Monday, 15 August 2011

Wartime cooking - mock orange marmalade

Some foods that were common before the war were either very difficult or impossible to get during the war. Oranges were available during the war but only in small numbers and the ones that were sold in the shops were normally reerved for children. Yet orange marmalade had been a staple of the British breakfast table. How was Britain to cope without her favourite preserve.

The answer was to make a mock orange marmalade. It contains no orange at all but is made instead from apples and carrots! Here's how to make it:

Chop a handful of apples and put them in the jam pan. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Leave simmering for 2 hours.

Strain the resulting pulp through a jelly bag and measure the liquid. Put this into a pan and add in two grated carrots and two teaspoons of orange flavouring. Bring to the boil.

At this point you need to add sugar. Wartime preserves had far less sugar in their jam than nowadays and I suspect the amount I used in this recipe was on the generous side for the war years though 30% less than I use now.

Bring back to the boil and check for the setting point. Once reached, added to sterilised jars.

During the war, your preserve ration was one pound of jam per person every two months. If you gave up your preserve ration, you could get a bit extra sugar to make preserves. Given the meagre preserves ration, making your own instead was a good idea. It was dependent however on having a supply of fresh, locally grown fruit. Most of our fruit was imported before the war and so, from 1939-45, fresh fruit of all types was in short supply (and in some cases such as bananas virtually impossible to get). The Government's efforts to ensure we had our 1940s equivalent of "5 a day" was based on getting us to eat fresh vegetables, especially potatoes and carrots. Britain could be self-sufficient in basic vegetables, even if some, such as onions, had previously been imported.

In this recipe I used wild apples. And picking wild fruit was something that many more people did back in the war years.

By the way, the mock marmalade worked very well.

No comments: