Saturday, 6 February 2010

orange & cardamom marmalade recipe

During our mammoth kitchen clear-out, I felt it my duty to venture right to the back of (nearly) every cupboard and the fridges to investigate the contents.  Right at the very back of the little fridge snuggled a jar with the merest scrapings of its' contents remaining inside.  This is a really bad habit of mine.  When I am totally in love with a food, I can never bring myself to finish it, in case I forget it, or I am craving the flavour one day.  I am not entirely sure of the reason but I know that it reflects an element of my personality that a psych would probably make a mountain out of!

orange & cardamom marmalade on toast 2a
The jar concerned bears a black lid and label with contents almost as dark, and is the remnants of our last jar of Kush Cuisine's Orange & Mango Marmalade with Cardamom.  When we used to sell at farmers markets in London we would see them at the Blackheath market.  I say we, but in fact my alternate Sundays never coincided with them, and it was my husband who attended on those days whilst I was working back in the bakery.  And so it was him who came home with this delicious thick marmalade studded with deeply perfumed crunchy cardamom seeds.  I love it, and having given up the markets, have had to ration myself to the occassional serving in order to make the jar last longer.  And then one day there was one last serving left in the jar and it was pushed further to the back of the fridge to save rather than actually finishing it.

Today though, I made rice flour drop scones for breakfast and feasted on them with the last of this delicious marmalade, safe in the knowledge that the citrussy smell wafting through our kitchen was heralding the creation of my first ever batch of marmalade, flavoured with cardamom in deference to Kush's masterpiece.

If you ever find yourself at a farmers market in London, do check out Kush and grab a jar of their delicious marmalade ... alternatively, of course you could have a go at this recipe and see how your own version matches up!

cardamom seeds, pods & seville orange 1a
I have based my recipe and method on a combination of this recipe on Delia's site here and a recipe from The Times here, have a look (and you will be able to see how my impatience changed the methods!)  This can be  a bit time-consuming to make and you need to plan in advance.  Obviously getting your Seville oranges is the first mission as they are only in season in January and February.  If you can lay your hands on some, but don't have time to use them, stick them in the freezer and you will be able to make the marmalade whenever you fancy.

Seville bitter orange marmalade infused with cardamom


  • 1.5kg seville oranges
  • 10g black cardamom seeds (after podding)
  • 2kg granulated sugar
  • 2.2l water

  • 2 large pans with a lid & some foil, 1 x muslin square (I am using a new baby square), big sieve & bowl, jam thermometer or a few chilled saucers, 6-7 x 500g jars with lids & waxed paper to seal.
  1. Wash the oranges and scrub with a bit of washing up liquid if they are coated in a shiny layer of wax.
  2. Place in the large pan and fill up with water
  3. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer. Seal the top of the pan with a piece of foil and then place the lid over.
  4. Simmer at a very low temperature until the oranges are softened by a combination of the steam and hot, hot water - this took about 2 hours for me.
  5. Whilst the oranges simmer, de-seed the green cardamom pods by toasting the whole pods gently in a frying pan until they swelled up in  the heat, open the pods with your finger nail or the tip of a sharp knife and scrape out the seeds.  There is no denying this is tedious work so if you can find good quality ready-seeded black cardamom seeds, I suggest you use them!
  6. Leave the oranges to sit in the water until cool enough to handle (retain the water afterwards).
  7. Place the sieve over a big bowl.  Slice each orange in half, using a spoon scrape out the pith, pips and inners of each orange half into the sieve.
  8. Add all the orange inners to the water your cooked your oranges in and bring this to a rolling boil to reduce by half in about 20 minutes.
  9. Whilst this is boiling, warm your sugar either by placing the sealed bags on your radiator (my lazy method) or sprinkling the sugar into a couple of baking trays and placing in a low oven at about 100°C for 10-15 minutes.
  10. Slice your orange skins into thick or thin strips - depending on what you prefer in your marmalade.  For me this is short thick chunks (though thin slivers are much more photogenic of course!).
  11. Once the twenty minutes is up and the orange liquid is reduced by half, place the sieve over your second pan and drain the cooked orange liquid into the clean pan.  Scrape through the sieve with a big spoon to extract as much of the juices and goodness into the pan below.
  12. Add the orange peel to the pan of juices along with the cardamom seeds.  Bring this to the boil and slowly add the sugar stirring constantly to ensure it dissolves quickly.
  13. Once the sugar has dissolved turn up the heat and boil rapidly for 10-15 minutes.Whilst this is happening, wash your jars and lids then sterilise in the oven at 150°C for 15 minutes.
  14. Check the setting point of the marmalade - if you have a sugar thermometer you are looking for the temperature to reach 106°C (220°F).  If you don't have a sugar thermometer grab a chilled saucer and scoop out a spoonful of the syrupy dark juices onto the saucer.  Leave to sit for a minute or two then tilt the saucer from side to side.  If the liquid is set, the skin will stop the marmalade running across the saucer as you tilt.  If not, the liquid will run and needs to boil for another 10 minutes or so.
  15. Repeat the test until the marmalade is ready and once setting point has been reached, take the pan off the heat and leave to sit for half an hour to cool a little.
  16. Ladle the cooled marmalade into your cooled sterilised jars and place a piece of waxed paper over the top before placing a lid on each jar.
Notes - I found that the oranges were a bit over cooked - when I came to remove the pith and inners the skin fell apart making the whole process very messy.  This also made it harder to cut the skin into even shreds so I ended up using a pair of scissors and sandwiching several pieces together to cut..  In future I would only boil for an hour, then leave to cool for a maximum of 2 hours and hopefully this will do the trick.


  1. Sounds like an interesting combination. I used to make my own marmalade and it is not too much trouble, but right now I am time poor, so even cooking and baking is a struggle.

  2. Sounds fabulous but I'm the only one who really eats marmalade here so a whole batch would last for ever. I tried your garlic from a few posts back and it's great.

  3. That looks truly fabulous.... I will be having a few days off soon so I might just try this! Great post!

  4. I make a batch of orange marmalade every year and your own list of ingredients is so similar to my own. Next year I may have to try making a small quantity of this marmalade using the cardamom seeds to see how different it tastes :) How much flavour does the cardamom add?

  5. Janice, I know what you mean about time poor. It is taking very diligent organisation to keep posts coming at present!

    Esther, I am really glad that you liked the garlic, it is a great recipe isn't it? I will be adding a few recipes containing marmalade in the next few weeks - I too am the only one at home who eats it.

    Giles, cardamom is quite a distinctive flavour so you do get a hint of it in the marmalade. If you bite on a seed you will get a strong medicinal almost astringent hit in your mouth balanced against the delicious aroma in your nose. I really like this against the bitter marmalade, but it is personal taste. I know some people really don't like cardamom seeds in curries either.

    By the way, as with any flavouring in a jam or marmalade, don't add this until you have taken the pan off the heat and it has stopped bubbling. This will ensure that the spice or flavour doesn't boil away in the heat.

  6. Hi
    Just to check - do you mean seeds from 10 cardamoms? - 10 seeds seems like very little - but seeds from 10 cardamoms could be a lot!
    I've got some end of season bargain sevilles in the freezer so I'm keen to try something a bit different.

  7. Sorry just read it properly 10g not 10 seeds - feeling silly now!