Along with countless others up and down the country, no doubt, we thoroughly enjoyed the Paddington 2 film. As a child I loved the Michael Bond books and Paddington’s fondness for marmalade sandwiches, though there was never marmalade-making on the scale seen in the prison kitchen in this latest film!
I have to admit that I have never made ‘proper’ marmalade – that is, chopping up Seville oranges and making it from scratch. But I do enjoy the convenience of using the large tins of prepared fruit to make a batch every now and then. It’s nice, but not quite as nice as my Mum’s home-made marmalade (“there’s nothing quite like Granny’s marmalade”, as my daughter put it the other day).
So January has come around and with it the Seville oranges on the market stalls. Mum duly went off to buy some, but needed us to buy the jam sugar, which her local Co-op doesn’t stock. I spoke to her on the phone earlier and I gather that she has already chopped the fruit and tomorrow’s project will be making the marmalade. She doesn’t consume a huge amount herself, but it’s great that she still has the energy to continue making it, as her mother did before her.
In Granny’s 1937 diary the marmalade-making in Croydon seems to go on for days and days! It started on Monday 18th: “cut up oranges in the evening”. The following day: “made marmalade and cut up more oranges evening”. Wednesday 20th: “Dull and cold. Made marmalade”. Thursday 21st: “cutting up oranges after tea”. Friday 22nd: “making marmalade and cakes morning…cut up more oranges after tea”. Saturday 23rd: “made marmalade”. And then a two-day respite before Tuesday 26th: “Did ironing, sitting room and shopping. Cut up more oranges in evening”, and finally Wednesday 27th: “very cold east wind. Made marmalade”. Phew! I wonder how many jars she made and how long that lasted her family? The 1938 diary, which I have just started transcribing, describes the marmalade-making in a similar vein and at much the same time. Seville oranges are only available to buy in this country for a very short time, but apparently you can freeze them whole quite successfully, which would enable you to make marmalade at any time.
I suppose having risen to the challenge and successfully made my own Christmas cake for the first time there may well come a time when I might try my hand at ‘proper’ marmalade-making. I think I should at some point…I might just need a week off work to do so!
Marmalade sandwich, anyone?