Recipes for citrus marmalades have been recorded since the early seventeenth century, but the marmalade we enjoy today was developed by the Victorians. In the mid seventeenth century, bitter orange and lemon marmalades were made from the fruit pulp and stewed apple. The peel was sliced thinly into long strips.The consistency of this marmalade would have been similar to a fruit cheese and cut with a knife, rather than being spooned out of its container. Many recipes tended to be rule-of-thumb and gave unpredictable results. In 1681, Rebecca Price’s record of her mother’s Seville orange marmalade gave proportions of sugar to fruit, but omitted the volume of water to be used or the cooking time.Marmalade Awards in 2008 came from the Long Ashton collection.
In competitions, common faults in marmalade are often more about the recipe than the skill of the cook. Dark colours and syrupy consistencies are frequently caused by overboiling to achieve a set because the proportions of fruit, sugar, acid and pectin have been skewed.
There are many sources for recipes- in print and online. Adding different flavours, for example alcohol, chilli, coriander, chocolate, and lavender offer variety to the cook and to the consumer. For me, new flavours work best when they are just added to a reliable recipe. By following this method I concentrate on developing the flavour of the marmalade, without disturbing the harmony of the base ingredients or worrying if it will set and keep.