Homemade jams on a big scale

Homemade jams on a big scale


Major manufacturer Mackays sticks to the traditional methods used by smaller producers in Angus

What says 'home' more than a bubbling pan of fruit and sugar? It is not only the scene at the Mackays factory near Arbroath – the only major jam manufacturer to still use all copper pans – but in small kitchens across Angus.

Whether a cottage industry or a major player, when it comes to jam, traditional methods still prevail. Rochelle Grant, Marketing Manager at Mackays, says copper pans are best because the metal conducts heat well, meaning the jam can easily be brought to a rolling boil and therefore set better. 'It's how jam has always been made and what gives the best flavour,' she says.

Mackays have also kept the same recipes for their favourite jams and use local ingredients wherever they can, especially the famous Angus soft fruits. However, their Mrs Bridges range in particular mixes in new flavours including ginger malt whisky.

The smaller players in the area can compete in unusual flavours such as the strawberry and pink champagne made by Isabella's Preserves, based in Edzell, and Norma's Homemade Preserves, available at local farmers' markets.

Married duo Sarah and Sandy Gray of Aberfeldy Oatmeal inherited their 40-year-old recipe for marmalade from a company they took over in 2001, based on a pulp from imported Seville oranges. Its attraction, says Sandy, is the particular bitterness of the oranges coupled with enough sugar to offer a very balanced flavour. Under Sarah's name, they also produce a marmalade infused with an eight-year-old malt whisky and a new three-fruit marmalade incorporating orange, lemon and grapefruit. Altogether they produce around ten thousand jars a year, and have since moved into an extensive range of popular jams as well.

A Isabella's Preserves
The Galley Kitchen, Edzell Base, Aberdeenshire, DD9 7XH
A regular at festivals and markets, with a web-ordering service, Louise Myles is a serial award winner for jams, marmalades, chutneys and relishes.
B Mackays Ltd
James Chalmers Road, Arbroath, Angus, DD11 3LR
A manufacturer of marmalades, preserves and curds, and the last commercial marmalade producer in the Dundee area, Mackays uses a traditional slow-boiling method in huge copper pans. Raspberries, strawberries and blackcurrants grown in Angus, Perthshire…
C Mrs Bridges
James Chalmers Road, Arbroath, Angus, DD11 3LR
Mrs Bridges is the fictional character from the TV series Upstairs Downstairs, and all sorts of delicious jams and chutneys are being created in her name. There are some imaginative combinations such as beetroot and orange chutney or blueberry curd, and…