It’s that time of the year again, the air is fragrant with the smell of marmalade bubbling away in pots throughout the Ballymaloe Cookery School. Such a joy to be able to welcome students back to start the Spring Program. Seven nationalities this time, all super excited and eager to learn and determined to pack as much as possible into the next 12 weeks.
Many, in fact most have never made marmalade before, so they are delighted to discover how easy and rewarding it is. They are so proud of their jars, carefully lined up on the shelf side by side with the raspberry jam they learned how to make in the first week to slather onto Sweet Crunchy Scones.
So how about a marmalade making session this week? The Seville oranges are in season, you’ll find them in your local greengrocer, Catriona Daunt and Willi Doherty of Organic Republic will have organic oranges on their stalls at Midleton, Bantry, Mahon Point and Douglas Farmers Markets – so worth the little extra they cost – see organic_republic on Instagram. Blood oranges have just arrived into the shops too, as have bergamots, how exotic do they sound and they also make a delicious marmalade.
Jam making doesn’t tend to appeal much to lads but marmalade gets some chaps really excited – older men particularly have very fixed ideas on what perfect marmalade should taste like. Some like it bitter and dark, others prefer a fresh citrusy flavour, a dash of Irish whiskey or a couple of dollops of black treacle for extra depth of flavour.
I’m loving our blood orange and Campari marmalade, a twist on one of my favourite aperitif combos.
Oranges are not the only citrus that make good marmalade, three-fruit marmalade can be made at any time of the year, e.g. orange, lemon and grapefruit. Kumquat marmalade is also a super delicious luxurious treat and don’t forget clementine, mandarin or tangerine marmalade all made in a similar way and now in season too.