Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Makin' Marmelade!


While living in England in the 1980 's, I watched TV chef Delia Smith on BBC. Although citrus marmelade made from grapefruit, lime, lemon, kumquat and even orange was available in the super market, Delia encouraged her viewers to try their hand at making their own. I was a willing participant having had a long history of using surplus fruits to make jammy spreads for my family's toast and sandwiches. Ms. Smith explained that orange marmelade was made from Seville sour oranges! a variety imported from Spain fresh in the winter markets! and available tinned year round in the grocery stores. 

Armed with a kilo of Seville oranges, a large pot, sugar, a bit of cheese cloth and step by step instructions compliments of Delia and the BBC, I soon had a counter- top full of glistening jars of delicious bittersweet English style orange marmelade! The village hedgerows and country lanes soon became my foraging ground as I collected wild elderberry for pies and jam, Marabella hedgerow plums, blackberries, crabapples and even chestnuts, preserving them in the manner best suited to each. But I digress...

While the girls were growing up in the Phoenix area, we discovered the beautiful ornamental oranges growning along boulevard stips, and lining country roads. We found these free fruits perfect for a concoction I called "sunshine-ade", and sour orange pie. We juiced the fruit, and used it in similar quantities as lemon juice for fruit drinks, popsicles, meringue pies, and any other recipe calling for lemon juice. Little did I know these ornamental oranges were the same stock as Sevilles, nor did I make the connection between them and Orange Marmelade, until we returned to AZ in the late 80's.


Visiting eldest daughter in the Phoenix area this winter, I marveled over the beautiful Valencia orange tree in her backyard, laden with bushels of glorious juicy, fragrant fruit. She invited me to make marmelade with her... To which wise mother exclaimed "you cannot make marmelade from sweet oranges". All knowing daughter begged to differ, asking  "Why not?" and of course, I grapped my iPad to look up marmelade recipes just to show her! Naturally, the first recipe that popped up was Alton Brown's on Foodnetwork, ( insert URL ) and the food scientist guru makes no distinction in his recipe as to orange type. 

Needless to say, gathering a few medium large oranges, slicing, seeding, cooking, adding sugar, measuring temperature, sterilizing jars and carefully sealing same, we have a lovely batch of orange marmelade. Guess what was  on the table for breakfast? 


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