This section is from the book "Meals Medicinal", by W. T. Fernie. Also available from Amazon: Meals Medicinal: With "Herbal Simples" Curative Foods From the Cook in Place of Drugs From the Chemist.
Originally "Marmelada," so named from the Spanish "Mar-melas," or Quince, was a confection of that fruit. But the appellation has become extended to those of the Orange, the Lemon, and other fruits, as "preserves" of pulpy consistence, made with sugar, though these ought rather to be termed jams. There is a Marmalade tree (Lucana mammosa), which yields a fruit of which the juice resembles Marmalade. Pepys, in his diary, November, 1663, tells that "after a good dinner I left Mrs. Hunt and my wife making a Marmelett of quinces." Dr. Johnson was disliked personally by Mrs. Boswell, and he knew it, but on one occasion she sent him as a conciliatory offering a jar of her Marmalade. "Tell Mrs. Boswell," wrote he to her husband, "I shall taste her Marmalade cautiously at first: timeo Danaos, et dona ferentes." In Hardy's Tess of the Turbervilles, the embellisher of "little Sorrow's grave" favours the Marmalade "of one particular maker." The respective sorts of Marmalade form capital vehicles for fruit virtues as of curative use, each according to the constituent juices and salts which are thereby represented. That of the bitter Seville Orange, is certainly a gentle and pleasant laxative.
Orange Marmalade is of such widespread use that no directions need be given for its manufacture, always provided the materials are genuine. A widespread, and well-merited preference is given to the noted firm (Frank Cooper) at Oxford, favoured by its Colleges, from Dan even unto Beersheba. Again, Orange Marmalade with honey, is excellent against constipation. For Lemon Marmalade, capital against scorbutic troubles: boil one pound of fresh lemons in one pint of water for two hours. Change the water, and replace it with the same quantity of boiling water. Then cut the lemons into small thin slices, taking out all the pips. To each pound of fruit thus prepared add two pounds of loaf sugar. Put the sugar in a stew-pan with half a pint of water to each pound of sugar; when this is quite dissolved add the fruit, and boil for half an hour, stirring all the time. Or, take some nice lemons, and cut them very thin, remove all the pips carefully, and to each pound of fruit allow three pints of cold water; let it stand till next day, then boil all together until tender; next pour into a large bowl, and again let it stand until the morrow; weigh it, and to every pound of fruit add one and a half pounds of good loaf sugar: boil all together till it jellies, and the chips are quite transparent, which will take three-quarters of an hour after it has come thoroughly to the boil.
The dietetic use of Lemons, and of lemon-juice, will obviate a disposition to gall-stones, as frequent experience has shown. A pretty table device is to be made with the Lemon, by holding it lengthwise upright, and then towards the upper end cut out from each side a small quarter, leaving a handle of the peel between. Scoop out the juicy pulp from within the handle, but leave it entire in the body of the basket made in this way; then cut horizontally a small slice from the bottom, and so that the lemon may be able to stand upright. It will be an elegant serving accompaniment with smelts, or pancakes, putting for the former this little basket in the centre of a plate, with a garnish of parsley, and with rolls of brown bread and butter around.
Quince Marmalade is famously cordial, strengthening both the stomach, and the heart, - as meat, and as medicine. It is the true claimant to the name Marmalade. This fruit (coignasse) of the Pyrus cydonia, is when raw, hard and austere, with a strong characteristic odour and taste (which can be chemically reproduced as cenanthic ether). It is then an astringent fruit to stay diarrhoea; and a syrup may be concocted from its uncooked juice for such a purpose. The quince is made edible by boiling, or baking, being used frequently for preserves, pies with apple, and for Marmalade aforesaid. For making this last confection, to every pound of quince-substance allow three-quarters of a pound of loaf sugar. Slice the quinces into a preserving pan, adding sufficient water for them to float: place them on the fire to stew till reduced to a pulp, keeping them stirred occasionally from the bottom to prevent their burning: then pass the pulp through a hair sieve to keep back the skin and seeds. Weigh the pulp, and to each pound add lump sugar as directed above, breaking this very small. Place the whole on the fire, and keep it well stirred from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, until reduced to a Marmalade; which may be known by dropping a little on a cold plate, when, if it jellies, it is done.
Put it into jars whilst hot, let it cool, and cover with pieces of oiled paper cut to the size of the jar tops. Three hours should bo the time for boiling the quinces without the sugar, and three-quarters of an hour to boil the pulp with the sugar. In olden times a famous pie was made mainly from this fruit. The Art of Cookery (1709), relates how one "Trotter, from Quince and Apples first did frame A pyc, which still retains his proper name; Though common grown, yet with white sugar strewed, And butter'd well, its goodness is allowed".
Furthermore, the Quince had a former reputation for curing "Ye toothache, if it proceeds from heate," as "a certain remedy".
In the Arcana Fairfaxiana (1695), we may read: "Take two or three Plantain leaves, cut them smalle with a knife, and putt them in a little piece of linninge cloathe, and straine 2 droppes of quince into ye partie's contrary eare, and before you can tell to 20, ye cure is done." The seeds of a Quince (some sixty within each fruit) swell out when soaked in water, and develop a demulcent mucilage which contains salts of lime. Quince wine is sometimes made, which has an astringent effect in chronic diarrhoea. This fruit is almost entirely free from acid. An after-taste suggestive of garlic, is left on the palate by the Marmalade, or by Quince syrup.
Another Marmalade, that of Apricots, is useful for subduing the nausea of a stomach qualmish through nervous indigestion. Take four pounds of sound ripe Apricots, with two and a half pounds of sugar; stone the fruit, and put it into a pan with a sufficient quantity of water, and boil it up a few times: throw it into a sieve to drain it, then pulp it in the colander, and throw the pulp, the sugar, and a few of the kernels (blanched) from the broken stones, into a preserving pan. Cook the whole, whilst constantly stirring it with a wooden spoon. When the mixture has reached the consistency of jelly, or when the mass boils in such a manner that you can see the bottom of the pan, take the marmalade off the fire and put it into pots. If thoroughly ripe Apricots are used, it is not necessary to cook them in any water. They are fragrant because of their perfumed skin, and somewhat laxative when eaten freely. At Cairo a luscious paste is made from the plentiful fruit, with which almond kernels are incorporated.
Gerarde told that "the Marmalad, or Cotiniat, made of quinces, and sugar is good, and profitable to strengthen the stomach, that it may retain and keep the meat therein until it be perfectly digested. It also stayeth all kinds of fluxes both of the belly, and of other parts, and also of blood. Which Cotiniat is made in this manner. Take four quinces, pare them, cut them in pieces, and cast away the core; then put into every pound of quinces a pound of sugar, and to every pound of sugar a pint of water. These must be boiled together over a still fire till they be very soft; next let it be strained, or rather rubbed through a strainer, or a hairy sieve, which is better. And then set it over the fire to boil again until it be stiff; and so box it up, and as it cooleth put thereto a little rose water, and a few grains of musk, mingled together, which will give a goodly taste to the Cotiniat. This is the way to make Marmalad".
Quinces contain malic acid, and exhale a strong volatile odour by their skins. The ancients regarded this fruit as the emblem of happiness, and love; it was dedicated to Venus.