Marmalade is a fruit preserve made from the juice and peel of citrus fruits boiled with sugar and water. The well-known version is made from bitter orange, but it is also made from lemons, limes, grapefruits, mandarins, sweet oranges, bergamots, and other citrus fruits, or a combination. Citrus is the most typical choice of fruit for a marmalade, though historically the term has often been used for non-citrus preserves.
|Place of origin||Portugal/Scotland|
|Main ingredients||Juice and peel of citrus fruits, sugar, water|
The preferred citrus fruit for marmalade production is the Spanish Seville or bitter orange, Citrus aurantium var. aurantium, prized for its high pectin content, which sets readily to the thick consistency expected of marmalade. The peel imparts a bitter taste.
The word "marmalade" is borrowed from the Portuguese marmelada, from marmelo 'quince'.
Unlike jam, a large quantity of water is added to the fruit in a marmalade, the extra liquid being set by the high-pectin content of the fruit. In this respect it is like a jelly, but whereas the fruit pulp and peel is strained out of a jelly to give it its characteristic clarity, it is retained in a marmalade.
The Romans learned from the Greeks that quinces slowly cooked with honey would "set" when cool. The Apicius gives a recipe for preserving whole quinces, stems and leaves attached, in a bath of honey diluted with defrutum—Roman marmalade. Preserves of quince and lemon appear—along with rose, apple, plum and pear—in the Book of ceremonies of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos.
Medieval quince preserves, which went by the French name cotignac, produced in a clear version and a fruit pulp version, began to lose their medieval seasoning of spices in the 16th century. In the 17th century, La Varenne provided recipes for both thick and clear cotignac.
In 1524, Henry VIII received a "box of marmalade" from Mr Hull of Exeter. As it was in a box, this was probably marmelada, a solid quince paste from Portugal, still made and sold in southern Europe. "Marmalet" was served at the wedding banquet of the daughter of John Neville in Yorkshire in 1530. Its Portuguese origins can be detected in the remarks in letters to Lord Lisle, from William Grett, 12 May 1534, "I have sent to your lordship a box of marmaladoo, and another unto my good lady your wife" and from Richard Lee, 14 December 1536, "He most heartily thanketh her Ladyship for her marmalado". It was a favourite treat of Anne Boleyn and her ladies in waiting.
The English recipe book of Eliza Cholmondeley, dated from 1677 and held at the Chester Record Office in the Cheshire county archivists, has one of the earliest marmalade recipes ("Marmelet of Oranges") which produced a firm, thick dark paste. The Scots are credited with developing marmalade as a spread, with Scottish recipes in the 18th century using more water to produce a less solid preserve.
The first printed recipe for orange marmalade, though without the chunks typically used now, was in Mary Kettilby's 1714 cookery book, A Collection of above Three Hundred Receipts (pages 78–79). Kettilby called for whole oranges, lemon juice and sugar, with the acid in the lemon juice helping to create the pectin set of marmalade, by boiling the lemon and orange juice with the pulp. Kettilby then directs: "boil the whole pretty fast 'till it will jelly" – the first known use of the word "jelly" in marmalade making. Kettilby then instructs that the mixture is then poured into glasses, covered and left until set. As the acid would create a jelly, this meant that the mixture could be pulled from the heat before it had turned to a paste, keeping the marmalade much brighter and the appearance more translucent, as in modern-day marmalade.
The Scots moved marmalade to the breakfast table, and in the 19th century the English followed the Scottish example and abandoned the eating of marmalade in the evening. Marmalade's place in British life appears in literature. James Boswell remarks that he and Samuel Johnson were offered it at breakfast in Scotland in 1773. When American writer Louisa May Alcott visited Britain in the 1800s, she described "a choice pot of marmalade and a slice of cold ham" as "essentials of English table comfort".
Marmalade first appeared in the English language in 1480, borrowed from French marmelade which, in turn, came from the Galician-Portuguese word marmelada. According to José Pedro Machado’s Dicionário Etimológico da Língua Portuguesa, the oldest known document where this Portuguese word is to be found is Gil Vicente’s play Comédia de Rubena, written in 1521:
- Temos tanta marmelada
- Que a minha mãe vai me dar um pouco
The extension of marmalade in the English language to refer to a preserve made from citrus fruits occurred in the 17th century, when citrus first began to be plentiful enough in England for the usage to become common.
In Portuguese, marmelada is a preserve made from quinces, quince cheese.
There is an apocryphal story that Mary, Queen of Scots, ate it when she had a headache, and that the name is derived from her maids' whisper of Marie est malade ('Mary is ill'). In reality, the word's origin has nothing to do with Mary.
In much of Europe and Latin America, cognates for the English term marmalade are still used as a generic term for pulpy preserves of all fruits, whereas in Britain it refers solely to preserves typically of citrus peel, such as from grapefruit, orange or lemon. The name originated in the 16th century from Middle French marmelade and Portuguese, where marmelada applied to quince jam.
Under the Food and Drug Regulations (C.R.C., c. 870), marmalade is a standardized food and defined as a food of jelly-like composition that consists of at least 65% water-soluble solids. The regulations permit the use of pH adjusting agents to prevent the marmalade from dehydration, antifoaming agents to prevent blemishes on surface coatings and enable efficient filling of containers, and an acid ingredient to compensate for the natural acidity of the citrus fruit used. If pectin is added, the marmalade must contain at least 27% of peel, pulp, or juice of citrus fruit. Class II preservatives may also be used.
