Last week I got this rant fromt an old friend….
It is marmalade time of year and once again I have now twice spent a good half hour scrubbing jam jars – trying to get off the label residues. I bought that idiotic de-sticking stuff or whatever it’s called – which doesn’t do anything AT ALL. So it is a knife, followed by white spirit followed by the dishwasher – and even then some jars NEVER come clean. Bonne Maman is the only exception – put the jars in the dishwasher and the (obviously water based) glue label floats off.
This year the worm has turned and I want to do something about it – who do I write to? The Waitrose magazine seems tame – surely there is something ‘official’ I could moan at?
(As you can see from this jar that I dug out of the larder, some labels never come off at all and just get written over again – and again…)
I must admit that, not being a marmalade maker (really like the stuff but rarely get round to eating it and certainly, never to making it!) I had never focused on the label problem. But since Jo’s rant I have been asking around and, yes, indeed, everyone seems to have trouble with labels! And yes, Bonne Maman does seem to be the jar of choice. (Do marmalade makers deliberately buy Bonne Maman jam all year so that they will have a good stock of jars with easy-to-remove-labels when marmalade time comes round again? Have Bonne Maman cottoned on to what a great sales pitch this might be?…)
Anyhow, while I do not really have an answer to Jo’s question as to who she should harass about the stickiness of labels, it did remind me of one of my greatest recipe successes during my LBC cooking slot career way back – the Colonel’s Orange Marmalade! The Colonel had come late to cooking but when he did, he took to it with a will and his marmalade was only one of his ‘signature’ dishes. He would be gratified to know that, 30 years later, his recipe was still going strong. So, for those of you who have not yet made this year’s batch:
The Colonel’s Orange Marmalade
Makes 5 kilos / 10 lbs approx.
1.5 kilos / 3 lbs Seville oranges
3 large lemons
3.6 litres / 6 pints water
3 kilos / 6 lbs granulated sugar
Wash all the fruit, squeeze out the juice and pips and set the pips aside. Scrape the pith out of the fruit and put it, with the pips, in a muslin bag. Slice the fruit – how thick or thin will depend on whether you like your marmalade chunky or fine cut – and put it, with the water and the pips and pith in their muslin bag, in a large pan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or till the peel is really soft and the liquid reduced by approximately a half – you must give it its full time otherwise it will not set properly.
Remove the muslin bag, squeeze it well and discard it. Add the sugar and stir till it has dissolved. Boil rapidly till setting point is reached; when a little bit left to cool on a saucer wrinkles when you push it with your finger. Leave the mixture to cool for about 15 minutes then pot in warmed, sterilised jars and cover as usual.
And if you are partial to marmalade, not just on toast but as an ingredient, there are two recipes for marmalade cake on our FreeFrom Recipes Matter site (Polenta and marmalade Christmas cake and a straight Marmalade Cake) and a fine recipe for Baked ham from Nathan Bailey’s blog with a tasty marmalade glaze.