Guest Blog – Easy Mandarin Marmalade

Guest blogger, Vicki Stebbins, shares her easy mandarin marmalade below.

2kg Mandarins – I used Afourer mandarins (were from Aldi on special at the time).
1 Lemon
9 cups Sugar

Afourer mandarin

I love the Afourer as they are very dark in colour, and have no seeds. So I top and tail and then half them to load into the processor standing up so you get slices not rings.

mandarin in food processor

I’m lazy I find it so easy to slice up the mandarins (I do the same with navel oranges) with the food processor.

Measuring in Pyrex jugThen I measure out how many cups, I use a 4 cup Pyrex jug, it’s not exact but I fill it up. From the two kg I got 9 cups of pulp.

Adding lemon

Then I add a lemon. As the lemon had seeds and I never seem to get them all I juiced the lemon and then finely sliced the skin and tossed it in.

In a stock pot with water added

I put it into a stock pot, deep enough that I’ll be able to stir it tomorrow and not spill out the marmalade. When it’s in the stock pot I add 9 cups of cold water, pop the lid on and leave until tomorrow.

Bringing to a boil

Next morning bring to a boil, and then turn down and simmer for one hour until the citrus is tender.

Muscovado sugar

Then add 9 cups of sugar. I decided to substitute about 85g of white sugar for Muscovado to give it a dark rich colour. This is optional.

Stir to dissolve sugar

Stir to dissolve the sugar and then bring back up to a hard boil.

hard boiling

Hard boil for 40 mins or until the setting point is reached. Give a good stir every so often so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot and you can see how it’s going

Washing jars

Sterilise your jars. I wash in hot soapy water, rinse in hot water and the place upside down in the oven on the lowest setting (appox 115/120 Celsius) until dry, or you’re ready to fill with marmalade.

Make sure you have a good cloth to take the jar from the oven and don’t place on the cold sink, put on a wooden bench/board or place a tea towel on the bench, the hot on cold may crack your jars.

Other items - Sterilised

Sterilise lids and other equipment. Here’s my lids, stick thing (white) if needed to poke in the marmalade to remove bubbles, lid ‘picker upper’ (blue) it’s got a magnet and you can pick up the lids in boiling water without touching the inside of the lid.

And a funnel, make sure the funnel fits into the jar and is wide enough for the marmalade to fall through easily.

Jam setting on plate

To test setting point, place a small plate into the freezer, when you think the marmalade is set take it off the stove and take the plate from the freezer, place a small amount on the plate and return to the freezer for one minute.

The marmalade shouldn’t run easily down the plate and should crinkle a bit when pushed with your finger.

Now I will say here I’m a terrible judge so I get uneven results with differing batches, but with more experience that should be better.

Cleaning rims of jars

Once the setting point is reached remove from the stove and ladle into jars. I use a new Chux dampened with very hot water to rub the rims of the jars to ensure there is no jam on the rim as this can affect the seal. DO NOT allow the Chux or your finger into the marmalade.

Jam bottled in jars

All bottled and now to wait and hear the popping of them sealing, always a wonderful sound when you bottle.

I leave to cool and the next day when cold, I wash the bottles in hot soapy water and dry with a tea towel. I don’t immerse in water just hold and wash thoroughly to remove any sticky on the jar.

There’s nothing worse than a sticky jar, it attracts ants and other insects and if you’re selling your jam, as soon as someone feels something sticky they think something is wrong.


Leftover jam

Usually there’s a bit over which I put in a spare jar and put in the fridge when cooled. Next morning my test is to turn the jar upside down and try it on toast (the big test).

This was from my previous batch and is what I aim for, this batch was a little more runny but still tasted great and was good on toast.

I don’t mind it a bit soft, because I like to use marmalade for cakes (put some in the bottom of a lined tin, pour on batter and cook, and you have an upside down marmalade cake) or over chicken when cooking or over chicken or pork as a sauce.

Vicki Stebbins
Tabulam CWA



Jam Drops and Marble Cake

Judging at the very first Land Cookery competition - 1949

Judging at the very first Land Cookery competition – 1949

What does everyone think of when they hear CWA? Surely, not just Tea and Scones! Although  a cup of tea and a tasty treat are indeed a long standing tradition of the Association  and have been used very effectively not just to sit and chat over, but to attract attention, entice people to join and as always to fundraise. Tea and scones have carried us a long way!

In 1949 the Association, in conjunction with the Land Newspaper, started The Land Cookery Contest as a means to raise funds for the Seaside Homes Appeal (respite services for people in the country to visit the ocean). In the first year alone they raised the astonishing amount of almost £1000 and created a celebration of culinary skills during a period where cooking was seen only as a necessary skill to feed the hungry hordes around you.

The Land Cookery Contest today has women, children and even the odd man (!) competing in different categories at branch, group then state level. Each year a schedule of these competition categories is released and in the early days of the competition you could simply use your own favourite recipe and tin to enter with, life used to be so much simpler… Over time recipes were provided and strict rules adhered to about which pan or tin was allowed and to how they are to be judged.

The Land Cookery Contest is still running today and it is not just for members, or adults. You and/or your children can also compete!  If you think you’re a dab hand in the kitchen and would like to test your skills against the best…see the schedule here and find your local branch here. If your skills are somewhat short of what you would like, they’ll help you bring them up to prize winning standard!

Some recipes have remained on the schedule for years with no alteration to ingredients or cooking style. Over the last 60 years we have compiled these award winning recipes and only last year released them in ‘Jam Drops and Marble Cakes’ (available here for any bakers with a love of history, tradition and who want the winning recipes, or those, like me, who just don’t have enough cook books!). While you’re waiting for it to arrive you can practise on a title recipe, one of my favourites – the marble cake.

It goes just as well with that cup of tea! YUM!

MARBLE CAKE                                                                                                      

First Judged in 1977 – makes 1 x 20cm round cake


220g butter, softened                              150g self-raising flour, well sifted

220g caster sugar                                     185 ml milk at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla essence                     1 tablespoon cocoa powder

3 eggs                                                          Pink food colouring

150g plain flour, well sifted                      Pale pink icing, to serve

1. Preheat oven to moderate (180°C/350°F/Gas 4). Grease a deep 20 cm round cake tin and line base with baking paper.

2. Cream butter and sugar very well, add vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the well sifted flours alternately with the milk.

3. Divide the mixture into three equal parts. Leave one part natural, colour one pink and use the cocoa mix with a little hot water to colour the chocolate portion. Place alternate spoonfuls of the different mixtures into the prepared tin. Lightly tap tin on bench and run a knife through the mixture to give the marble effect.

4. Bake for around 50 minutes. When cold, ice with your favourite icing recipes in pale pink.

HINT: Nelleke Gorton a member of the State Land Cookery Committee has told me that to get the best marbled effect you use the blunt end of a wooden chopstick to make a figure 8 in the batter – then give a 1/2 turn of the cake tin and repeat a second figure 8. Don’t be tempted to go wild!

unbaked marble cake (2)

Marble Cake