Oranges, marmalade oranges, Seville sour oranges to be precise, no other to be borne!
You cannot buy decent marmalade in the USA unless you buy UK import stuff which is still the cheap end of the market, pretty gruesome stuff. The locals here make marmalade with any old sweet oranges, pallid tepid stuff of no use at all to put iron in the soul of your toast!
A girlfriend of mine who has a truck farm also has a stand at the redoubtable Pike’s Place Market in Seattle. For those of you that don’t know it, it is an old famous covered market selling food exotica to the well heeled of Seattle at positively extortionate prices, make you faint type prices. I had scoured Bellingham for Seville oranges and had some pretty weird looks and had been shown the door with the ‘what are they’ type comments. (Bellingham is a bloody useless town!)
Bright idea as Gretchen goes to Seattle at least once a week and has trucks running up and down daily to see if she could get them for me. She could and did. They have a very short season and have to be ordered generally. They took three weeks to arrive, still ripening.
A fascinating revelation. Grown by a specialist grower in California who has a niche market for all sorts of weird oranges I had never heard of, frightfully expensive and beautifully, magnificently tree ripened to perfection and delivered, fresh, blooming and scented to knock you socks off! Some of you may well make marmalade in the UK as I did, but I never was able to purchase them in this condition, they were always yellowy greenish, small, a bit wizened, lopsided and marginally flaccid by the time I got them, (sounds like some of the ex husbands!)
I set to work and made two large batches, one a clear jelly marmalade with thin rind strips which I prefer and like to cook with- it makes the best underjam for a proper bakewell tart, the soft eggy ones. The other for spousal unit who prefers the Dundee style of stuff. Gretchen had half a dozen jars as a thank you and others have been distributed as suitable bribes for favours yet to be garnered in. I am rather known for my preserves here.
What I want to know is from you foreign living denizens is, like decent tea can you get decent marmalade where you are? Can you actually buy Seville sour oranges? If you can, are they like the ones here or the sad specimens we normally get in the UK? Do any of you actually bother to make your own?
For any of you that might like to look at various weird oranges the farm sells direct and has an interesting web site called Ripeforyou.com