Id never tried bergamot oranges before, to be honest I hadn’t ever seen them for sale. I do enjoy a new discovery, so when I saw them I had to get some! Its marmalade time so that was what my bergamot oranges were destined for. Once Id tasted one, however, it was apparent that was all I could use them for! They look pretty unremarkable, like unripe oranges, although any similarity to oranges ends there, I was taken aback at how bitter they are! I can be found nibbling at the lemon in my drink but the bitterness of bergamots was something else! They have a just shy of harsh floral smell, apparently bergamots are what gives Earl Grey tea its distinctive aroma.
Coincidentally the day I bought my oranges someone tweeted this video about making marmalade by Jane Hassell-McCosh, the founder of the Worlds Original Marmalade awards. (Don’t you just love twitter!) It’s a lovely video, shot in Jane’s kitchen where she talks you through making marmalade in a way that I hadn’t tried before. I have never found a recipe for marmalade that I’ve stuck with. Unlike making jam, marmalade requires a bit more preparation, some recipes have you starting 2-3 days before! Well that doesn’t suit my impatient nature! Jane’s method was quicker and avoided using muslin to tie up pips and pith. Her easy guidance persuaded me to try making marmalade her way.
In the video Jane uses a mix of oranges, lemons and grapefruit. She has an easy method of measuring the cooked fruit to sugar at a rate of 1 pint of fruit to 1 lb of sugar. This suited me as I was making a very small batch. Making marmalade this way was really easy and very successful! It set really easily, always a worry when making marmalade! That sour, bitter flavour accompanied by the heavy floral fragrance made me worry what the marmalade would taste like so at the last moment I threw a regular orange in with it! I also added some extra sugar. I was glad I added that orange in with my bergamots, it added a familiar taste to an otherwise very different tasting marmalade. When trying this marmalade the first taste is just like marmalade made with Seville oranges then you bite into a piece of bergamot peel and you get a flowery, almost soapy hit (but not in a horrible way!) my description may sound unfavourable but that is not the case, the combination of sweet, sour, and floral all work well together to make a very different marmalade. I really like it and wish Id been brave enough to make a larger batch. I got a jar and a half with my small batch, this recipe could easily be doubled.
Bergamot Orange Marmalade (adapted from Jane’s marmalade recipe)
- 2 bergamot oranges
- 1 medium-sized orange
- Approx 1/2 lb 225 grams granulated cane sugar (I used unrefined sugar) plus another 2 oz/50 grams sugar
The sugar needed may vary according to how much fruit pulp you measure.
- Cut each orange in half and place in a large pan. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 hours, keep checking and add more water if necessary to avoid boiling dry.
- Remove the oranges from the water and when cool enough to handle remove all the pips. Reserve 100 mls/3 oz of the boiling liquid for later.
- Chop the softened peel to the thickness you prefer, as the peel is so strongly flavoured I would recommend thin cut. Put all of the peel, juice and fruit into a measuring jug. For each 1 pint of fruit you have measure out the same amount of sugar. So for each 1 pint of fruit you need 1 lb of sugar. The 3 oranges in my recipe gave me 1/2 pint of fruit so I needed 1/2 lb of sugar
- Put the sugar into an oven tray and warm in the oven for 10 minutes at 170 c, 325 f. gas 3. (You can add your clean jars to the oven at the same time to sterilise.)
- Tip the fruit, warmed sugar and 100 ml/ 3 oz reserved boiling liquid into your jam pan, stir well and bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes test for setting. See here for setting tips if unsure. My marmalade was ready at this stage.
- If set pour the marmalade into your prepared sterilised jars and seal.
As I messed with the sugar ratio and the recipe resulted in such a small amount I do not recommend this for canning.