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Best store-bought marmalade? May 13, 2014

Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. We’re big fans of marmalade here at Hawk’s Haven, the cottage home our friend Ben and I share in the precise middle of nowhere, PA. If we’re indulging in toast or English muffins or croissants for breakfast, we typically eat them hot with butter and a choice of marmalade and another jelly, jam or preserves, such as sour cherry jam or Alma Weaver’s locally famous hot pepper jellies (blackberry/Czech Black or apricot/Lemon Drop, for example). Yum!

Unfortunately, OFB—who indulges in these breakfast treats almost daily—isn’t the best at telling me when the marmalade’s about to run out. This is pretty aggravating, since I often use marmalade for cooking, as well—a couple of tablespoons in a pot of lentils or a teaspoon mixed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a dressing over mixed greens, mandarin oranges, red onion, and almonds, for example. So, when I noticed there was hardly a teaspoon left in our current jar, and OFB and I were heading off on our weekly grocery round, I added marmalade to my list.

I’m not desperately picky when it comes to marmalade. I like marmalade made with bitter Seville oranges, including shreds of rind, as is traditional. But I also like marmalade made with grapefruit, and would love to try blood orange marmalade. I’d rather have quince jelly than quince marmalade (the first kind of marmalade, before it was made from citrus), and don’t care for lemon or lime marmalade, unless you’re adding them to a pie or frosting. I’m sorry that sugar has to be a major ingredient in marmalade, but given the bitter component of the peels, it makes sense. (Another reason I view marmalade as an indulgence.)

So OFB and I went to a little local grocery after running errands this past Saturday. Running down my list, I said, “Ben, we need marmalade!” We swung by the jelly/peanut butter/bread aisle (see what you think of that). There was orange marmalade. Yay! There was its ingredients list, with high-fructose corn syrup listed as the first ingredient. Yikes! But fortunately, there was an alternative: Smucker’s orange marmalade. I would be happy to pay the premium to get real marmalade with real sugar. But alas, its first ingredient was high fructose corn syrup, as well.

Returning home empty-handed, I rushed to the fridge and sure enough, the almost-empty jar (thanks, OFB) also listed high-fructose corn syrup as its main ingredient. Turning to my good friend Google, I searched for marmalade without sugar or with real sugar. I came up with a handful of recipes. I don’t know about you, but damned if I’m zesting anything; I want my marmalade premade in a jar. So I tried again, and this time, I got a hit from Smucker’s. Sheesh, I thought, I guess they make real marmalade after all! But clicking on the link, I saw that it was for sugar-free marmalade made with Splenda. I have nothing against Splenda, I just don’t want it in my marmalade. Back to the drawing board.

I finally struck gold when I searched for “what’s the best brand of marmalade.” Readers recommended Dundee, Polaner All Fruit, Rose’s, Trappist Monk marmalades, Sara Beth’s, Robertson’s Thick Cut, Stonewall Kitchen’s pink grapefruit marmalade, Wilkin & Sons Tiptree marmalades (especially the Tawny Thick-Cut and Crystal), Busha Browne’s, June Taylor’s, Robert Lambert’s, and Frank Cooper’s Oxford marmalades. Unfortunately, many of these are imported or artisanal brands that must be mail-ordered at premium prices. But some of them (Polaner, Robertson’s, Dundee) might be available in a decent-sized grocery store. Next time OFB and I go grocery shopping, I plan to keep my eyes peeled!

Do you have a favorite marmalade?

‘Til next time,

Silence

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