3 Marmalade


Seville orange marmalade with rind

Marmalade is a fruit preserve made from the juice and peel of citrus fruits, boiled with sugar and water. The benchmark citrus fruit for marmalade production in Britain is the "Seville orange" from Spain, Citrus aurantium var. aurantium, thus called because it was originally only grown in Seville in Spain; it is higher in pectin than sweet oranges and therefore gives a good set. The peel has a distinctive bitter taste which it imparts to the marmalade. Marmalade can be made from lemons, limes, grapefruits, mandarins and sweet oranges or any combination thereof. For example, California-style marmalade is made from the peel of sweet oranges and consequently lacks the bitter taste of Seville orange marmalade.

In languages other than English, "marmalade" can mean preserves made with fruit other than citrus. For example, in Spanish the term usually refers to what in English is called jam (and "jalea" is similar to the English jelly). In Portuguese "marmelada" applies chiefly to quince jam (from "marmelo", the Portuguese for quince).[1][2] In Italian too, marmellata means every jam and marmalade, as it does Mermelada in Italian-influenced Rioplatense Spanish.

Marmalade recipes include sliced or chopped fruit peel simmered in sugar, fruit juice and water until soft. Marmalade is sometimes described as jam containing fruit peel but manufacturers also produce peel-free marmalade. Marmalade is often eaten on toast for breakfast.



Marmalade jars
Antique marmalade cutter, a device used to cut the peel of the citrus fruit into thin slices for the marmalade

The Romans learned from the Greeks that quinces slowly cooked with honey would "set" when cool (though they did not know about fruit pectin). Greek μελίμηλον (melimēlon, "honey fruit") transformed into "marmelo"—for in Greek μῆλον (mēlon, "apple") stands for all globular fruits, and most quinces are too astringent to be used without honey. A Roman cookbook attributed to Apicius gives a recipe for preserving whole quinces, stems and leaves attached, in a bath of honey diluted with defrutum—Roman marmalade. Preserves of quince and lemon appear—along with rose, apple, plum and pear—in the Book of ceremonies of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos, "a book that is not only a treatise on the etiquette of imperial banquetting in the ninth century, but a catalogue of the foods available and dishes made from them."[3]

Medieval quince preserves, which went by the French name cotignac, produced in a clear version and a fruit pulp version, began to lose their medieval seasoning of spices in the 16th century. In the 17th century, La Varenne provided recipes for both thick and clear cotignac.[4]

In 1524, Henry VIII received a "box of marmalade" from Mr. Hull of Exeter.[5] As it was in a box, this was likely to have been marmelada, a quince paste from Portugal , still made and sold in southern Europe. Its Portuguese origins from marmalado can be detected in the remarks in letters to Lord Lisle, from William Grett, 12 May 1534, "I have sent to your lordship a box of marmaladoo, and another unto my good lady your wife" and from Richard Lee, 14 December 1536, "He most heartily thanketh her Ladyship for her marmalado".[4] The extension of "marmalade" in the English language to refer to citrus fruits was made in the 17th century, when citrus first began to be plentiful enough in England for the usage to become common.

In some continental Europe languages, Polish for instance, a word sharing a root with "marmalade" refers to all gelled fruit conserves, and those derived from citrus fruits merit no special word of their own. Due to British influence, however, only citrus products may be sold as "marmalade" in the European Union (with certain exceptions[clarification needed]), which has led to considerable complaints from those countries.[citation needed]

In Portugal, where the modern use of the word originated, "marmelada" refers only to a solid gel-like substance made of quinces.[citation needed] Any other use of the word is considered improper both linguistically and technically.


Marmalade spread on bread

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "marmalade" appeared in English language in 1480, borrowed from French marmelade which, in turn, came from the Portuguese marmelada. According to José Pedro Machado’s Dicionário Etimológico da Língua Portuguesa,[6] the oldest known document where this Portuguese word is to be found is Gil Vicente’s play Comédia de Rubena, written in 1521:

Temos tanta marmelada
Que minha mãe vai me dar um pouco[7]

In Portuguese, according to the root of the word, which is marmelo, "quince", marmelada is a preserve made from quinces, quince cheese. Marmelo in turn derives from Latin melimelum, “honey apple”,[8] which in turn comes from the earlier Greek μελίμηλον (melímēlon),[9] from "μέλι" (meli), "honey"[10] + "μήλον" (mēlon), "apple".[11]

Dundee Marmalade

The Scottish city of Dundee has a long association with marmalade.[12][13] In 1797, James Keiller and his mother Janet ran a small sweet and preserves shop in the Seagate section of Dundee; they opened a factory to produce "Dundee Marmalade",[14] a marmalade containing thick chunks of Seville orange rind, a business that eventually prospered.[15] Keillers' well-known claim to have 'invented' orange marmalade in 1797 is debunked by such references as "My wife has made marmalade of oranges for you" in James Boswell's letter to Dr. Johnson of April 24, 1777.[16]

Classical Meisterfloetist and American cryptology pioneer Lambros D. Callimahos was a great lover of Dundee marmalade, establishing amongst his students an informal group he called the Dundee Society.

