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Saturday, 24 January 2015

Preserving January traditions.

Ever since childhood I have been aware that January is when marmalade has been made in my parents household and later in my own home since when  I have missed just one year. A more recent tradition has been for our Seville oranges to be bought in a local greengrocers, Cousins in Twickenham as one of the cousins go to Seville to buy the fruit. This year Ian was chided for being a bit late in buying the fruit, this was Saturday 17th, at one time this would have been early as my Mother reckoned the oranges were available late January and early February, now it seems immediately Christmas decorations are down one is into slicing fruit and squeezing pips. 

I find extracting the pips, cutting, squeezing and finely - but not too so - slicing the fruit very relaxing and meditative, rarely do I put the radio on, I sit at the kitchen table, work through the oranges first then the lemons whilst my mind wanders. So calming. The fruit is left to soften overnight, sometimes longer if the next day is busy. This evening about three pounds of fruit was cut up, the last of our purchase, I had thought we had bought a bit less this year but as the first batch yielded 19 jars, my second 12 jars I think once again we will be giving quite a bit away in the hope we bring some culinary delight to the recipient. 

When our son was very young, he pronounced marmalade as Mummielade, we were very amused when he asked very seriously what was Daddylade like! The first time he saw identical twins he said 'Oh look, snap babies' and quarrelling was 'fighting with words'. 

As we hadn't finished all of last year's batches, I decided to make a Marmalade cake to use some more up, the easy all in one recipe is from Michael Barry's Food and Drink Cookbook. Have just looked at my signed copy, didn't realise it was published in 1991, it has Imperial measurements first and the inferior metric afterwards.

Marmalade and marmalade cake. Just remembered that my Mother used to make cake on a Saturday evening, by the time we were about 12 my sister and I would also bake. For a while I haven't made cakes but I enjoy the process, it is good to be able to offer a visitor a slice of cake, for we don't have biscuits except at Christmas, also I know what ingredients have been used rather than chemicals with long unpronounceable names. 


  1. I know what you mean about working at the kitchen table being so calming and meditative! And you have a result afterwards, something delightful that can be shared with others.
    When I was still a teenager living at home, I used to bake nearly every weekend, too. After moving into my own place and especially after being widowed, I only bake for special occasions.

  2. Last January, I ended up freezing the oranges and I still haven't used them, so I haven't made any this year. My father was the marmalade maker in our house when I was a child and it's lovely to read your memories.