Jute, Jam and Journalism


Part of Jute, Jam, Journalism and Beyond

And now for the tasty part - Jam!

How did Dundee become known for making jam - or marmalade to be historically correct.

Way back during the 18th century, a chap called James Keillor bought a stranded Spanish ships cargo when it had to shelter in the harbour due to bad weather.

Part of the cargo was a load of Seville oranges which were slightly past their best. His mother Janet took the bargain oranges and boiled them up with some sugar and made orange marmalade. Janet did not invent marmalade as it had been made in Spain and Portugal but known by another name. The difference Janet made was to cut up the peel and add it back into the recipe - not the fibre inside just the peel - cut up finely! She also made it slightly runnier and it was then used to spread on toast and sandwiches.

James Keiller and son sold their marmalade in their grocers shop in Dundee. Eventually, they built a small factory on the high street to manufacture the marmalade in larger quantities. Do you think this is how one of the shopping centres in the town centre got its name?

We love these ceramic marmalade jars (see images on Wikipedia.org).

We decided to have a go at making DSC marmalade - why don’t you give it a try. Ours was a little runnier than it should have been but was quite simple to make.

Boiling sugar gets very very hot so you will need to do this with a grown-up but it was good fun and you only need oranges - some from the reduced counter would do, sugar and water.

You are meant to use a muslin to wrap the orange flesh and drop in the boiling mixture but we didn’t have one so used a small dishtowel instead. Have a look at the worksheet and have a go!

Can you design a label for our marmalade jars?

James Keillor was also thought to be responsible for the Dundee Cake - have you ever seen one in the shops. It looks like a fruit cake with almonds on the top!

This is a more modern version but the same idea!

One of Janet Keillers great great great grandsons was a noted Archaeologist Alexander Keiller and one of her great great great great grandsons is Monty Don who is a television presenter and well-known gardener!

A very famous Dundee family!

If you would like to learn about what makes jam set why not have a look at the information below (from Compound Interest).

What Makes Jam Set? – The Chemistry of Jam-Making
What Makes Jam Set? – The Chemistry of Jam-Making
Let's Make DSC Marmalade
Let's Make DSC Marmalade (PDF)
Ceramic Jars
Ceramic Jars
Dundee Cake
Dundee Cake
Alexander Keiller (Archaeologist)
Alexander Keiller (Archaeologist)
Monty Don
Monty Don (Television Presenter)

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