Edward Lambert’s 1761 Recipe for ‘Orange Marmalade’

“Take six Oranges, grate two of the Rinds of them upon a Grater, then cut them all and pick out the Flesh from the Skins and Seeds ; put to it the grated Rind and about half a Pint of Pippin Jelly ; take the same Weight of Sugar as you have of this Meat so mingled ; boil your Sugar till it blows very strong ; then put in the Meat, and boil all very quick till it becomes a Jelly, which you will find by dipping the Scummer, and holding it up to to drain ; if it be a Jelly it will break from the Scummer in Flakes ; if not, it will run off in little Streams : When it is a good Jelly put it in to your Glasses or Pots.

Note, if you find this Composition too sweet, you may in the boiling add more Juice of Oranges ; the different Quickness they have makes it difficult to prescribe.”

Edward Lambert, The Art of Confectionary (1761)

Earlier this week I spotted Seville oranges for sale in our local delicatessen / greengrocer and I briefly toyed with the idea of buying some and making up a batch of marmalade. I do like a bit of marmalade, now and again. Not as much as the folks at Dalemain House, up in the Lake District, who hold the World Marmalade Awards and Festival every year. And not, it turned out, enough to go ahead with the mooted marmalade-making.

If I had decided to take the plunge and cook up a batch, then I might have turned to Edward Lambert’s 1761 recipe for inspiration. It all seems straightforward enough, and not much different to modern methods, albeit with the addition of a pippin jelly – a good source of pectin, for setting – which Edward helpfully explains how to make in another recipe.

Oranges, sugar, pippin jelly, lots of boiling, and a scummer (or skimmer) of course. All quite easy to try, but I suspect it would be rather tricky to master. This eighteenth century marmalade doesn’t sound as chunky as modern versions usually are, with grated rather than thick-sliced rind added back in to the mix. Quite a smooth textured result, I expect.

How about you? Do you add pippin jelly to your marmalade? What’s your favourite recipe or marmalade making method? Do let me know, via the comments.

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