During lockdown I’m less busy than normal so I have started making marmalade. It’s a lot of fun. Choose small oranges, lemons, grapefruit, limes…whatever you find. The rule of thumb is to use the same quantity of fruit to granulated sugar.

You can use special jam making sugar with pectin added but I prefer the fresher taste you get without this.

Instead I save pips and used lemons in the freezer and add them in a muslin bag to get as much pectin in the boiling as I can to get an easier set.

Valvona & Crolla Citrus Fruit Marmalade


750g Seville or Sicilian Tarocco blood oranges, limes or grapefruit.

1 unwaxed lemon

1.5 litres cold water

1.5 kilos granulated sugar

A handful of saved lemon rind and pips.

4-5 x 450g sterilised jam jars, waxed circles, some muslin or a scrap of clean material, a jam thermometer if you have one.



Wash the fruit in hot soapy water and scrub the skins to get rid of any wax. Rinse.

Put the whole fruits in a large pot with 1.5 kilos of water.

Simmer for an hour and a half until the skins are easily pierced with a skewer.

Leave to cool.

Remove the fruits into a bowl keeping the water in the pot.

Cut the fruits into strips, keeping any pips aside, adding everything else, including any liquid, back into the pot.

Add the pips, old rind etc to the small muslin bag, secure with string and add.

Warm the sugar on a low oven, (140C/Gas 1) for 10 minutes.

Add carefully to the pot.

Warm the marmalade slowly, stirring with a long wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar completely.

Only then, bring to a hard-rolling boil for 10-15 minutes.

If you have a sugar thermometer the temperature should reach 244C.

Put a few saucers in the freezer. After 12 minutes boiling, take a teaspoon of marmalade and lay it on the cold plate. Put it back in the freezer and after a few minutes check.

If the marmalade wrinkles when you push your finger through it, you know you have reached a set.

You can take the marmalade off and on the heat during this process so you can keep checking. Be careful not to burn it.

If the marmalade really does not set, let it cool, start the heating process again adding some pectin according to the instructions on the product and you’ll get the set!

Pour into sterilised jars to almost full, cover with a wax disk and allow to cool before sealing with a lid.

Add the ingredients and date on a label.

Home-made preserves are always a welcome gift!

Mary Contini is an author and broadcaster and director of Valvona & Crolla. Easy Peasy: Real Cooking for Kids by Mary Contini and Pru Irvine is out now

Valvona & Crolla are trading online during this period. Visit www.valvonacrolla.co.uk or call 0131 556 6066