Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Marmalade, modern.

I am in Bath, in Somerset – an enchanting town with a rich Roman heritage and some beautiful Georgian architecture. Say ‘Bath’ and it is impossible not to think of Jane Austen (1775 –1817) - but we have considered Jane and black butter and cheesecakes in previous posts, so we need something different today. The Word According to Wikipedia is that the Georgian era is defined as including the reigns of the four King Georges (1-IV), in other words, from 1714-1830. In the remaining four days of this week (while I am still on holiday) I will sample some cookbooks – more or less at random - from that period.

Right at the beginning of our chosen period, Mary Kettilby published her book A collection of above three hundred receipts in cookery, physick and surgery; for the use of all good wives, tender mothers, and careful nurses. It contains the earliest known recipe for marmalade as we know it today. We had a seventeenth century for Marmalat of Quinces in a previous post, but this was more like a fruit paste such as we now put on our cheese platters. The ‘modern’ way of making marmalade is no different than when Mary wrote her recipe in 1714 – although the bitterness that she clearly dislikes is surely the desirable feature of real marmalade made from Seville oranges.

To make Orange Marmalade, very good.
Take eighteen fair large Seville Oranges, pare them very thin, then cut them in halves, and save their Juice in a clean Vessel, and set it cover’d in a cool Place; put the half-Oranges into Water for one Night, then boil them very tender, Shifting the water till all the Bitterness is out, then dry them well and pick out the Seeds and Strings as nicely as you can; pound them fine, and to every pound of Pulp take a pound of double-refin’d Sugar; boil your Pulp and Sugar almost to Candy-height: When this is ready, you must take the Juice of Six Lemons, the Juice of all the Oranges, strain it, and take its full weight of double-refin’d Sugar, all which pour into the Pulp and Sugar, and boil the whole pretty fast ‘till it will Jelly. Keep your Glasses cover’d and ‘twill be a lasting wholsome Sweet-meat for any Use.

Quotation for the Day …

Marmalade in the morning has the same effect on taste buds that a cold shower has on the body. Jeanine Larmoth.

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