Forgotten Dishes 6: Bilston Marmalade

Marmalade is hardly a forgotten dish, and there are endless recipes. However, I needed an excuse to publicise this one, the origins of which are shrouded in the mists of time and family history. It’s incredibly simple and we find it works very well. OK, OK, Mrs O. finds it works really well. As official taster, I think it’s delicious. Note it’s a smooth one, not chunky.


dscn6481As always, these can be varied according to taste and circumstances. The Mrs Oblique cooking method is an art, not a science. “Don’t fuss about it!” (Mrs O.)

8 Seville oranges

1 sweet orange, clementine or satsuma

18 cups water

16 cups sugar

Method: Again this is not exact.

Cut oranges in half. Squeeze out juice and remove pips. Keep the pips.


Chop orange peel into chunks.


Liquidise skins, with some water. Like this.


Boil the juice and liquidised skins with the rest of the water for 1/2 hour or until soft. Boil the pips for 10 minutes and keep.


Add sugar. Put pips and water through a sieve into the pan. (This produces the pectin, a natural setting agent.)


Boil until set. It gets very hot!




Test by putting a spoonful on a saucer and cooling. Needs tasting of course. WHEN COOL!

Sterilise jars with boiling water. Fill jars and seal tightly.


Footnotes: Despite what I have claimed to the contrary elsewhere, Seville oranges are not the same as poorman oranges: the latter are otherwise known as New Zealand grapefruit. My grandmother claimed that she “always put a sweet one in”. It does seem to add something. Originally I guess that the skins were minced; I know that there were butchers in the Bilston side of Mrs O’s family!

If anybody uses this recipe, please let us know. Of course hygiene is very important…. This was just going to be an outline of a family favourite. I don’t know how it turned into such an epic!


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