I 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 lemons, which 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. MEYER LEMON MARMALADE
Makes: almost 4 half pint jars
Cook Time: 1 1/2 hrs.
- 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).