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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Perth and Tayside

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Keiller's: Sticky Success

marmalade jar
marmalade jar
© Scran
The Keiller operation grew from humble beginnings, and the truth behind how the family actually started making their famous produce has been somewhat romanticised over the years. Popular folklore decrees that John Keiller, a retired merchant, was one day walking through the harbour area in Dundee and came across a Spanish ship which had arrived in the port to seek shelter from a storm. From this ship he is said to have bought a quantity of Seville oranges and taken them home to his wife, who used these unfamiliar ingredients to make an orange preserve – but somewhere in the process something went amiss and she ended up with what we know today as marmalade.

Up to this point, the story is most probably factually correct, but the events that followed have been exaggerated somewhat to make the Keiller operation, although very successful in its own right, appear to have had a more dramatic rise to prominence than was actually the case.

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Victorian Dundee
The Great British Kitchen- history of marmalade
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