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A Zesty Journey Through Time: Unraveling the Delightful History of Marmalade

a cross section of a blood orange

The Past month at TMP Kitchen, the smell of oranges and lemons has been wafting through the halls and surrounds, my arm feels like its going to drop off after hand slicing all the peel, the spice of ginger has been tickling everybody's throats in the most pleasant way of course and the slight sugar stickiness covering everything even pots I haven't touched! While prepping everything, my mind sometimes wanders and i started questioning how marmalade came about, its origins, why its so popular and how its stayed relevant so here's what I found I hope you enjoy it as much as I did learning about everything.

A Jar Full of Sunshine

When it comes to jams and preserves, few things evoke delight like spreading sunshine on your morning toast quite like marmalade. The blend of sweet and tangy flavours, with that distinct citrusy kick, has been enchanting people for centuries. Join us as we peel back the layers of history to discover the origins, evolution, and popularity as we take a look at the zesty history of marmalade.

The Citrus Chronicles Begin

Before we dive into the captivating tale of marmalade, it's important to understand the star of the show: oranges, the fruit that brings the zest and vibrance to this delectable preserve. Oranges, with their vibrant color and invigorating aroma, have been enjoyed for their refreshing taste since ancient times. With their roots in China and India, oranges embarked on a journey that would eventually lead them to the breakfast table of the world.

a pan full of orange peel for marmalade

A Sticky Encounter with History

Our journey takes a sweet turn as we go back to the roots of marmalade. Marmalade and other types of citrus fruit preserve can be traced all the way back to Greek and Roman times.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. The word "marmalade" has its origins in the Portuguese word "marmelada," referring to a quince paste, I bet you wondered where I was going but we got there in the end 😅 It was then Scottish who gave it the citrusy twist we know and love today. Keen to preserve the bounties of their orange imports, they combined oranges, sugar, and water, creating a preserve that could withstand the test of time.

Marmalade's Bittersweet Spread Across Europe

The spread of marmalade across Europe marked a turning point in its history. As the preserve traveled from Scotland to England, France, and beyond, each region added its own unique touch. The English embraced it heartily, making it a breakfast staple fit for kings and queens. The French, known for their culinary prowess, incorporated marmalade into their pastries and desserts, increasing its uses and possibilities.

a jar of marmalade about to be  heat processed

From Breakfast to Culinary Creations

Marmalade's journey from toast-topper to culinary superstar continued to evolve. While initially enjoyed as a spread, innovative chefs began experimenting with marmalade as a versatile ingredient. Its balanced flavors and sweetness became the perfect companion for both sweet and savory dishes, adding a delightful twist to glazes, marinades, and sauces.

A Touch of Sunshine in a Jar: Homemade Marmalade

As marmalade's popularity grew, so did the desire to create homemade versions that captured its essence. Marmalade recipes became cherished family secrets, passed down through generations. Ive met so many people over my years in the kitchen all with there own recipe from their grandma or family recipe all slightly different, some with limes, some swearing that seville oranges are the only oranges to use, I love trying new recipes and each variation always brings a slight different end result. The joy of crafting your own batch of marmalade, carefully selecting the ripest oranges and infusing it with love over a fairly long period with the end product being a glowing orange jar of set sunshine gleaming out.

Marmalade Through the Ages

From its humble beginnings to becoming a staple on breakfast tables around the world, marmalade has stood the test of time. Its journey through the ages is a testament to the enduring appeal of its vibrant flavors and versatility. Whether spread on toast, swirled into yogurt, or used as a glaze, marmalade continues to delight and surprise with its timeless charm.

The Polarizing Palate

While marmalade has an army of devoted fans, it's not without its critics. Some argue that its bittersweet profile may not suit everyone's taste, me being one of them, its only until recently that ive started to enjoy the bitterness of marmalade whether its from tasting so much from cooking or my tastes changing as I get older, others find its texture less appealing compared to other preserves but I love the chew from a chunky bit of candied rind deeeeelish! However, it's precisely this unique blend of flavors and textures that gives marmalade its distinctive character.

Our blood orange marmalade bubbling away

A Modern Twist: Marmalade Reinvented

In today's culinary landscape, marmalade is far from being confined to the breakfast table. Innovative chefs and home cooks alike are reinventing marmalade by infusing it with unexpected ingredients, creating combinations like whiskey, grapefruit or like our blood orange and ginger marmalade and even savoury versions incorporating herbs and spices like our smoked onion marmalade. This modern twist breathes new life into an age-old classic and keeps it relevant for new generations.

From our Kitchen to Yours: The Mulberry Pig's Marmalade Magic

At The Mulberry Pig, we celebrate the rich history and timeless allure of marmalade. Just like our commitment to using the finest ingredients in our gourmet condiments, preserves, and sauces, we believe that marmalade deserves to shine as a true culinary masterpiece. It took quite a while to perfect our recipe but I think we got there in the end, its a lovely marmalade with an added depth from the blood orange and just a touch of spice from the ginger that gets the back of the throat, best enjoyed with lashings of butter on toast.

Spread the Joy

As we wrap up our journey through the history of marmalade, we're reminded of the magic that a simple jar of preserves can bring to our lives. From its humble beginnings as a means of preservation to its current status as a culinary canvas, marmalade's journey has been nothing short of remarkable. So, the next time you spread a dollop of this bittersweet delight on your morning toast, take a moment to savour the preserve that has transcended time and continues to make the mundane truly

blood orange and ginger marmalade

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