An outbreak of marmalade advice

img_4884I’m amazed that two Potwell Inn regulars have suggested their favourite marmalade recipes already, although the difference is more in the preparation than the ingredients.  Mags emailed with her favourite approach and then today Rose suggested hers.  The common factor was that they both involved cooking the fruit whole and then removing the pips and pulp.  In Rose’s recipe – or rather Mrs Beeton’s – the pulp is returned to the pan without the chopped peel after cooking whole for 2 hours.  The two hour cooking period is common to almost all the recipes I’ve seen. In Mag’s it’s returned in a muslin bag which makes it easier to remove than the Beeton recipe which needs straining.  Again all recipes require the removal of the pips.

I’ve never cooked the fruit whole before but I have to say it simplified the whole job and made the peel much easier to slice finely.  Apart from that, today I used golden granuated cane sugar because Madame (and me too) like the colour which doesn’t seem to affect the flavour noticeably. So far as setting is concerned I’ve been setting by temperature for the last couple of years because it’s more reliable for me.  104.5C Seems to do the trick for pretty well any jam, but if you prefer the wrinkle test (or you can use it better than me), I’m sure it’s just as good.  Right at the end I chuck in a glass of whisky or brandy if there’s some in the cupboard. But I’m amazed that marmalade generates such recipe loyalty – I think we all know that almost whatever recipe you use it’s going to turn out better than the rather tasteless commercial product.

Beyond that we’re still recovering from the viruses but we whizzed across to the garden centre to get some seed sowing compost. While we were there I ‘accidentally’ bought some seeds for Bhut Jolokia chillies which can ripen to 1000,000+ Scoville units. It’s by far the hottest chilli we’ve ever tried to grow – Oh Joy! – and thanks for the emails.

Author: Dave Pole

I've spent my life doing a lot of things, all of them interesting and many of them great fun. When most people see my CV they probably think I'm making things up because it includes being a rather bad welder and engineering dogsbody, a potter, a groundsman and bus driver. I taught in a prison and in one of those ghastly old mental institutions as an art therapist and I spent ten years as a community artist. I was one of the founding members of Spike Island, which began life as Artspace Bristol. ! wrote a column for Bristol Evening Post (I got sacked three times, in which I take some pride) and I worked in local and network radio and then finally became an Anglican parish priest for 25 years, retiring at 68 when I realised that the institutional church and me were on different paths. What interests me? It would be easier to list what doesn't, but I love cooking and baking with our home grown ingredients. I'm fascinated by botany and wildlife in general, and botanical illustration. We have a camper van that takes us to the wild places, we love walking, especially in the hills, and we take too many photographs. But what really animates me is the question "what does it mean to be human?". I've spent my life exploring it in every possible way and the answer is ..... well, today it's sitting in the van in the rain and looking across Ramsey Sound towards Ramsey Island. But it might as easily be digging potatoes or making pickle, singing or finding an orchid or just sitting. But it sure as hell doesn't mean getting a promotion, beasting your co-workers or being obsequious to power, which ensured that my rise to greatness in the Church of England flatlined 30 years ago after about 2 days. But I'm still here and still searching for that elusive sweet spot, and I don't have to please anyone any more. Over the last 50 or so years we've had a succession of gardens, some more like wildernesses when we were both working full-time, but now we're back in the game with our two allotments in Bath.

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