and this is backed up and confirmed by my husbands own analysis of the molecular structure or atoms or something like that. If I told you there was too little liquid and too much sugar we'd be on the right lines..sort of.

Batch three was better...and I had a Eureka moment with batch three, the theory fell into place and somehow it all began to make sense.

I have made notes on batches one and three, batch two wasn't worthy of a note. Can you see the difference between batches one and three? Less bubbles, more clarity, more goldenness? This is just the appearance, the taste is another matter as it seemed too sweet to me.
If you are making marmalade and like me trying to get it to competition standard here is an interesting link to an account in The Telegraph of last years national marmalade awards by Xanthe Clay. Gives an insight into the judging standards, burnt is not allowed!

For my next trick batch I'm making something thats just for us to eat at home, as I want to try something a little bit different...and I want to use some La Parfait jars sent to me to try out (as they are quite something).

And don't forget to link up at the bottom of one of my earlier posts, if you are having a go yourself, you can do that here.


  1. wow... nice effort, batch three (and batch two) look fantastic... how do they taste? Have you ever tried using blood orange or pink grapefruit... both amazing for marmalades... The Viking bought a bag of oranges from Morrisons yesterday that we just so incredibly tasty and sherbety that I made him go back and buy some more before they sell out... they were navels and would make amazing marmalade, i'm sure x

    1. Thanks Dom. Pink grapefruit is my favourite and I have made some a few days ago and will be writing about it soon.

  2. LOVELY! Really Sue, batch three is noticeably clearer and more vibrant! It's clearer too.....I am impressed with your stoicism,and I think you have now cracked it! LOVELY post too, and thanks for the awards link! Karen xxx PS: Get well soon you old Lancashire Hotpot!

  3. I think my marmalade looks more like your batch 1, not as clear as batch 3 but at least not burnt! It's going to have to do though I'm not going on a marathon marmalade journey and ending up with shredders arm! I did taste mine and it tastes great, not too sweet and absolutely zinging on your tongue with citrussyness, so I'm pretty pleased with that.

  4. Oh Sue , sorry about the burnt batch but think you have made up for it since. Love the colour of your marmalade and I did find the shredding exhausting so will make a smaller batch next time!

  5. I had similar experiences. My first batch look and tastes lovely but is slightly sloppy. The second batch caught on the bottom. It's more set and darker but doesn't taste so nice. Both jars made lovely chocolate and orange marmalade cakes following Nigella's recipe.


Please leave a comment...if you have tried one of my recipes I'd love feedback, and thank you for taking time to pop by to read my blog.

Susan x