See also


  1. ^ Wilson, C. Anne. The Book of Marmalade: Its Antecedents, Its History and Its Role in the World Today (Together with a Collection of Recipes for Marmalades and Marmalade Cookery), University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia. Revised Edition 1999. ISBN 0-8122-1727-6
  2. ^ "Marmalade" in Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper apud Dictionary.com
  3. ^ Maguelonne -Samat, (Anthea Bell, tr.) A History of Food 2nd ed. 2009, p. 507
  4. ^ a b C. Anne Wilson, The Book of Marmalade: its Antecedents, Its History, and Its Role in the World Today, revised ed., 1999, p.32 & others
  5. ^ Public Record Office, Letters and Papers, Foreign & Domestic, of the reign of Henry VIII, vol. VI (1870) p.339, noted by Wilson 1999, p. 31f, and by other writers.
  6. ^ "Etymological Dictionary of the Portuguese Language"
  7. ^ Translation: We have so much quince jelly/ That my mother will give me some. Maria João Amaral, ed. Gil Vicente, Rubena (Lisbon:Quimera) 1961 (e-book)
  8. ^ Klein’s Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language
  9. ^ Melimelon, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  10. ^ μέλι, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  11. ^ μήλον, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  12. ^ The British Food Trust
  13. ^ Dundee Marmalade
  14. ^ James Keiller & Son Dundee Marmalade
  15. ^ W.M. Matthew, The Keiller Dynasty 1800-1879 narrates the history of Keillers; BBC News "Legacies: Keiller's: Sticky Success": offers an abbreviated version.
  16. ^ Life of Johnson - Vol II (1791)

Further reading

  • Allen, Brigid (1989). Cooper's Oxford: A history of Frank Cooper Limited. 
  • Mathew, W. M.. Keiller's Of Dundee: The Rise of the Marmalade Dynasty 1800-1879. 
  • Mathew, W. M.. The Secret History of Guernsey Marmalade. 
  • Wilson, C. Anne (1985). The Book of Marmalade: its antecedents, its history and its rôle in the world today together with a collection of recipes for marmalades & marmalade cookery. Constable. ISBN 0094656703. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Marmalade —    Marmalade is a bitter, jellylike preserve, once made from quinces but now primarily from oranges, including some of their peel. This word has thrived in folk stories, even though there is no direct line between the preserve and its ancestor.… …   Dictionary of eponyms

  • Marmalade — Mar ma*lade (m[aum]r m[.a]*l[=a]d), n. [F. marmelade, Pg. marmelada, fr. marm[ e]lo a quince, fr. L. melimelum honey apple, Gr. meli mhlon a sweet apple, an apple grafted on a quince; me li honey + mh^lon apple. Cf. {Mellifluous}, {Melon}.] A… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Marmalade — war eine schottische Popgruppe, die zwischen 1968 und 1976 insgesamt 8 Hits unter den ersten zehn zu verzeichnen hatte. Aufgrund ihrer Berühmtheit wurde ein Cocktail nach ihr benannt, der Marmaladdie . Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Bandgeschichte 2… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • marmalade — late 15c., from M.Fr. marmelade, from Port. marmelada quince jelly, marmalade, from marmelo quince, by dissimilation from L. melimelum sweet apple, originally fruit of an apple tree grafted onto quince, from Gk. melimelon, from meli honey (see… …   Etymology dictionary

  • marmalade — ► NOUN ▪ a preserve made from citrus fruit, especially bitter oranges. ORIGIN Portuguese marmelada quince jam , from marmelo quince …   English terms dictionary

  • marmalade — [mär′mə lād΄] n. [OFr marmelade < Port marmelada, orig., confection of quinces < marmelo, quince < L melimelum < Gr melimēlon, sweet apple < meli, honey (see MILDEW) + mēlon, apple] a jamlike preserve made by boiling the pulp, and… …   English World dictionary

  • marmalade — Collective term for alcoholic beverages; however, cannot be used to express the alcohol content level. Marmalade is marmalade 30 proof marmalade would be wrong. Got any marmalade? OR Shall I bring marmalade? …   Dictionary of american slang

  • marmalade — 1. noun /ˈmɑː(ɹ)m.ə.leɪd/ Citrus fruit variant of jam but distinguished by being made slightly bitter by the addition of the peel and by partial caramelisation during manufacture. Most commonly made with Seville oranges, and usually qualified by… …   Wiktionary

  • marmalade — n. orange marmalade * * * [ mɑːməleɪd] orange marmalade …   Combinatory dictionary

  • marmalade — [16] The word marmalade originally denoted ‘quince jam’. It comes via French from Portuguese marmelada, a derivative of marmelo ‘quince’. And marmelo goes back via Latin melimēlum to Greek melímēlon, a term meaning literally ‘honeyapple’ which… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

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