Originally thought by me to be a sour orange thing that my grandmother spread on toast. Also something I read about in older English mysteries where fictional people like Miss Marple would serve just before someone in the pantry was murdered.
Now I realize marmalade to be an amazingly diverse, sweet, tangy, almost candy-like spread that looks even prettier than jams and jellies with its whole slices of fruit glistening in sticky syrups.
I have made jams and jellies since I could reach the stove-top to stir but have always shunned the marmalade. After attending a fantastically fun book signing with Marmalade: Sweet and Savory Spreads for a Sophisticated Taste author Elizabeth Field at the Northshire Bookstore, I am hooked on this sweet and savory method and cannot wait to try out some of her recipes!
Not only did the author talk about the history of marmalade and tell tales of her travels to Scotland and England to learn the art of marmalade from traditional makers, she also made a batch for participants and we each got to bring home a jar. It was fascinating to hear her stories and learn that the term marmalade is actually the Portuguese word for quince.
The recipes in her book range from more traditional quince, kumquat and oranges to pomegranate, cherries and banana. She also includes recipes for lovely cakes, scones, and biscuits that go wonderfully with the marmalade’s. For the event the author made a pomegranate marmalade for everyone to try, which of course was delicious and had a beautiful rose red color.
Those that were part of the Northshire cook book reading club each made a marmalade from her book and brought it to share with everyone at the event. The most spectacular recipe that I (and many others felt the same) tried was the banana marmalade. Before I tried it I thought it would taste like banana bread. It was instead surprising to find that it was tart and refreshing! The ingredients include lime juice and vanilla bean which seemed to bring out the banana flavor in a whole new way. One of the participants made her upside-down gingerbread cake which was delicious! You could top it with the cherry or orange marmalade and it would be perfect for any gathering. Something new to me was serving marmalade over slices of cheddar cheese on top of homemade bread – yum! The tangy sweetness was well balanced with the nutty bread and mild cheese – a definite must at my next party!
Overall, the event was pure fun with everyone sharing, tasting, laughing, and talking about how unique and truly tasty this long-lost cousin to the jam really is. I personally cannot wait to get my marmalade-grove on and try my hand at some of her more interesting concoctions!