Heirloom Tomato Bloody Marys

It’s peak tomato season, so at the farmers market I’ve been rattling off all the tomato projects I know in a very thinly veiled attempt to convince people to buy huge amounts of tomatoes from me.  The usual tomato projects that I tell people about are making canned sauce, dehydrating heirlooms in the oven (they’re so good, and it’s so easy!), freezing bags of sungold tomatoes to make tomato bisque during the winter, canning tomato jam, ketchup, and bbq sauce…  I mistakenly omitted one of the best projects, though: the Bloody Mary.bloody maryThese are bloody marys for right now.  While it’s true that you can cook tomato juice and can bloody mary mix for later (which I’m going to do), the base for this cocktail is just fresh tomato juice, bright and sweet. I used my champion juicer to juice a couple slightly overripe tomatoes that we had leftover from the market today, but feel free to use a blender if you don’t own a juicer.

Jason made an excellent bloody mary base with fresh dill, horseradish and green olives.  I raided the pantry for some pickled okra and dilly beans to garnish these, though any sort of crunchy pickled vegetable is at home in a bloody mary.   The one thing I noticed is that you have to be careful not to over spice these since the fresh juice from heirloom tomatoes tastes much more delicate than regular cooked bloody mary mix.   Our first round was a little heavy on the horseradish and I thought it overwhelmed the flavor of the tomatoes, so naturally we had to do some more recipe testing and get it figured out.  Naturally. (Because cocktails).bloody mary & okraHEIRLOOM TOMATO BLOODY MARYS

The perfect cocktail to celebrate tomato season, and the perfect cocktail to relax after a long day working at the farmers market.

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Makes: 2 cocktails

Ingredients:

  • Bloody Mary Mix
  • 4 oz. vodka
  • Garnishes: pickled okra, dilly beans, lemon wedges and green olives

Fill two glasses with ice. Add 2 ounces of vodka (or less, of course) to each glass. Top of bloody mary mix. Stir. Garnish with a lemon wedge and pickled vegetables.

BLOODY MARY MIX

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. fresh heirloom tomato juice
  • juice from a wedge of lemon
  • 2 tbs. fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • a dash of worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 3 green olives and 1 tbs. olive juice
  • 1 tsp. prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 tsp. celery salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Individual varieties of tomatoes will taste very different from one another and may taste good with more horseradish, a little extra heat, some extra lemon, etc.

It’s Summer So I’m Really Just Eating BLTs All The Time

These are my favorite sandwiches of the summer. now THAT is a blt!Can you even tell that this is a picture of a sandwich?

I’m not sure you can.   Actually, I really don’t think you can.  The bread’s under there, I swear.  We already ate it, so it’s too late for any reshoots.

Here’s the deal  I love plain old tomato sandwiches as much as the next girl, but if you have a little bit more time and a couple more ingredients, say… some fresh mozzarella and basil, it really doesn’t hurt. blt ingredients... bltmbb?I used Floodgate Farms salad mix for this, since I am like a walking commercial for their salad and put it in everything.  It has lettuces, edible flowers, arugula, fresh herbs, and a bunch of other wild greens like purslane mixed in.  It makes me happy and I eat it every day if I can.

EPIC BLTS, aka BLTMBBs?

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 5

Ingredients:

  • 1  loaf of sourdough bread
  • a few tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • around 5 medium sized heirloom tomatoes
  • 5 pieces fresh cooked bacon
  • a few slices of fresh mozzarella
  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves
  • a few sprigs of fresh dill
  • baby lettuces
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • optional additional toppings like sliced avocado or marinated artichokes, though I didn’t use them in this version, are equally encouraged

 

Slice the loaf of bread in half and warm it in a 350 degree oven while you cook the bacon.  Fry bacon, slice tomatoes, slice mozzarella.  Take the bread out of the oven and spread mayonnaise on each side.  Layer all of the toppings on, drizzle with balsamic, season with some salt and pepper, then close the loaf.  Press down on the top of the sandwich with your hands to compress everything a bit; it will stay together as a sandwich much easier if you do this.  Slice into 4-5 individual sandwiches and serve.

