It’s about this time of year that jam makers around the UK get their preserving pans out and make marmalade. Why now? Because this is when Seville oranges arrive in the shops and they are only here for a short time. They are the orange equivalent of a cooking apple, quite bitter, not edible without first cooking, but they are the secret to lovely rich tangy marmalade.
There must be hundreds of different ways of making marmalade. Recipes are passed down through the generations, differing slightly along the way with the changes in kitchen technology and the desire to put ones own stamp on the recipe.
My mother made marmalade every year, and to me it was the best ever. Golden orange in colour and really tangy, like the one pictured. Since she stopped making it due to ill health, I have had a couple of gos at it. It’s not easy to get right. My first attempt tasted lovely but was so thick like treacle it was impossible to spread. Last year I had another go, this time it was a good consistency but a bit too sweet. This year I decided to give it a miss much to the relief of my friends and family who have had to endure my previous efforts.
For those of you who are lucky enough to have friends who produce homemade marmalade you will know that nothing beats it. Shop bought is nowhere near as good as a nice pot of lovingly made, hand-shredded marmalade. This one was made by my husband’s work colleague who, every year, gets together with her marmalade making friend to make this gloriously golden, tangy marmalade they call Brackenwood, after the place it is made. Delicious.
There is something very British about marmalade. This picture epitomises Britain – crumpets and marmalade and a nice cup of tea. I am not sure if other nations really get our love of it. It is a bit of a love hate thing.
Mr 101BT went on a business trip several years ago with two Germans and two Dutchmen. They all got down to breakfast before him and when he arrived they sat and watched intently as he picked out a slice of toast, buttered it, looked at the jams and picked out a small pot of marmalade. They all burst out laughing and told him that they had bets on whether the Englishman would have the marmalade.
I have linked to a fairly simple marmalade recipe on the BBC website HERE