Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: 6 months pokey for you!

Oh dearie me.

Green tomato marmalade

Add chopped crystallised ginger to this if you like, though it\’s good just as it is. Makes about four 450g jars.

5 lemons
1.5kg green tomatoes, cored and cut into 5mm dice
1.7kg granulated sugar

Erm, no, sorry, but I\’m afraid that\’s not allowed. Here.

\”Marmalade\” is a mixture, brought to a suitable gelled consistency, of water, sugars and one or more of the following products obtained from citrus fruit: pulp, purée, juice, aqueous extracts and peel.

The quantity of citrus fruit used in the manufacture of 1000 g of finished product must not be less than 200 g of which at least 75 g must be obtained from the endocarp.

Not enough lemons there for you to use the word \”marmalade\”.

Pumpkin and ginger jam


\”Jam\” is a mixture, brought to a suitable gelled consistency, of sugars, the pulp and/or purée of one or more kinds of fruit and water.

A pumpkin is a squash, not a fruit. You may not use the word \”jam\”.

Courgette and lemon jam

Ditto, courgette a vegetable, not a fruit. Verboeten.

Now, these absolutely essential and terribly important consumer protection laws (just think of the mass poisonings that would occur if people really could sell courgette jam!) are brought to us by the European Union. I too see that such laws are quite vital to stopping German invading France. Again.

They apply only, of course, to offering for sale such products, not to what you might make in your own kitchen. For your own consumption.

However, as we all know harvest festivals are coming and the sale of the odd jar of homemade stuff does happen, money going off to charity perhaps. And recipes for such will be culled from newspapers: this is the very reason they run this article at this time of year. And finally, English law contains equal sentences for conspiracy to commit and act and incitement to commit an act: equal to actually committing that act.
Hugh Fearnly Whittingstall must therefore be prosecuted, with the full vigour of the law, for incitement to breach the Jams, jellies, marmalades and sweet chestnut puree regulations. That\’s a 6 month spell in pokey and a £5,000 fine please.

No, I\’m sorry, no mitigation is possible. We\’ve got to stop those panzers rolling somehow.

13 thoughts on “Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: 6 months pokey for you!”

  1. Yer lemons would only want to be 24% larger than “average” for him to squeak in on the marmalade front, though.

    And I don’t think a jail sentence is possible under the English regs:

    7.—(1) Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with regulation 4 or 5 of these Regulations shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

    I’d note the definition of a Level 5 fine from the Scottish Govt, though:

    Level 5 offences must cause, or be liable to cause, substantial and direct damage to the property or interests of thers or of the community as a whole.

    Now, his haircut on the other hand …

  2. How about just calling it something other than marmelade or jam? It’s reasonable enough to have some definition of what products are, even if you think the bureaucratic definitions are overly, er, bureaucratic. You can’t sell beef as pork either (but having just been to the supermarket it seems you can sell salmon terrine which is 80% other (i.e. cheaper) fish).

    You could even make up a whole new word for it, “courgette ghueistrup” or something, to avoid falling foul of the definitions if “preserve”, “compote”, “sweet pickle” etc. don’t fit either.

  3. Call it “jarmalade”. It’s not a jam, it’s not a marmalade and it comes in jars. Brilliant, if I may say so.

  4. Out of boredom looked up the Fearnley-Whittingstall biog on Wiki.
    Should have guessed.
    Eton, Oxford, a bit of conservation work in Africa, a short & unsuccessful episode as a sous-chef at a restaurant & magically we’re a journalist writing for Punch, The Standard & the Sunday Times.
    So reminiscent of Polly down the page & so perfect as a Guardian columnist. Privileged background & connections paves the way to successful career, so denying yet another opportunity to the great unwashed.
    The Guardian, the newspaper that champions equality.

  5. So quince preserves can’t be called marmalade under EU rules?

    Tim adds: Correct….although the name is “marmelada” anyway.

  6. Didn’t the EU recategorise carrots as fruit so that the Portugeuse could continue their centuries-long tradition of making jam from it? (Or was that apocryphal?)

    Tim adds: not apocryphal at all.Carrots are indeed defined as fruit, jams for the making of purposes only. Further more, quince jam (ie, “marmelada”) is the only form of joam that might have apple geranium leaves in it. Just fine in quince jam but 6 months pokey if you put those leaves in kumqwat or gooseberry jam.

    And yes, we did pay people €90,000 a year plus expenses and pension to write this law for us.

  7. Tim,

    By a weird coincidence, the only book in which I’ve ever seen the noun ‘congelation’, meaning a gelled thing, was an English translation of ‘Das Kapital’.

  8. I promised myself that I wouldn’t post any more on the subject of marmalade (which does seem to have got you going).

    So I won’t.

    I would merely observe that the rigour you demand in others – you mock the Guardian for mistaking the frequency of Private Eye, and call the Observer “idiotic” for failing to distinguish between “non-profit” and “not for profit organisations” – might usefully be applied to your own posts on food.

    “A pumpkin is a squash not a fruit.” What does this mean? Nothing. “A courgette is a vegetable not a fruit.” At mealtimes yes, botanically no.

    And so on.

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