Pickled Red Onions & Quattro Stagioni Jars

So, I’ve never bothered doing any giveaways with free stuff or contests or any of that.  I like keeping this page more like a journal that I can use to remember good recipes and gardening ideas, and I don’t feel like spending a bunch of time trying to turn it into something more than that.  BUT…. when a fancy jar company offers to send me some of their jars, that’s a whole different situation.  I will never say no to more jars, whether they’re dusty ones from grandma’s basement or these gorgeous Quattro Staggioni jars that I used this morning.bormioli rocco jarsBormioli Rocco sent me a box of their Quattro Stagioni jars and some canning goodies (opening it was like Christmas in the middle of summer!) and they’re hosting a giveaway on their Facebook page where five winners will receive the same box that I got. All you have to do is go and like their page.

Quattro Stagioni jars have a one piece lid, which I know not everyone has worked with, but is really not much different than a two-piece lid.  Food in Jars has a good instructional over here explaining how to use them, so I won’t completely rewrite it, but the main tip is that you only need to screw on the lids until they’re moderately tight. Food in Jars says: ” When you screw this lids on, you only want to tighten them to the point when you feel the rim of the jar make contact with the sealing compound. Don’t go any tighter or the air won’t be able to escape and you will have compromised your seal.”

(Also, can I say how nice it is that if I am insecure about canning knowledge, all I need to do is go check on the Food In Jars page to confirm it? I don’t know what people did before the internet and food blogs.)floodgate farms torpedo onionsSince these are pretty jars, I wanted to make something pretty to put in them.  I settled on pickled red onions and apricots on in honey syrup.  I’m crazy about the pickled onions. We grilled some venison kebabs the other night, then made sandwiches on french bread with pickled red onions and lots of mustard.  Jason and I drank cold beers and watched the baseball game on tv. and it was pure summer bliss.  You could also put these on burgers, in a wrap with falafel or grilled vegetables, or toss them in a salad.  Once the onions are gone, save the brine and use it for salad dressing.pickled red onions and apricots in honey syrupPICKLED RED ONIONS

Use the freshest onions you can find for a vibrant hot pink color.  I bought these gorgeous onions from Floodgate Farm at the Redwood Valley Farmers Market.

Cook Time: 45 min.

Makes: 7 1/2 pint jars

Ingredients:

  • 5 c. white wine vinegar*
  • 10 c. sliced peeled red onions (1/4″ thick rings)
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • a few sprigs of fresh herbs: I used marjoram today, but sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary, etc. are all fine
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

Prepare boiling water canner, jars and lids.

In a large, nonreactive pot, combine the vinegar with the peppercorns and the garlic.  Bring up to a boil and add the sliced onions.  Stir gently and simmer for five minutes, until the onions soften.

Place a small sprig of fresh marjoram in each jar, and then use a slotted spoon to fill up the jar with onions. Ladle  the infused hot vinegar over the onions, leaving a generous 1/2″ of headspace.  Use a chopstick or rubber spatula to remove the air bubbles and adjust the headspace as necessary.  Wipe rims and attach lids, then process for ten minutes, adjusting for altitude if necessary.

*I’ve also used red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and white vinegar.  The recipe comes out fine with all of them.

Honey Sweetened Blueberry Pecan Tart

What could you not love about a buttery pecan crust piled high with honey sweetened fresh blueberries? Basically nothing.

This dessert is a riff off of this fresh blackberry pie that we make every summer.  I really love both recipes because the filling is a combination of fresh and cooked fruit, giving it this juicy, not too sweet flavor that I can’t get enough of.   If you happen to get your hands on a whole bunch of really good blueberries, this recipe will not do you wrong. blueberry tartMake sure to chill this tart before you serve it; it’s much better cold.  Top with whipped cream to make it really divine.

HONEY-SWEETENED BLUEBERRY PECAN TART

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1/2 c. toasted pecans, finely chopped
  • 3/4 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 5 tbs. cold butter
  • 3 tbs. honey
  • 1 tbs. water

Combine the flour, salt, and pecans in a mixing bowl.  Work the butter into the flour with a fork.  Add the honey and the water and bring the dough together into a ball using your hands.  Press the dough into the bottom of a 9″ tart pan.  Chill in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the crust until golden brown and aromatic, 15-20 minutes.

