British-style marmalade is a sweet preserve with a bitter tang made from fruit, sugar, water, and (in some commercial brands) a gelling agent. American-style marmalade is sweet, not bitter. In English-speaking usage "marmalade" almost always refers to a preserve derived from a citrus fruit, most commonly oranges. The recipe includes sliced or chopped fruit peel, which is simmered in fruit juice and water until soft; indeed marmalade is sometimes described as jam with fruit peel (although many manufacturers now also produce peel-free marmalade). Such marmalade is most often consumed on toasted bread for breakfast. The favoured citrus fruit for marmalade production in the UK is the "Seville orange", Citrus aurantium var. aurantium, thus called because it was originally imported from Seville in Spain; it is higher in pectin than sweet oranges, and therefore gives a good set. Marmalade can also be made from lemons, limes, grapefruits, strawberries or a combination.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "marmalade" appeared in English in 1480, borrowed from French marmelade which, in turn, came from the Portuguese marmelada. According to José Pedro Machado’s Dicionário Etimológico da Língua Portuguesa, the oldest known document where this Portuguese word is to be found is Gil Vicente’s play Comédia de Rubena, written in 1521: