Bitter Orange Marmalade
In England, the kingdom of jams and jams, there are two kinds of jams: those made with citrus fruits (orange, lemon, lime) which are known as “marmalade” and the others called “jam”. When I was studying, they told me the story that the name “marmalade” came from when Queen Maria Stuart fell ill while visiting France and when they brought her food to regain her appetite, she heard one French servant say: ‘Ma’am est malade’ (“the Lady is ill”) and hence the name “marmalade”. This story does not seem real, and the etymology of the word “marmalade”, on the contrary, tells us that it comes from the Portuguese term “marmelo” which is quince and that it was the first fruit from which jam was made and that the Romans. It is well known that the Portuguese had a very prosperous trade with England and introduced bitter orange in that country; fruit that the British used to make, without a doubt the most famous jam in the world. Well, I still keep the first version because, although it is inaccurate, it is more attractive to me, and since I am the author but I can allow the stories to be told as I want. “And si non é vero, é ben trovato”.
I can’t imagine the month of January without preparing the bitter orange marmalade (with cointreau, whiskey, or alone), which I then store for the whole year. That makes me feel that if the world war breaks out or we sink due to climate change, all and especially my children will be safe with my orange marmalade and many others that I keep in my fridge. It is incredible that in a country where there is so much bitter orange (or border) we buy the “English marmalade”, made from the oranges that the English call “from Seville” and that have been imported for centuries from our country. This jam is always the pretext to “revisit” the monastery of San Jerónimo, an architectural jewel of the Spanish Renaissance, which supplies me with the wonderful oranges of the cloister, as in previous years, which the nuns give me gifts and even let me get them from the trees myself and now they are right on their point, what a joy!
I have already mentioned above that making jams is a passion for me. I have always believed that it is the essence, or better the poetry, of the kitchen. I have read somewhere that hobbies reveal, better than anything, the personality of the person who cultivates them. Who knows what it means in my case! I have always liked making jams of everything for my family and my friends; and as the English say “for a rainy day”, an expression that means “in case of ruin”. All my recipes are usually well tested and are fully guaranteed, but in this case we must jealously take care that the fruit is fresh and of very good quality. I think that few things satisfy me as much as going into the kitchen with good music and abandoning myself to the ritual of jam, enjoying the wonderful aroma of orange and the alchemy of the “art of cooking”. That is why, on this website, I have decided today to share this hobby with you.
The recipe that I am going to offer you is not the traditional English one, where the orange is cooked for hours and in several days, however, in this “express” jam the orange is cooked in an express pot. This recipe is my dearest friend Pepa, who prepares the best jam I have ever tasted, because it combines her Sevillian origins with her many years of residence in the United Kingdom.
a kilo and a half of oranges
two and a half kilos of sugar
al. and a half of water
juice of two lemons
a miniature bottle of whiskey
With these quantities I have made almost 5 kilos of jam, which soon will not be any and will not have time to mature.
Oranges must be bitter, and are usually found in convents, or in orchards of all kinds; in the south of Spain there are lots of orange trees that adorn its squares, and these oranges are always “edges” or bitter.