Grapefruit, orange and apple marmalade with English Grandma


My Mum’s a great cook.  If I ever want to try something, nine times out of ten she’ll know: cakes, casseroles, weird Australian fruit cakes, Scotch eggs… you name it, she’ll have a recipe.

I’ve been wanting to make marmalade for ages, so when Hubby appeared back from the farm shop with a big bag of Seville oranges (in season now, folks!), it seemed a good time to kidnap her and force her to show me how to make it (not really, she was quite willing, honest).

I was really rather taken with the recipe for ‘Windfall Marmalade’ from the Hairy Bikers’ Mum Knows Best series, so this was the starting point for our marmalade, although we tinkered with it quite a lot.

First things first, then, you’ll need a few bits and bobs that you might not normally have, namely:

1.  A mahoosive saucepan or preserving pan

2. A large piece of muslin

3.  Lots of clean jam jars with well-fitting lids

4.  A jam thermometer (although you can do it the old fashioned way too)

5.  A set of wax discs, cellophane covers and rubber bands

6.  A clean pair of rubber gloves, or skin like teflon

7.  Time.  Set aside a good few hours.

So, to make our rather unusual combo, you’ll need:

2 grapefruits

6 Seville oranges

About 900g Bramley apples

3 litres water

2kg granulated sugar

Sterilising the jars:

 Sterilising the jars

Wash your jars in hot, soapy water.  Rinse well, then without touching the insides, stand them on a board and put them in a very low oven to dry thoroughly.

Preparing the fruit:

For the oranges and grapefruits:

Wash and rinse the fruit well.  Peel off all the rind – just press gently , don’t take the pith (haha), then cut it into fine shreds. 

Remove rind, not pith

We found that the oranges were firm enough to grate, which was much easier:

Grated orange rind

Now, with a sharp knife, cut away all the pith and remaining outer skins of the citrus fruits (keep these separate in a bowl as you’ll need them).  In the recipe it says chop the flesh roughly, but we found there was too much tough stuff left, especially with the oranges, and it was easier to run the knife down the edge of each individual segment and just pop it out, leaving the central ‘core’ surrounded by a fan of segmenty skin (not sure what the technical term is for that bit, probably ‘segmenting’ which is boring, if accurate).  If there are any large segments, chop them into two or three pieces:

Segment grapefruits small

For the apples:

Wash and rinse the fruit well.  Peel, core and chop, chucking all the cores, pips and skin etc in with the citrus pith and stuff.

Off to the hob:

Put the chopped/grated citrus rind into your huge pan with the flesh and chopped apples, and pour in the water:

 Add rind to pan

Now, take all the yucky bits: the apple and citrus peel, the pith, the cores etc, and tie them all up tightly in the square of muslin:

Wrap peelings in muslin

Add this gently in to the top of the pan.  DON’T ADD THE SUGAR YET! (as you can see, even my mahoosive pan was not really big enough and had to be carefully watched initially so that it didn’t boil over):


 So just simmer gently until the peel is tender (make sure you test it – if you add the sugar too early the peel will remain hard) and the liquid has reduced by about half.  Don’t be too impatient with this bit.  It took a good two hours:

Liquid reducing

Now, lift out the muslin bag and, wearing a pair of clean rubber gloves (or not if you have asbestos fingers), squeeze it to ensure you get all the liquid out.  Discard.

Now, having tested the peel, you can add the sugar and stir well until it’s dissolved.  Then it’s just a case of leaving the marmalade to boil away (don’t let it boil over – you want a rolling boil) until it reaches setting point.

Setting Point:


You can test this in a number of different ways, the easiest of which are:

1.  Do it my Mum’s way, which is to put a saucer in the fridge until cold, then put a teaspoon of marmalade on the saucer – it should wrinkle when pushed with your finger.

2.  Use a jam thermometer – the mixture should reach about 104.5 degrees C

Bottling and sealing:

Once the marmalade has set, leave it to cool for about 15 minutes, then pour into the warm jars.   Add a wax disc (wax side down), then lightly moisten a cellophane circle and stretch it over the rim of the jar (moistened side up).  Add a rubber band and a funky label.

Finished jars

And that’s it.  Easy.  Should you, however, still feel that you need the help of English Grandma in order to perfect your marmalade, I’m happy to announce that I rent her out at reasonable rates. 

Just saying.

34 replies
  1. Daily Spud
    Daily Spud says:

    I was just remarking to my own Ma last week, as she was sorting out her Seville oranges, that I have yet to make some marmalade of my own. The fact is that I’m generally kept supplied maramalade-wise by the Mammy – I particularly like one that she does with grapefruit, orange and lemon, though I’m liking the sound of a few apples in there too. One of these years I’ll make my own!

  2. Moira Kiely
    Moira Kiely says:

    What a gorgeous blog. I have just stumbled upon you and I’m so pleased to have done so. I know what I will be doing this Sat now, making your special marmalade recipe. My husband is a marmalade fiend so I look forward to surprising him with some jars, lovingly made by his wife. Ha ha, he will be quite shocked. Thank you and best regards Moira Kiely

  3. jennynib
    jennynib says:


    Swiddy has been dispatched to the Supermarché for Sevilles (alas, I remain sans Punto) and I have just the Mahoosive pot in mind! :D


    This time, I won’t do what I did last year – give away all my marmy in a flush of homespun generosity and end up eating bought stuff myself… :(

    • English Mum
      English Mum says:

      Haha I know what you mean. I’m zealously guarding my last couple of pots! Although I’m tempted to do what Pippa suggested and make some more in pretty pots for pressies xx

  4. Baino
    Baino says:

    Oh I meant to have a dig about the weird Australian fruit cakes. It’s true! The oldies boil fruit cake like a steamed pudding then finish it in the oven to give it a ‘crisp’ outer. Probably a symptom of the oven being too hot to have on in the summer!

  5. Baino
    Baino says:

    My daughter said to me tonight with the prospect of an 8-4 shift on the horizon “well, now that you’ll be getting home before 7pm, perhaps we can have some decent home cooked meals!” After I slapped her to Tuesday, I warned her not to expect me to spend my evenings making jams and jellies! (Not that I wouldn’t want to, I just don’t care much for marmalade!) Yours looks lovely.

    • English Mum
      English Mum says:

      The little monkey!! Do you know what, Baino, I’m not that struck on marmalade either – I prefer jam, but I do quite like this one, I think it’s the apple – makes for a better texture.

  6. Don't Bug Me!
    Don't Bug Me! says:

    I have to admit to a little cheat when I make marmalade – I use liquid pectin to make mine set. It is so much easier than having to boil all the liquid with all the pith etc and then making sure you get the right temperature when doing the rolling boil. My Mum uses the same saucer method as yours – it was all a bit hit and miss and we often ended up with the kind of marmalade that ran down your arm if you weren’t concentrating on keeping the toast level. I also use lids that seal so I don’t have to bother with the wax discs. What ever you do, making marmalade is waaaaay more time consuming than making jam, but it is sooooo much better than the shop bought stuff.

    • English Mum
      English Mum says:

      It is, isn’t it. I was quite surprised what good fun it was, though. I’m with you on the setting thing – I kept ringing her up after she’s left going ‘it’s not setting! it’s not setting!’ LOL


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  1. […] of English Mum shared her mum’s recipe for marmalade, and it had me salivating over the possibility of making marmalade (which I’ve never done) […]

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