Sunday, March 6, 2011

Marvellous Marmalade: A Cure for the Winter Blues

Yes, I know I promised that I would blog about bread - and I have (in a way) - by posting Aunty O'Valerie's Irish Soda Bread recipe as the Recipe of the Month. Which is soooo totally appropriate for March -  yes?

Agreed, then. BUT. Just one thing.

Before we get to blogging about bread there is a foundation that needs to be put in place.

Yes. Jam.

That's what I'm saying. We can't even begin to talk about bread without jamming about jam. (Well, marmalade to be precise!) For, after all, what is bread without jam? Nekkid. That's what. Of course there is BUTTER. (Thanks for pointing that out.) And it is true that I could easily devote an entire post to the virtues of butter, but for now it is jam that will carry the day.

Last week, I attended a marmalade-making class. Seriously. Can you imagine my happiness when I received a flyer from the local Community Kitchens coordinator (none other than my dear friend, Cie, she of previous blog posts about brunch) promoting local preserving workshops? What luck!

Cie, along with the amazing Kathy Marven (a marvel) of de la Bouche Specialty Foods have teamed up to offer three canning workshops this spring: Marmalade, Winter Chutnies, and Spring Jams. My oh my. Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway) I'm signed up for all three. Apron and camera in tow.

The class was one of the best things I've done all year. Cie and Kathy talked about the history of marmalade and the Seville orange trade - (Sevilles in season now, btw) and then Kathy demonstrated the method and technique of making a sparklingly beautiful Pink Grapefruit Marmalade. 

Outside, it was a filthy night. Inside, we snugly circled the demo table while the preserving kettle bubbled away on the community stove and the tang of citrus stung the air. We passed around odd-looking peeling and preserving tools, taste-tested oranges and lemons and conspiratorially swapped favourite canning stories as though trading national secrets.

We finished with the Great Marmalade Taste-Off. We compared the evening's batch with two or three of Kathy's other specialties and a couple of store-bought brands. Hands-down winner? You guessed it.

And we each went home, fully contented, with our own jar.  A perfect pink cure for the winter blues.

Next up? Toast and jam. In my jammies.

To find out more about Community Kitchens, click on the link.

de la Bouche Specialty Foods can be found at the Haney Farmer's Market (May-October) or via email:

Seville Oranges are VERY SOUR.

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  1. I am so sorry to have missed the workshop, so I am extra grateful for your post!

  2. It really was a lovely night. You were certainly there is spirit. I hope you can come to the next one(s).

  3. A quick note - I am told there will actually be EIGHT preserving classes! Oh jammy rapturous joy!!!

    Stay tuned.