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January is traditionally marmalade making month – the preferred citrus fruit being the Spanish Seville orange – prized for its high pectin content which gives jam makers a good set for the perfect preserve! 

Unlike jam, a lot of water is added to the fruit in marmalade making. In this respect it’s more like a jelly but of course the fruit and peel is kept in marmalade, whereas it’s strained off and discarded in jelly making. 

But where does it come from – how long has it featured on our breakfast tables? The word marmalade comes from the Galician-Portugese marmelada from marmelo ‘quince’.  The Romans learned from the Greeks that quinces cooked slowly would set when cool.  Preserves of quince and lemon began to appear. Much later, the Tudors talked of marmalade but it was probably a solid quince paste imported from Portugal – it was reputedly a favourite of Anne Boleyn and her ladies-in-waiting. 

One of the earliest recipes for marmelet of oranges dates from 1677 but this again still produced a thick dark paste. The Scots are credited with refining the recipe by using more water in order to create marmalade as a spread in the 18th century and they also moved marmalade to the breakfast table. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the English followed suit and abandoned eating it in the evening.

These days all sorts of wonderful different flavours and varieties exist. We have several more ‘exotic’ recipes in our range of preserves – but our Seville Orange Marmalade is still a firm favourite – and sells out almost as soon as Chloe makes a batch.  Back in stock very soon. Remember our preserves are all produced with the seasons so when a flavour is gone, it’s gone – until next year!

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