Marmalading: it really is a word. The Oxford English Dictionary says so, citing C.S. Lewis’s diary. Granted, the entry is marked as a rare usage, but still. That’s what I’ve been doing this week – making marmalade.
At first, I was afraid I wasn’t actually making marmalade at all, since my recipe doesn’t involve first boiling orange seeds to release the pectin contained within. Rather, (Satsumas are nearly seedless oranges), I chopped up an apple, tossed it in the pot, and hoped for the best.
Luckily, the OED definition covers this method too:
“a preparation of similar consistency made with other ingredients, such as a sweet preserve of diced ginger in a jelly set with apple pectin, or a relish made by cooking vegetables with sugar and vinegar.”
I’ll get back to you in a later post on the second part of that definition, but for now, I am thrilled that my preparation passes muster with the most venerable authority of the English language. Otherwise, I’d be worried about the legitimacy of this marmalade.
But not the taste.
I’ve made it twice now – once with Satsumas – left over from a case I bought at Christmas time, and once with the classic marmalade orange, the Seville. I prefer the Satsuma variety, but both varieties, and the method (the Seville seeds went into the compost) are toast-worthy.
It’s not only the lack of seeds that makes this marmalade a little strange – fresh brewed tea is another of the main ingredients. For me that’s a plus – I’ll take every little hit of caffeine I can get to start off the day. It’s fine with me if that extra zing is spread on my toast. Since I first imagined this marmalade as a component of a chocolate tart, the fact that it is more than good enough to eat on toast, a scone, or with a spoon is a huge bonus
I’ve been haunted by the combination of chocolate and oranges for years – that prefect balance where neither element is overpowering, or overwhelmingly sweet.
When I was in college, I spend my summers working for a candy making company – picture something like the Rocky Mountain Chocolate stores you see in every tourist trap, but with better ingredients, and without the drab uniformity of a chain store. We made caramel, nut brittles, and fudge – and one of my favorites, (though never a best seller), was the chocolate orange fudge. It was the bitterness of the peel, contrasted with the depth and sweet finish of the chocolate that got me.
And still does.