The Oranges of Seville with Clare Harman
When my husband first mentioned moving to Seville, I must admit I did think oranges. Being English, Seville Orange Marmalade is a big thing. It is always served with toast, my parents have marmalade making day every year when the oranges come into our shops and let’s not forget our lovely Paddington Bear. When we came here on our looksy visit a year ago, I was not disappointed when outside the airport, we had to collect our rental car from a car park lined with trees laden with oranges.
Now admittedly, seville oranges are not for everyone. The moors apparently introduced them everywhere in Seville as whilst the “table oranges” also grow here, the bitter oranges meant that the pretty fruits were not picked and thus left to look ornamental on the trees. However, in England they are a big thing. Last week we walked down the road and filled our pockets on the way back from the park with my little boys.
My Spanish husband and I then made our first batch of truly Seville Marmalade. Now, admittedly, it wasn’t as good as my Mum’s, we missed the bit about how much water to add and ended up having to boil it for hours before the jammy wrinkle test worked but you know what? It tastes like marmalade and no airmiles involved!
Every year, it’s reported that the King of Spain arranges for oranges from the Alcazar to go to the Queen of England for her kitchens to make their marmalade. With our marmalade, it is apparent that it is not to the sweet Spanish palate. One of my husband’s colleagues now complains that every time he now sees an orange, the bitter taste comes back to his mouth. Brits are also divided, indeed I have to take out the orange peel bits that are in the marmalade and my son was very disappointed by the bitterness. The fact that packets of sugar are added to the fruit, is testament to the very strong flavour of the oranges!
In Seville, the oranges are used sometimes for its scent in perfume style products but otherwise they are not used and the oranges are seen heavy on the tree branches until they fall and roll down the road or are collected by the local councils. Needless, to say I have plenty to make my marmalade! Ultimately I don’t think that I will be starting a mini-marmalade business in Seville but I do seem to have more interest from my friends in the orange curd and seville orange gin recipes that I found!