Few people know that jam has its roots in ancient Greece. Since those years, the Greeks used to simmer quinces with honey and make a paste, “melimilon”, known today as “kydonopasto”. They also noticed that this mixture when is cooled has the property of coagulating and can be preserved for a long time. The ancients generally called quinces, apples, peaches, apricots, citrus fruits “apples”.
Melimelo was adopted and much loved by the Romans, who named it ‘melimelum’. In the book of Apikios “De re culinaria” there is a recipe on how we can preserve whole quinces boiled in honey and “epsima”, i.e. petimezi.
Over the centuries, although this early marmalade was still much loved, the word “melimelum” disappeared from European languages, only to reappear around 1500 in the Portuguese word “marmelo”, which means quince and by extension the specific preparation. In French it became “marmelade” and in English “marmalade”.