While the crust is in the oven, cook the filling.

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 5 cups of blueberries, divided
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 2 1/2 tbs. instant tapioca (or cornstarch is fine too)
  • 1 tbs. butter

In a medium saucepan, combine 2 c. blueberries with the honey, water, lemon zest, tapioca, and butter.  Mash the blueberries with a potato masher to release some of the juices.  Bring everything to a boil.   Cook until the mixture has visibly thickened, then remove from heat and fold in the remaining three cups of blueberries.

Pour the prepared filling into the cooked pie crust and then chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

Quinoa Tabouleh, Spring Lettuces and A NEW FARM

This salad.quinoa taboulehIt’s so delicious and so simple, and takes just a few minutes to throw together.

My brain is kind of fried from working so much, and this is the perfect kind of dish to make for that kind of time in your life.

We’re emerging from this crazy whirlwind right now.   In April, we moved from our house in the mountains of Lake County to a sweet little house down the road from our new farm space in Redwood Valley.  Part of the transition meant turning a bunch of raw land into a vegetable and flower farm over the course of about two months so that we could grow during this season and not have to wait til next year to start. Our last farm was tiny and took us ten years to get to where it was.  This farm is still very much in process, but it took us about a month to get an area planted that absolutely dwarfs anything we’ve ever had before.   We’re pretty excited about everything and I can’t wait to show you some pictures.

If you know me personally, you might know that I’ve been compulsively planting too many tomato starts for years and years, and that heirloom tomatoes are my one true vegetable love.  I always plant more than I should but it’s really never enough.  I’m so thrilled to say that I just planted the heirloom tomato garden of my dreams! (It’s HUGE).  The land owner, an expert farmer who’s been teaching us a lot as we go forward this year, keeps making comments along the lines of “you are an absolute lunatic for planting that many tomatoes” but I’m soldiering on, undaunted.
(I still remember the first time I ate an heirloom tomato.  I was working at Restaurant Lulu when I was 19 and had just moved to San Francisco, where they were serving this simple tomato salad, but it used tomatoes that were unlike any that I’ve ever seen before, and when I tasted one, it basically blew my mind and changed the entire course of my life.   True story.)

It’s like this song says: Only two things that money can’t buy, and that’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.

Anyway though, this salad. taboulehI made this tabouleh with some leftover quinoa, lettuce and herbs from the garden and some mediocre grocery store tomatoes, and it instantly became my favorite salad of the moment.  It’s going to be amazing when I actually have some decent tomatoes to put in it.  It’s a nice side dish for a summery dinner, served with grilled lamb or chicken, but it’s also a wonderful lunch on its own.  We used butter lettuce leaves to make lettuce wraps with the tabouleh inside and it’s about my favorite thing to eat in the world now.

 

QUINOA TABOULEH

Vegan & Gluten Free

Serves: 4

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 c. cooked tricolor quinoa
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped mint leaves
  • 3 c. diced tomatoes
  • juice from 1 1/2 large lemons
  • olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 small head of lettuce (butter lettuce would be perfect)

If you’re making the quinoa specifically for this recipe, rinse it with cool water after it’s cooked so that it doesn’t cook the vegetables in the salad.  Leftover quinoa that’s not steaming hot anymore obviously doesn’t need rinsing.  Combine all the ingredients except the lettuce in a bowl.  Add the olive oil, salt and pepper to your own taste.  Cover and let the mixture sit at room temperature for 30 minutes (not in the fridge! Cold tomatoes taste weird).  Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves, or use the lettuce leaves as wraps.

 

Pickled Okra

So here’s my theory: If you’re going to have a fried chicken dinner, I think you need to serve a lot of really fresh vegetables to go with it so that the whole meal’s not super heavy and deep fried.  Braised collards are traditional, of course, but I think what really makes the meal is a big dish of pickled okra.  The vinegar is such a good counterpart to country gravy and mashed potatoes. Plus, everyone knows to make collard greens so they’re necessarily all that exciting, but I’m not sure the general public realizes how amazing pickled okra taste.  If you like dill pickles, you will love these. They’re crisp and tangy (not slimy at all), and even though I could have canned them, I didn’t bother because my family and I polished them off in just a couple days.  They were perfect as a side dish to a big southern dinner, but also delicious with cold beers, pimento cheese and crackers. pickled okraThis is a horrendous picture from my phone because I was more worried about serving a table full of people and then eating with my family before the food got cold than taking perfectly styled photographs, but just so you see where I’m going with this: fried chicken dinnerIt was so good!

My recipe for fried chicken is here, along with some prettier pictures.  The biscuits are a recipe that I always use from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  They’re yeasted buttermilk biscuits and come out wonderfully fluffy.  If you don’t have that cookbook you should almost definitely buy it –  it’s a winner.

PICKLED OKRA

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. okra
  • 2 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 c. water
  • 1/4 c. kosher salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. dill seed
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 1 onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
  • optional: a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • optional, which I didn’t use because I couldn’t find: one or two fresh dill blossoms

Combine the apple cider vinegar, salt, water, garlic, dill seed, black peppercorns and sliced onion in a nonreactive pot and bring to a simmer.  (If you want them spicy, this is also when you should add the red pepper flakes to your own heat preference).  Simmer for 3-4 minutes.  Arrange the okra in a nonreactive container (I used a glass dish but you could use jars too) and add the dill blossoms if you are using them.  Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the okra.  It should cover them completely.  Move the container to the refrigerator.  Refrigerate for at least 48 hours before serving.  They should last in the fridge for about a month, but you’ll probably eat them much quicker than that.

Strawberry-Peach-Lemon Jam

I just got back from a week in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.  My parents, one of my brothers and I all stayed at my grandma’s house and cooked a lot of pretty amazing food, so I have a several recipes I’ll be sharing this week as I get the time to write them up.

grandma

my grandma Molly in high school, in 1936. she’s the first one on the left, front row.

First up: this strawberry-peach-lemon jam.  It turned out really nice, with a gorgeous color, a good set and texture and lovely complex flavor.  (But… It’s also a bit of an abomination, since I used a bunch of sketchy fruit from a tiny local grocery store right down the road from us: conventionally grown, underripe, out of season peaches, some mediocre strawberries and a lemon to try and add some flavor.)  I’ve deemed it totally acceptable to break the usual rules about local fruit in our situation, when you’re staying at a house with several family members who all know how to make and can preserves, somehow there’s no jam in the house and all the local fruit is out of season.  The decisive moment was when I found an open jar of smucker’s strawberry jam in the fridge.  I don’t know who in my family bought that, but SHAME! strawberry-peach-lemon jamRecently, I’ve been trying to make really simple preserves, with just one kind of fruit, sugar and sometimes lemon juice.  I’m kind of obsessed with finding the best-of-the-best-most-delicious-you’ve-ever-tasted apricots/blackberries/whatever and doing the bare minimum that I need to do to get them into jars. Whoever grew the fruit is really doing most of the complicated work.  As far as my part goes, tracking down the perfect fruit is actually way more complicated than getting it into jars.

With boring grocery store fruit, though, I figured there’s no harm in playing around with some new flavor combinations to try and make the jam a little bit more vibrant.  And it worked! It’s kind of ridiculous that homemade jam is still so much better than the grocery store counterpart even when you’re not using very high quality fruit.  I’m really curious to see how this recipe turns out if I made it during the summer with some really sweet, ripe strawberries and peaches from our own peach trees.IMG_5388STRAWBERRY-PEACH-LEMON JAM

Makes: 4 half pint jars

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart of strawberries, stems removed and sliced in half
  • 3 peaches, blanched, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 large lemon, sliced for marmalade*
  • 1 tbs. vanilla
  • 3 c. sugar

Day 1: Prepare the fruit and macerate

Combine the sliced strawberries, peeled diced peaches, sliced lemons and sugar in a nonreactive container. Cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.

Day 2: Cook off the jam

Bring boiling water canner to a boil, prepare jars and lids.

Transfer the fruit to a heavy bottomed, nonreactive pot and cook on high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.  After about 10 minutes, when the fruit is cooked through but the jam isn’t gelled yet, remove the pot from the stove and use a potato masher to mash the fruit to a consistency that you like.  (At this point it will really start to look like jam).  Put the pot back onto the stove and continue cooking until the jam reaches the gel point.  Ladle into hot half pint jars leaving 1/4″ headspace.  Attach lids and rings and process for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude as necessary.

Note: Strawberry jam can be challenging to get to set properly, but since this has a bunch of lemon slices in it, it should set pretty easily. It did for me, atleast.

Another Note: When you make marmalade, the sliced citrus fruit is often parcooked in some water before the sugar is added to make sure that the rinds are cooked all the way through and don’t end up chewy at the end.  Since this recipe skips that step, it is very important to slice the lemon extra super thin, otherwise I’m pretty sure it won’t cook thoroughly with the strawberries and peaches.

*To slice lemons for marmalade: read this instructions from Hitchhiking to Heaven. I’m too lazy to write them out.

And, don’t forget that if you don’t have your boiling water canner with you, all you really need is a pot with some jar rings laid in the bottom and you’re good to go. canning rack

Pear Almond Tart

So, I canned a bunch of pears back in September.  (Recipe here).  Now that it’s February it’s really sinking in how delicious they are.canned pearsOut of all my canning projects from 2013, they’re one of my favorites.  Before they were ever in jars, these pears were some of the best I’ve ever tasted. Ever!  They were grown right in Redwood Valley by a lovely couple that I met at the farmers market a few years ago.  (They’re basically the embodiment of the kind of fruit I want to be preserving all the time). A lot of the time we just eat them out of the jar, but I needed to take a dessert to a friend’s house yesterday and whipped together this tart with some of them.  An almond crust combined with sliced canned pears and a rich vanilla custard (with eggs from our chickens!) made for a really lovely tart that tastes delicate and luxurious at the same time. pear almond tartThis recipe is a combination of a couple recipes: the crust is an adaptation from Deborah Madison’s nut crust in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, p. 695 and the filling is based off of this pear tart recipe from Williams Sonoma. 

PEAR ALMOND TART

Cook Time: 1 hr.

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 1/2 c. slivered almonds, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbs. sugar
  • 5 tbs. butter
  • 2 tbs. water

For the Filling:

  • approximately 6 canned pear halves
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 3 tbs. flour
  • 2 tbs. butter, melted

Combine the almonds, flour, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl.  Cut in the butter with a fork. Add 2 tbs. of water and use your hands to form the dough into a ball.   Press the dough into a 9″ tart pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Put the crust into the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up, and then bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the eggs until they’re frothy.  Add in the sugar,  lemon zest, vanilla, heavy cream, flour and butter.  Mix to combine everything thoroughly.  Slice the pear halves into 1/4″ thick slices.  (Depending on the size of your pears, you may need slightly more or less to cover the tart shell with a layer of pears.)

After the crust has cooked for ten minutes, take it out of the oven.  Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Arrange the pear slices to make an even layer covering the crust.  Pour the custard mixture over the top of the pears.  Put the tart in the back in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the filling is set and golden brown.

Note:  I served this tart after it had fully cooled. I’m not sure how it would be still hot;  I think the custard sets a bit while it’s cooling.

 

French Bread with Quinoa, Seeds and Rosemary

We’re finally getting a glimpse of the winter I’ve been dreaming of for months and months.snow stormUp until now, it’s been warm and sunny outside, making my summer farming plans started seeming more and more farfetched.  Now that we’ve had a bunch of rain and snow, though, I’m starting to relax a little bit.  I’m so happy to have a proper winter Saturday, indoors with a fire going in the woodstove and a loaf of bread in the oven. _MG_4129I’ve been working to get better at baking, and I think this recipe is starting to get pretty good.  I like a loaf of bread with lots of seeds and good things in it. I want it to taste savory, without a bunch of sugar or honey in it.  Something that I can toast and spread with butter and maybe avocado.  quinoa breadI still have a huge amount of learning to do about baking, so if someone with more experience than me happens to be reading this and has any suggestions for improving it, please feel free to chime in.

