To us here at Dalemain House in Cumbria it is always a golden time, surrounded by beautiful marmalade and warm memories of the extraordinary jars we’ve received from around the world. But for our friends in Japan, the period of holidays known as Golden Week from April 29th – May 5th are a time when the nation goes on holiday, relaxes and – if the weather is fine – gets outdoors to enjoy the natural marvels in the countryside. While the cherry blossom season is coming to an end, there’s still much more to see and do as the latest BBC Springwatch Japan programme has filmed.

Japanese cherry blossom opening… What a sight!  #Springwatch

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Spring’s flowers just starting to bud

Wherever you are in the world, April and May are a time of magic in the garden, whether it’s the flowers just starting to bud and appear in the northern hemisphere, or the closing of summer and autumn’s beautiful colours south of the equator. As Japan’s Ambassador to the UK, Mr Koji Tsuruoka said when he visited the World Marmalade Awards in March (see our video above), this natural majesty “is one commonality I think [we] can appreciate”. A respect for nature is one part of our life that many of us share with Japan, and at The World Marmalade Awards we like to think that each citrus preserve you make extends the season and captures some aspect of extraordinary edible nature inside each jar.

For example, in Japan’s Kōchi prefecture right now, at the Tosa Kitagawa Farm’s yuzu citrus orchard, the new season’s blossoms are appearing there that will become the fruit harvested in December. In Seville at Ave Maria farm, where some of the world’s finest bitter oranges are grown, the blossom is just appearing on the trees. Here in the UK the fruit trees are beginning to bud and blossom, beautifully shown at The National Orchard Collection at Brogdale’s Hanami Festival this month. No matter how much chaos and strife we see in the newspapers, our gardens will still quietly and remarkably prepare to bear fruit this coming autumn.

Marmalade making in Japan

Marmalade and citrus preserve making is a growing passion in Japan, and we have sen many gold and silver winners from Japan over the past 10 years at the awards. This year we were especially impressed by the small artisan producer You-Ichi, from Hiroshima, and their low-sugar citrus preserves. One entry used the citrus fruit Kabosu, a relative of the Yuzu, and combined it with sake lees for a wine-like aroma alongside the bright sourness of the Kabosu. Yuzu is a very popular citrus fruit in Japan, and since 2008 we’ve had hundreds of Yuzu entries at the awards.

明日明後日は #スミカ オープンデイ 久々のオープンになります😂 明日はあのクリスマスの時のピスタチオケーキを作る予定です! イチゴ美味しいしね! jamも新作ゾクゾク 充実しています^_^ – you-Ichi 4/22,23牛田早稲田 #スミカ オープンデイ 4/22 12:00-16:30 4/23 12:00-17:00 広島市東区牛田早稲田2-15-59 082-577-3221 – 住宅地の中にあるため #駐車場のご用意がございません 近隣のパーキングをご利用の上、グーグルマップでご来店おすすめいたします。 バス停ですと #牛田旭 #牛田本町 辺りが最寄りとなります – そして来週はどどっと色んなご紹介が! 初めてのお仕事も、先日のケータリングも! 楽しい仕事に囲まれて幸せです😊 – #サガワユーイチ #jam #牛田早稲田 #限定オープン #お菓子 #販売

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5 ways to introduce Japanese flavours into your marmalade-inspired cooking

  1. While the fresh citrus fruit Yuzu is easily available as a juice in the UK, the whole fruit is much harder to find (though this may change in the future). Both Waitrose and Sous Chef sell bottles of the juice. Over on the Great British Chefs website there are lots of recipes using Yuzu juice.
  2. Try adding sake to your marmalade. One of one winners, and now judge, Hideko Kawa at Sweet Art Lab in London sells (in season) marmalade made of pricy fresh Yuzu and sake, utterly delicious and a special-occassion preserve.
  3. One of our favourite desserts here at Dalemain is marmalade rice pudding and all the better with creamy rice flavoured with Sake wine. Use Sake as you would a fortified wine like sherry, so if marmalade bread and butter pudding is your weakness then try adding sake to flavour the custard.
  4. If we were ruling the world, every bartender would have a great marmalade cocktail recipe like they do at Hawksmoor in London. And for us a lime marmalade infused vodka Sakatini recipe is just the ticket. Put 50ml each of sake and vodka in a shaker with one heaped teaspoon of your best lime marmalade. Shape over ice and strain into a martini glass.
  5. For a sweet citrus and tamari marinade, excellent roasting or grilling meats, from simple sausages through to crisp chicken, then mix 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger with 1 tablespoon of Clearspring (or other) Japanese Tamari and 2 tablespoons mandarin (or other) marmalade. Brush this over the meat 5 minutes before the end of cooking to give a big citrus kick to the flavour.