In January I make a range of different flavoured marmalades with Seville oranges from Ave Maria. Each year I try a different combination and so far I’ve made Clavelshay Barn’s award winning Seville and Amaretto as well as old favourites Szechuan Pepper, Gin and Whisky. I’ve added chilli in the past but only as an infusion. This year I decided to experiment, adding shreds of the cooked chilli to the final boil.

Chilli Peppers

The strength of chillies varies and those sold in supermarkets are frequently mild to the palette compared to homegrown. I am fortunate to have access to at least two dozen varieties each year. For the marmalade I used a  Bhut Jolokia, also know as a Ghost Pepper or a Naga King. Originating from Assam, India, it is listed in the top ten hottest chillies, measuring over 1 million Scoville units. Just one was sufficient to flavour the marmalade, a true Seville flavour with a glorious back note of heat. The picture includes an orange Bhut Jolokia and some Habaneros which I have used in previous years for Chilli Marmalade.

Chilli Marmalade recipe

675g Seville oranges

1 large lemon

1 extremely hot chilli

1.75litres water

1.4kg granulated, cane sugar

1. Juice the oranges and lemon. Pour the juice with the water into a large lidded pan, with a capacity of at least 6 litres. Remove the inner membranes from the oranges and chop them finely. Do not remove the pith from the oranges. Put the chopped membranes, and any pips into a 33 x 33cm piece of thin cotton muslin. Tie this up with string and add to the pan.

2. Bruise the chilli and tie it up in a small piece of muslin and add to the pan. Shred the orange peel finely and add to the pan. Leave the pan overnight, this helps soften the peel before cooking.

3. Next day, bring the lidded pan to boil, turn down the heat and simmer very gently for two hours. Remove the lid from the pan and set aside.

4. Warm the sugar in a low oven, 140°C /275°F/ Gas 1 for 20 minutes.

5. Remove the large muslin bag  and squeeze the liquid from the bag back into the pan through a sieve, using a large spoon. Check the volume in the pan has reduced by a third.

6. Remove the muslin bag containing the chilli from the pan and squeeze the liquid from the bag back into the pan through a sieve, using a large spoon. Chop the chilli finely, it will be very soft so don’t expect even shreds. Add the chilli to the pan.

7. Remove the sugar from the oven and put clean jars in the oven. Add the sugar to the pan and stir to dissolve. Bring the pan to a rolling boil and test for a set after 7 minutes. Dip a large spoon into the pan and scoop out a spoonful. Lift the spoon above the pan and turn it horizontally. The marmalade should drip then hang on the side of the spoon.

8. Remove the jars from the oven and leave the marmalade to cool for 8 minutes. Remove any scum from the surface with a large metal spoon.

9. Gently stir the marmalade to distribute the peel. Pour the marmalade into the clean warm sterilised jars and seal with new twist top lids. Leave the jars upright and undisturbed to set.


Clavelshay Barn

Ave Maria farm

Chilli Marmalade

Chilli Marmalade