This recipe for Orange and Ginger Marmalade is adapted from a Nigel Slater recipe that can be found here. My only changes were slightly increasing the amount of ginger and reducing the lemons by one! This was for no reason other than that I only had 3 lemons to hand and I had a lump of ginger that I wanted to use up 😀 It made a fabulous marmalade though!
The earliest references to citrus marmalade as a preserve were in the 1670’s. Prior to that marmalada was a Portuguese delicacy made with quinces and flavored with rose water and musk and served in squares much like Turkish delight is served today. In the 17th and 18th centuries marmalade was made in a clear jelly form and used as a paste but it was free of the shreds of peel that make up the marmalade of today.
James Keiller and Sons from Dundee are thought to be the first commercial makers of marmalade and they are believed to have made the first marmalade that contained chunks of orange peel. The story goes that Mr Keiller brought a large amount of Seville oranges from a ship that was sheltering from a storm in a port near to where he lived. The oranges were being used as ballast for cargo contained on the ship and were far from fresh. He gave these oranges to his wife, Janet, who played around with different recipes and developed a marmalade which contained chunks of orange peel suspended in a clear amber colored jelly. This marmalade became a best seller for James Keiller and Sons company and in its heyday the company was highly successful and more profitable than both Cadburys and Rowntrees. In 1857 James Keiller and Sons set up one of their factories in Guernsey (my home Island) to avoid the UK mainland sugar tax. They made approx 350 tonnes of the stuff every year from their Island factory until sugar tax ended in 1874 and they moved their production lines to London. I never knew this Guernsey connection to marmalade before researching for this post and I am interested to learn more.
I used Seville oranges in this recipe. They are typically used in marmalade due to their high pectin levels and their tangy flavor. Cutting up this amount of orange peel can be a labor of love though – a sharp knife is essential. I was lucky enough to have received a chefs knife from Edge of Belgravia before Christmas which made this task so easy! For over 20 years I have relied on a trusty knife set that I brought when I first went to cookery school, but I’m kind of wondering whether they have finally had their day. This funky designed knife was so good to use, it cut through the orange peel like butter, was well weighted and comfortable to hold. I need to try out some more. They look pretty good too 😍
Anyhow, I hope that you enjoy this recipe.