Sunday, 6 January 2008

Bitter-sweetness

Seville oranges are in the shops - it's time to make marmalade!!(!)

It's a far more sensible time of year to make preserves than the summer, when the kitchen is likely to be too hot already and the last thing you want is to fill it with steam. We don't use a lot of marmalade - I eat toast dry mostly, although I will extract a thick chunk of peel from the jar and nibble it. Fortunately, the Sage and I fit nicely together, in that he likes the jelly best and I prefer the bitter peel.

My father was the marmalade maker - and eater - when I was a child. I remember him standing in the kitchen cutting up the oranges. He used to bottle it into glasses, and add whole almonds and glacé cherries for added prettiness. Sometimes, he added a thin slice of orange too - I suppose he cooked those separately so that they kept their shape.

9 comments:

Cinn said...

I don't think I've ever had marmalade. I'm so curious. What makes it different than jam or jelly? (That's probably a very ignorant question, please forgive me.)

Z said...

Not at all, I'm just glad you haven't asked me to describe the taste of Marmite.

I think it's the bitterness of the raw fruit. You squeeze out the juice, cut up the peel and then simmer them with water until completely soft, then add sugar and boil for a set. Although some of the sugar is absorbed by the peel, it is still tangy, which contrasts well with the sweetness. You can make marmalade with any citrus fruit, but it's best with the bitter Seville oranges at its base.

Dave said...

I can only eat marmalade on toast if I also have a cup of tea. It was therefore my breakfast of choice at college.

At home I usually prefer a glass of milk, which I find clashes too greatly with the taste of marmalade.

Steg said...

Seville oranges? Bitter orange ice cream!

The Boy said...

This is the year I am going to actually make marmalade. It is one of my favourite things, and every year I'm convinced I'm going to find the time and do it.

Yes I am, going to do it, as soon as I find a few spare hours. Honest.

Z said...

When I was a child, I could only eat marmalade if the toast was buttered. But I didn't like jam and butter together. Now, I have a strange wish to test the flavour of milk and marmalade together. Not that I ever drink milk...

Steg, I was given a recipe for bitter orange vodka last year, which I must look out - when I was given it, it was too late to make it.

You must, Boy. You will feel pleased with yourself all year. It's a pity that putting the peel into the food processor to chop is so less good than slicing it, because it saves a lot of time. Maybe your eldest is old enough to be trusted with a sharp knife?

luckyzmom said...

I love orange marmalade on what we call here English muffins, buttered. I would occassionally purchase myself a small jar that would last a long, long time because I have been the only one in our family who enjoys it. Now I stick a few of the individual packets from restuarants in my purse for the occassional muffin I might have. The marmalade packets would always be the last ones left, and now I seldom see them. Here it is kinda like and indangered species.

luckyzmom said...

an endangered species!

Z said...

I ordered another 2x15 kilo boxes for tomorrow. A Famous Novelist, now in her 80s, bought 9 pounds yesterday.