The Canadian Food and Drug Regulations (C.R.C., c. 870) specify that pineapple or fig marmalade must be of jelly-like consistency, achieved by boiling the pulp of juice of the fruit with water, and a sweetening ingredient. Pineapple or fig marmalade should contain at least 45% of the named fruit.
Since 1979, the EU directive 79/693/CEE define marmalade as a jam made from citrus fruits. The directive was replaced on 20/12/2001 by the ruling 32001L0113.
The Scottish city of Dundee has a long association with marmalade. James Keiller and his wife Janet ran a small sweet and preserves shop in the Seagate area of Dundee. In 1797, they opened a factory to produce "Dundee Marmalade", a preserve distinguished by thick chunks of bitter Seville orange rind. The business prospered, and remains a signature marmalade producer today.
According to a Scottish legend, the creation of orange marmalade in Dundee occurred by accident. The legend tells of a ship carrying a cargo of oranges that broke down in the port, resulting in some ingenious locals making marmalade out of the cargo. However, this legend was "decisively disproved by food historians", according to a New York Times report.
In popular cultureEdit
- Paddington Bear is known for his liking of marmalade, particularly in sandwiches, and kept it in his briefcase wherever he went. Paddington Bear is now used on the label of the smaller peel ("shred") and clearer/milder Robertson's "Golden Shred" marmalade, in place of the previous icon, "Golliwog", which is considered racially offensive. The 2014 movie Paddington led to a slight increase in marmalade sales in the UK.
- In Jane Austen's 1811 novel Sense and Sensibility an over-indulgent mother feeds apricot marmalade to her fussy three-year-old child who has been slightly scratched by a pin in the mother's hair.
- In Agatha Christie's 1953 detective novel A Pocket Full of Rye, the murder weapon is poisoned orange marmalade consumed at breakfast by the victim.
- Maguelonne-Samat, (Anthea Bell, tr.) A History of Food 2nd ed. 2009, p. 507
- C. Anne Wilson, The Book of Marmalade: its Antecedents, Its History, and Its Role in the World Today, revised ed., 1999, p.32 & others
- Public Record Office, Letters and Papers, Foreign & Domestic, of the reign of Henry VIII, vol. 6 (London, 1870) p. 339, noted by Wilson 1999, p. 31f, and by other writers.
- Francis Peck, Desiderata Curiosa, vol. 2 (London, 1779), p. 249.
- Diana Henry (2012). "Salt Sugar Smoke: How to preserve fruit, vegetables, meat and fish". Hachette UK,
- Bateman, Michael (3 January 1993). "Hail marmalade, great chieftain o' the jammy race: Mrs Keiller of Dundee added chunks in the 1790s, thus finally defining a uniquely British gift to gastronomy". The Independent. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
- Wilson, C. Anne (2010). The Book of Marmalade (2nd ed.). Prospect Books. (cited in The Independent)
- "Spread over centuries" (19 August 2003). The Age. 8 June 2015.
- "Etymological Dictionary of the Portuguese Language"
- Translation: We have so much quince jelly / That my mother will give me some. Maria João Amaral, ed. Gil Vicente, Rubena (Lisbon:Quimera) 1961 (e-book)
- Klein’s Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language
- Melimelon, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek–English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
- "Marmalade". World Wide Words. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
- Wilson, C. Anne. The Book of Marmalade: Its Antecedents, Its History and Its Role in the World Today (Together with a Collection of Recipes for Marmalades and Marmalade Cookery), University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia. Revised Edition 2000 ISBN 0-8122-1727-6
- "Marmalade". Online Etymology Dictionary, Douglas Harper. 2020. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
- "Marmalade". Consolidated Federal Laws of Canada, Food and Drug Regulations, Government of Canada. 3 June 2019. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
- Branch, Legislative Services. "EUR-lex". eur-lex.europa.eu.
- "Features - Scottish Food, Traditions and Customs - Dundee Marmalade". The GBK Cookbook. The British Food Trust. Archived from the original on 29 January 2008. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
- "Features - Scottish Food, Traditions and Customs - Dundee Marmalade". scotsindependent.org. Archived from the original on 16 February 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- "James Keiller & Son Dundee Marmalade, Orange". wegmans.com. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011.
- W.M. Matthew, The Keiller Dynasty 1800-1879 narrates the history of Keillers; BBC News "Legacies: Keiller's: Sticky Success": offers an abbreviated version.
- C. Anne Wilson, The Book of Marmalade. Constable, London. 1985. ISBN 0-09-465670-3.
- Apple Jr., R. W. (27 March 2002). "This Blessed Plot, This Realm of Tea, This Marmalade". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
- Paddington: My Book of Marmalade: Amazon.co.uk: Michael Bond, Peggy Fortnum: 9780007269464: Books. amazon.co.uk. ASIN 0007269463.
- Davies, Caroline (24 February 2017). "Marmalade in decline as Paddington struggles to lift sales". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
- Allen, Brigid (1989). Cooper's Oxford: A history of Frank Cooper Limited.
- Mathew, W. M. Keiller's Of Dundee: The Rise of the Marmalade Dynasty 1800-1879.
- Mathew, W. M. The Secret History of Guernsey Marmalade.
- Wilson, C. Anne (1985). The Book of Marmalade: its antecedents, its history and its rôle in the world today together with a collection of recipes for marmalades & marmalade cookery. Constable. ISBN 0-09-465670-3.
- Media related to Marmalade at Wikimedia Commons