It takes a pot of marmalade to make a British breakfast

Wherever the British live in the world, there will always be a large pot of marmalade gracing the breakfast table. Though much of what is used today is bought, there are still many families who make their own and treat it as something of a rite.

In France, the word is given to a type of compote, a thick sweetened puree of fruit; apricots or apples are the most popular. But marmalade to the English is made from citrus fruits with their shredded peels suspended in jelly.

Purists think the best marmalade is made from Seville or bitter oranges, since they tend to give a sharp, tangy flavor. But Seville oranges are expensive on both sides of the Atlantic and only available for one or two months of the year. Sugar is expensive, too, these days, but most English people would say it is worth it in marmalade.

Find that ordinary sweet oranges make a perfectly good substitute and are generally more popular with children, since they produce a flavor that is not quite so sharp. To add a little zip, you can combine them with some other sharp fruit, such as lemons. Tangerine peel also adds extra tang.

Grapefruit, limes, and lemons all make excellent marmalades -- alone or in combination. Other varieties can also be made from apricots, pineapple, peahces , and pears, while an all-time favorite of mine is an extra-spicy ginger marmalade.

These recipes make big batches of marmalade but can be halved if desired. Seville Orange Marmalade 3 pounds (1.4 kg) Seville oranges 6 tablespoons (90ml) lemon juice 12 cups (3.4 liters) water 12 cups (2.7 kg) sugar

Wash and halve oranges. Squeeze out juice and tie seeds and any loose pulp in muslin. Slice the peel thinly of thickly, according to your preference. Place the peel in a pan with the orange juice, lemon juice, seeds, and water. Simmer gently for about 2 hours or until peel is soft and contents of the pan reduced by about half.

Remove muslin bag, squeezing well into pan. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Boil rapidly until setting point is reached. Leave to stand for about 15 minutes, to prevent peel rising in the jars. Stir gently, then pot and cover. Makes about 10 pounds (4.5 kg), or 20 8-ounce jars. Sweet Orange Marmalade 4 large sweet oranges 8 cups (1.8 kg) sugar 10 cups (2.84 liters) water 5 lemons

Wash the fruit and cut it into thin slices. Put all the seeds into a muslin bag. Put the fruit, water, and bag of seeds into the preserving pan and cook gently for 1 1/2 hours or until the bulk is considerably reduced.

Remove the seeds, add sugar, and stir constantly over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes or until it will jell. Skim and leave to cool a little, then stir and pour into hot jars. Tie down when hot or cold. Lemon Marmalade 6 thin-skinned, juicy lemons, thinly sliced 6 cups (1.7 liters) water Sugar

Put lemons in a pan with water and any seeds. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. Strain through a jelly bag or muslin. Measure juice and return to pan with 2 cups (450 g) of sugar to each 2 cups (600 ml) of juice. Stir to dissolve sugar over a low heat, then bring to the boil and boil rapidly until setting point is reached. Skim, pot and over. Grapefruit Marmalade 3 grapefruit 3 to 4 lemons 9 to 12 cups (2.6 to 3.4 liters) water 12 cups (2.7 kg) sugar

Wash and halve fruit. Remove all seeds and tie them in a muslin bag. Squeeze juice from fruit and cut up peel. Put the peel, juice, water and bag of seeds into a pan. Boil gently for about 2 hours until peel is tender and contents of pan reduced by about half.

Remove bag of seeds, squeezing well and add sugar to the pan. Stir until dissovled, then boil briskly until setting point is reached. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, then stir gently to distribute the peel before potting and covering. Makes about 10 pounds (4.5 kg), or 20 8-ounce jars. Ginger Marmalade 3 large sweet oranges 1 lemon 1 1/4 cups (270 g) sugar 1/4 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda 1 1/2 cups (283 g) crystallized ginger 5 cups (1.14kg) sugar 1/2 cup (11g) Certo 4 to 6 cups (1.1 to 3.3 liters) water

Use potato or apple peeler to remove skin from oranges and lemon so that it is as thin as possible, then cut into fine shreds and combine with water, bicarbonate of soda, and the chopped fruit, without seeds.

Remove white pith from oranges and lemon, cut it up very small, put into a muslin bag with seeds, and add it to the pan.

Cook for 10 minutes, stirring all the time, then lift out the bag of pith and and seeds and simmer 20 minutes. Chop ginger into small pieces. Measure contents of pan and add more water if necessary to make 3 tightly packed cupfuls , then put back into the pan, add ginger and sugar, and bring slowly to the boil , stirring all the time until sugar is dissolved. Boil 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, skim, stir in the Certo, then leave to stand 5 minutes. Put into hot jars and cover.

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