Recipes from Scotland 1680s to 1940s

Jams and preserves


Hot beds, on which prized fruit such as strawberries and melons could be grown under frames, were introduced to Scottish gardens in the 18th century.

Maintaining melon beds is extremely expensive in Scotland's climate. Due to the costs, only the very wealthy could afford to grow these prized fruits.

Melons were highly sought after for the table, but families could only eat so much fresh fruit. Recipes for preserving the surplus were devised.

Margaret Malcolm from Burnfoot, near Langholm, began her recipe book in 1782.

Most of her recipes came from friends, including one for preserving melon from Mrs Carnegie. Here, melon and ginger are 'boiled up' in a sugar-based syrup and flavoured with lemon peel. Mrs Carnegie advised: 'To taste well of the ginger this sweetmeat should not be used for six to eight months, and will keep for years.'

Handwritten recipe

'To preserve Melon with ginger' from Margaret Malcolm's recipe book

Margaret Malcolm's recipe book, begun in 1782. [Library reference: Acc.10708/1]

Jams and preserves