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Jaymes

Keiller Dundee Orange Marmalade

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Is it just me? Or has the recipe for Dundee Orange Marmalade - the one that was good enough for some 200+ years - changed? No longer packed in the familiar white jar, it seems to me that the recipe also, at least for the US market, is much different.

It used to be dark and thick. Now, it's much sweeter, with fewer orange peels per bite. It looks, and tastes, like some US brand, Smucker's, for example.

Although it still says "Product of the UK," I can't help but think they are making it sweeter specifically for Americans.

So I'm wondering...

Is it just me or have others also noticed the difference?

Is it sweeter in the UK, too?

Where can I go to get some of the old bitter recipe?

Or, am I going to have to change brands?

And if so, which one?


Edited by Jaymes (log)

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I don't know the story on the marmalade, but I do know that Bailey's has a different formula for export to the USA. Perhaps many products do.

Looking for a bakery pound cake or an angel food cake a couple of years ago in a pinch, we discovered that both were so much sweeter than in Canada. Canadians like more salt: Americans more sugar. Or so it seems to me. :cool:

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Telephoned the owner of a local UK import store to inquire about this. He said that consumption of bitter orange marmalade has fallen off considerably among Britains in recent years. Said that modern Brits seem to like things sweeter these days, so Keiller & Sons, the makers of that bitter Dundee orange marmalade decided to change the recipe. It is now sweeter, and runnier, with far fewer orange peels. And they no longer pack it in those iconic white jars. And that's for everybody, not just the US market.

I don't understand this. I'm sure they must have their reasons, but it seems to me like the thing to do would have been to continue to produce the variety that has kept them in business for generations, keep it in the white jar, slap "Original" on the label, and then put out the sweeter variety in the clear glass jar.

I'm sure that they must have considered that option, but decided against it for some reason. Whatever the reason, I'm sad about it.

However, the fact that nobody else has posted in this thread tells me that I well may be the only one.

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You are not alone. My name is Katie Meadow and I'm a marmaholic. No jam, just marmalade. Every day. And it has to be bitter and fine-cut. I find a lot of commercial marmalades just cut up all the peel without taking off the pith, and that makes the marmalade cloudy and, well, pithy. And yes, most are far too sweet. When you find a commercially produced product that's good, let me know. There are a couple of people in the bay area who make good artisanal marmalade, but the price is, as you probably know, astronomical, especially if you go through an 8 oz jar in under three weeks like we do. That's why we started making our own. When sevilles become available late January through March we try to make enough to last the year. It's kind of a chore (I'm not a person who loves making preserves by any stretch), but after several years we've gotten our technique down and can produce five or six jars a session with a minimum of trauma. And we manage to make a few extra to give away. Good luck. I know what it's like to miss your marmalade.

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The owner of that British import shop with whom I commiserated regarding the Keiller Dundee told me that many folks have switched to Tiptree and/or Thursday Cottage. He says that each company makes several varieties, including the traditional bitter.

I haven't sought them out and tried them yet, but I'm hopeful.

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That is a true bummer. I loved Keiller Dundee marmelade. Trader Joe's carried out here, they were the only outlet as far as I know. I didn't buy a lot of it, maybe one jar a year, but when I wanted it, I wanted it. Damn. Wonder what TJ's is going to carry in it's place.

I always thought about saving the white glass jar when I'd finished one off. Now I wish I had.

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Yep, that's a downer. Although I could swear I saw some of those white jars in the overpriced supermarket in the basement of the departament store downtown... I should check. I sometimes buy the Mackays marmalades annd ginger preserves, which are not oversweet.

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Yep, that's a downer. Although I could swear I saw some of those white jars in the overpriced supermarket in the basement of the departament store downtown... I should check. I sometimes buy the Mackays marmalades annd ginger preserves, which are not oversweet.

Yesterday in the market I, too, saw the white jars, and went over to look. They were Keiller marmalades - the grapefruit and the combination - but not the bitter orange. Don't know if those other jars are doomed as well. It defies explanation to think that Keiller would keep bottling their other products in those iconic white jars, but cease to bottle the one that made them famous.

Also, the other makers offer a range of sweetness. I just can't imagine why Keiller couldn't.

All very odd.

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Slightly off topic, I guess, but... About fifty years ago, while working in Chicago I used to frequent the Knoll and Herman Miller showrooms at the Merchandise Mart on lunchtime sometimes. One or the other (maybe both) had a Keiller marmalade jar on a table. I assume as a "homey" conrast with the severe furniture. Any way, I bought several jars over the years. I still have a jar next to me holding a bunch of art markers. Probably thirty years old.

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If I turn my head 120 degrees I can see my ancient ceramic Dundee jar, filled with funky paint brushes.

Just consider. Do you think it is possible that when we all first tasted this stuff, which, for those of us not born into a marmalade culture was new and exotic, it tasted a lot more bitter and grown-up than the same recipe would today?

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Just consider. Do you think it is possible that when we all first tasted this stuff, which, for those of us not born into a marmalade culture was new and exotic, it tasted a lot more bitter and grown-up than the same recipe would today?

Well, I do think that the bitter marmalade is an acquired taste. I first was introduced to it in the late 60's when, at the age of 23 and eager for adventure, I moved to Hong Kong by myself. I moved into the YWCA, which was just about half-way up the Victoria Peak tram. It was pretty basic quarters, with a dining hall in the basement. The majority of the residents were Chinese and, for the most part, the dining hall served Chinese food. In the mornings, they served fresh fruit such as mangoes, mangosteens, papaya, pineapple, etc., and, as Hong Kong was a British Royal Crown Colony, a small selection of western-style breads. To go with the bread, there was butter and bitter orange marmalade. The marmalade was the only "sweet" option. At first, I didn't like it at all. In fact, I'm sure that had there been a more-typically American-style sweet jelly or jam available, I wouldn't have eaten the marmalade. But as it was the only thing on the table to go with the bread, I did. It wasn't too long, though, before I learned to absolutely love it. When I came back to the US, I remember trying some American brands, and they were all too sweet for me.

But I don't think that becoming accustomed to the bitterness and the peels is the only reason why it tastes different to us today. Although I'm sure you're right to some degree, there's no question that they've changed the recipe. It doesn't taste sweeter to us now just because we're grown up and used to it. In the case of the Keiller Dundee, anyway, it tastes a lot sweeter because it is.


Edited by Jaymes (log)

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