Marmalade, that bittersweet preserve made from citrus and revered in the UK, actually descended from the Portuguese quince paste, or marmelada. Quince, loaded with pectin, was long known to have wonderful setting properties when cooked. Fruit preserves often included quince, or apple, to contribute enough pectin to jell the fruit. It was later discovered that citrus skins on their own, while contributing a distinct bitter note to the preserve, also provided enough pectin without having to add quince or apple.
It is commonly held that Janet Keiller of Dundee, Scotland, was the inventor of the modern-day marmalade. Keiller ran a sweets and preserves shop, and it is rumored her son James came upon a shipment of sour oranges that he couldn’t sell. A batch of orange marmalade was concocted, and the rest, as they say, is history. Dundee Marmalade is one of the most well-known examples of marmalade on the market.
One need not rely on the classic Seville orange to achieve a glorious marmalade. With winter being the time for citrus, consider some tasty alternatives like a Meyer lemon marmalade, or perhaps blood orange. Grapefruit makes a particularly zesty preserve, or you can mix and match your citrus for more flavor, like a Meyer Lemon and Moro Blood Orange marmalade. Floral, tangy and complex, with gorgeous pink to deep-red color, this is a wonderful extension of the classic marmalade tradition. And not just for the breakfast table, marmalades make excellent additions to marinades, fillings for pastry and glazes for cakes. Other options include Mandarinquats, Buddha’s Hand and Bergamot.