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Tuesday, 29 March 2016


Marmalade is a fruit preserve made from the juice and peel of citrus fruits boiled with sugar and water. It is usually made with oranges. but can also be made from lemons, limes, grapefruits, or a combination of citrus fruits.

The word Marmalade comes from the Galician word "marmelada" meaning quince jam.

Marmalade has long been regarded as an aphrodisiac. Queen Mary Tudor of England used a marmalade made of almonds, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, musk, orange peel, quinces, rosewater and sugar in an unsuccessful attempt to help her get pregnant.

Marmalade was made commercially in Britain for the first time by a Dundee trader, James Keiller in 1797.  He had wrongly been sent an assignment of bitter oranges from Spain and his wife, an expert jam-maker, decided she could make use of them.

Originally a thick paste made from quince, Janet Keiller modified the recipe adding sugar syrup to the oranges.

Marmalade was the breakfast of choice for Sherlock Holmes, who ate the jam with prawns on toast, calling it 'his brain food.'

Marmalade spread on bread. Wikipedia Commons

Captain Scott took a jar with him in 1911 on his expedition to the Antarctic. It was found, in perfect condition, 70 years later.

Paddington Bear kept a marmalade sandwich under his hat in case of emergencies.

The only citrus fruit not to be put into widescale marmalade production is the ugli.

Bitter, dimpled Seville oranges, with their high level of pectin, are the fruit of choice for marmalade making.

Jars of marmalade. By Malene Thyssen (User:Malene) - Wikipedia Commons

The proportion of British families who eat marmalade for breakfast has reduced sharply since the mid Twentieth century. Generations of children have been put off by the bitter taste from the use of Seville oranges from Spain and the chewy bits of peel. The result is that the market has become limited to the over 50s.

Sources Daily Mail, Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

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