In My Marmalade Kitchen


Sevilles! Looking at these orange beauties, I found myself humming Thin Lizzie’s 1976 hit song, The Boys are Back in Town. It briefly crossed my mind that I should be hearing Spanish guitar or clicking castanets of the flamenco dancer instead of classic rock. But, after a second or two of consideration, I reasoned that since the Seville oranges are back in town and it seems an appropriate tune to hum. Whatever the musical accompaniment, there is no doubt about it: it’s marmalade time.


According to my supermarket’s monthly magazine, there is a “frenzy” of marmalade making in kitchens throughout Britain. I’m not sure the authors of that bit of prose thought of it as hyperbole – or perhaps they just didn’t understand the meaning of frenzy. The picture the magazine painted had my (admittedly over-active) imagination conjuring up all sorts of absurd images of uncontrollable, wild cooks, eyes blazoning with intense concentration, stirring up cauldrons of marmalade surrounded by mounds of Seville oranges. A bit like Macbeth’s witches on the heath.


Compared to that image, the Seville-induced excitement in my kitchen has been rather tame. But, I got to play with my new heavy-bottomed stainless steel Kilner jam pan. The pan – looking suspiciously like a cauldron – is made by the British company, established in 1842, that specializes in preserving equipment. The researcher in me was intrigued to discover that it was the Yorkshire based Kilner company that produced the first glass preserving jars with self sealing lids, pre-dating the earliest patented American Mason jar by 16 years.


Not having any Kilner jars to preserve this year’s marmalade, I used my old American Mason jars – Ball & Kerr brands – that came with me on my move to this country. They are now labelled and satisfyingly line my pantry’s shelves. Although my marmalade is sweet with that distinctive bitter bite of the Seville and is chock full of lovely golden shreds of orange, I don’t think I’ll be entering it in the annual, international marmalade competition held in the heart of Cumbria’s beautiful Lake District at Dalemain Mansion in less than a month’s time. They take marmalade very seriously here!


An early crop that dovetails with the Seville and has particular significance in Yorkshire is rhubarb. Here in the rhubarb capital of Britain that means forced rhubarb from January to March. The combination of tender roasted rhubarb on a layer of Seville orange curd is a sweet delight in a fruit tart I made for an earlier post (Yorkshire Rhubarb Triangle). I also love Seville orange ice cream made from a recipe in Sam and Sam Clark’s second landmark book, Casa Moro, accompanied with a rhubarb compote.


A simple rhubarb-orange compote is made easily by placing rhubarb and sugar in a single layer in a shallow roasting tray. Roast in a moderate oven (350 degrees F.) for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. While still warm, blend in the Seville orange marmalade to the soft rhubarb and its juices. Serve cold with ice cream, yoghurt, panna cotta, a plain cake, or anything else that will complement the rhubarb and orange.

  • 1-1/2 lbs. tender forced rhubarb, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Seville orange marmalade

What a good way to celebrate both the new rhubarb crop and the annual marmalade season!


A monthly IMK (In My Kitchen) post. Check out the fabulous Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who lists all of us IMK bloggers, writing about what’s been happening in our kitchens each month. A chronological listing of my In My Kitchen blog posts can be found on a separate page (just click the link).


  1. Oh, I would LOVE that Kilner jam pot. Saw one the other day but so pricey. I’ve been wanting to make Seville Orange Marmalade for ages. And lucky you to have rhubarb already!


    • I shopped around and found my Kilner pot on for half the normal price. I really love it and can’t wait until jam making season in spring/summer to use it again. The forced rhubarb is really special!


  2. Oh what a beautifully orange marmalade kitchen you have – positively bursting with goodness. I almost cleared out the Seville oranges at our local supermarket but we’re using them for Marmalade Gin rather than marmalade. I often cook rhubarb with orange juice but hadn’t thought of using marmalade. Thanks for the tip.


  3. Delicious! Love your photos of the bitter sweet marmalade production, are you going to share your recipe too? Some trivia for you. The Kilner Company was started by an ancestor of that tall loud mouthed host of “Top Gear”.


    • Marmalade recipe straight out of Delia Smith cookbook – juice and shreds added to water with pips and pith in a muslin bag which is squeezed and discarded after cooking several hours & sugar added after that. The Dalemain web-site has a video showing a slightly different technique – halved oranges cooked in water, then shredded and sugar added. Interesting re. Kilner Company and Top Gear host – when we lived in Oxford, would often see him on the street as I believe he lived in a village nearby. Obviously, hadn’t made the connection to Kilner!


    • Hi Glenda, Thanks, the marmalade is lovely. I really feel lucky having found the Kilner jam pan on for a very decent price. I had a quick look on the internet and discovered the same pot on Australian ebay, although still quite pricey – possibly because it is an imported item. The pot is great and I found the measuring gauge on the inside particularly useful. I also discovered why the top angles in slightly – prevents the contents from boiling over. If you do a lot of preserving, it might be worth the investment.


  4. Wish i could find seville oranges over here… Their the best for marmalade!
    By the way… I’ve saved from lakeland website and e-magazine a recipe for a rhubarb and orange marmalade… And here i see your dish… I’m sure now it’s really a great combination! 🙂


    • Have you tried to make marmalade with melangolo? I know these sour oranges grow in Italy (and also in Greece where they are the oranges used in spoon sweets). Rhubarb and orange is a classic! The marmalade mixed with roasted forced rhubarb was delicious + a very pretty color!


  5. Ooh, I LOVE your big jam pan! It really does look like a cauldron! What gorgeous jeweled pots you’ve turned out! And the rhubarb looks fantastic – I’m always impressed when I see all red stems, as we only ever manage to grow green ones with a slightly reddish tinge!


    • Jam pot is spectacular. I was so lucky to find it at a reduced price on Glenda at Passion Fruit Garden asked about it as well. I told her that I saw the exact same pot on Australian eBay, but still a bit pricey. The rhubarb is brilliantly blush red because it is forced rhubarb – that is, the exposure to sunlight is restricted. Normally my outdoor rhubarb (variety called Victoria) is also mostly green, though I have my eye on a variety called ‘strawberry’ that is uniformly red all the way through. I just need to find a spot in an already crowded garden for it!


    • I know what you mean – I didn’t used to like marmalade, but then I never had homemade until I came to live in the UK. It is so much better than the store bought stuff which is thick and very very bitter. glad you could stop by In My Kitchen!


    • Luckily my husband and I like both marmalade and rhubarb. Marmite, however, is a different story! One love, one hate… Food preferences are so individual. Glad you could stop by In My Kitchen!


  6. Debi, pairing rhubarb with orange is something I’ve never done, but I WILL. What a wonderful idea! Your homemade marmalade looks lovely and now I’m hungry for toast — and humming “The Boys Are Back In Town.” 😉 Happy Valentine’s Day!


    • Orange and rhubarb is great. The Boys are Back in Town does stick in your mind – loops around relentlessly. 😉 Roasting rhubarb is also the way to go – no additional liquid involved means you concentrate the flavors and don’t watery stewed rhubarb.


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