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Making Oxford Marmalade

Posted on April 16, 2012 by hannah.aspey


As an antidote to the Boat Race fiasco and defeat, making marmalade provided an intensive and lengthy distraction. Peeling the fruit and separating the pith and pips, however, turned out to be an exercise in stamina and determination rather than the imagined  labour of love.

The final stages of the instructions required all ingredients to be simmered for a good hour, made slightly less tortuous towards the end by the cold plate and wrinkle test on the now deliciously sticky syrup. Sealed in jars, the resulting marmalade looks quite good - not as dark as the famous Frank Cooper’s Vintage  Oxford Marmalade but reassuringly similar to the Fine Cut version.  

According to Wikipedia, Frank Cooper's wife, Sarah-Jane, made her first batch of marmalade in 1874 to sell in their grocery shop at 83-84 High Street in Oxford.  It proved so popular, that in 1903 production was moved to a new purpose-built factory at 27, Park End Street.

Apparently, Frank Cooper's marmalade was especially popular with Oxford University dons and students.  It was also taken to Antarctica on Robert Falcon Scott's expedition to the South Pole, and a jar was found buried in the ice many years after the ill-fated expedition.

Today the Frank Cooper brand is owned by Premier Foods who continue to manufacture the marmalade and distribute it to across the UK and no doubt all over the world.

As an original and surviving Oxford brand that is still popular today, perhaps we should stock the marmalade.  Let us know your thoughts.

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