It’s that time of year again, when my hunt begins to find a south Norfolk stockist of Seville oranges to make the glorious preserve that is marmalade.
Last week I succeeded thanks to a wonderful, traditional greengrocer in Beccles.
Normally when January rolls round I automatically think of marmalade making, but this year I was a bit late off the mark.
I was reminded thanks to an email from The World’s Original Marmalade Awards encouraging me to apply to this year’s competition.
I primarily make marmalade because I love the orange, oozy goodness too much. For me, marmalade on top of butter and toast is comforting and warming. It always makes me feel happy and content.
Secondly, making marmalade reminds me of a wonderful woman. Growing up my mum worked as a mobile hairdresser, travelling to people’s homes regularly – and took me and my brother with her.
The wonderful woman was Mrs Norwood and she made marmalade by hand up until her late 80s, and every year we’d be presented with a jar that we all looked forward to.
A few years before she died, she showed my mum how she made her preserve using a Magic Marmalade cutter – an antique cutter made by a firm in Manchester to quicken the cutting of the orange peel.
I now use Mrs Norwood’s marmalade cutter to make my own and for me this is a really important tradition to continue. And in the same way that she gave her marmalade away I like to give mine away to family and friends too as a way of sharing the gorgeous golden goodness.
Thirdly, I now make marmalade to enter the World Marmalade Awards. Last year I entered for the first time and managed a bronze – here’s hoping for the same, if not better, this year…
Today I decided to knuckle down and make my 2018 marmalade, but very early on I realised that I had done what I do every year – bought too many oranges. I always end up cooking marmalade for what feels like days on end!
This morning’s batch was inspired by a recipe by Delia and used a third of the oranges I have, making 16 jars – I envisage a house full of marmalade by the end of the weekend!
Later this week I aim to make a Dark & Moody batch (including Whiskey) and a Gin and lemon batch for the first time – all three will be entered into the awards.
Watch this space…