FRENCH BREAD WITH QUINOA, SEEDS AND ROSEMARY

Makes: 2 baguettes or 1 larger loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c. lukewarm water
  • 1 packet of yeast (2 1/2 tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 3 c. bread flour*
  • 2 tbs. flax seeds
  • 1 tbs. chia seeds
  • 1 tbs. poppy seeds
  • 2 tbs. pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 c. cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 2 tbs. fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp. sea salt

Put the water in a small bowl and sprinkle it with the yeast and the sugar.   Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until small bubbles start forming on the surface.  Put the mixture into a bigger mixing bowl with 1 c. of flour and mix together thoroughly.  Add the flax seeds, chia seeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, rosemary and salt, along with 2 more cups of flour.  Using a wooden spoon, stir all the ingredients together as much as you can, then turn it out onto a floured surface and knead all the ingredients together.  Knead for 8-10 minutes to make a smooth, elastic dough.  If it’s too wet and sticky, add a little bit of flour.  If it’s too dry, add a little bit of water.  Shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased mixing bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll it out into a rectangle.  Starting with the long side of the rectangle, roll it up into a loaf shape.  Transfer to a cookie sheet and let it rise again for 30-40 minutes, covered with a kitchen towel, until it doubles in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Slash the top of the loaf with a very sharp knife and then put it in the oven to bake for 25 minutes until it’s nicely golden brown.

*I was out of whole wheat flour when I made this, so I didn’t bother using it, but a mixture of white and whole wheat flour would be great if you feel like doing it.

Small Batch Meyer Lemon Marmalade

meyer lemon marmaladeI usually make monster batches of preserves.  I like preserving by the bushel when fruits are in peak season.  During the winter, I usually end up going down to San Francisco once or twice and getting some citrus fruit from the farmers down there who are coming over from the central valley.  I haven’t made it down there this winter, though, and a girl needs lemon marmalade, so when I was in Whole Foods the other day (I can’t believe I’m saying that; I never shop at Whole Foods and I think the stores are super pretentious, but I was trying to kill time in Santa Rosa, so I kind of just ended up there) I ended up buying six precious little meyer lemons.

Apart from feeling like a loser for buying fruit at the grocery store, this little batch of marmalade was quite a success.  It only takes a few minutes to slice up six lemons for marmalade (the last time I made lemon marmalade I did fifty pounds of lemonswhich took hours and hours).  The cooking time is also really short, which is nice.  Also, I’d forgotten just how lovely a kitchen smells when it’s filled with the aroma of fresh lemons.  The most important part: a piece of toast with butter and marmalade is one of the best things in the universe. IMG_5064MEYER LEMON MARMALADE

Makes: almost 4 half pint jars

Cook Time: 1 1/2 hrs.

Ingredients:

  • 6 meyer lemons
  • 3 c. water
  • 3 c. sugar

 

The first step is to wash and slice the lemons for marmalade.  If you’ve never done this before, check out this set of instructions from Hitchhiking to Heaven for an explanation.  (It seems redundant to take another set of pictures of virtually the exact same thing).   Save the seeds and wrap them in a piece of cheesecloth. Tie the top closed with string.

Next, measure the prepared lemons.  The six lemons I had came out to almost exactly 3 cups of prepared sliced lemons.   The ratio of lemons to water to sugar should be 1:1:1, so adjust the rest of the recipe accordingly.

Combine the lemons and water in a large, nonreactive pot.  Add the cheesecloth bag with the seeds and bring the mixture to a low simmer to cook the lemons.  Cook for about 20 minutes, until the peels are tender.  Using a pair of tongs, remove the cheesecloth and give it a squeeze to release the juice that’s inside (it’s homemade pectin, which will help the marmalade set). Discard the seed bag.

At this point, prepare boiling water canner, jars and lids.

Add the sugar to the pot and stir to combine.  Turn the heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the marmalade reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer.  If you don’t have a thermometer, you can use the frozen plate method.  The marmalade will come up to a full, rolling boil and you’ll see that the liquid will start to thicken and runs off a spoon in sheets instead of a thin stream (click here for a picture).  At this point, you can put a teaspoon of the liquid on a plate that’s been in the freezer.  Put the plate back in the freezer and wait for a minute. Pull it back out and run your finger through the liquid. If it wrinkles, it’s done.  If it’s still thin and syrupy, it needs to cook for another few minutes).

Ladle the hot marmalade into hot, clean jars leaving 1/4″ headspace.  Wipe rims clean and attach lids.  Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude as necessary.  lemon slices