A co-worker gave me a giant bag of meyer lemons from a tree in his yard. When life gives me lemons, I make marmalade! I’ve adapted the recipe, just barely, from an About.com recipe. Making marmalade is really quite simple and doesn’t have to be done in giant batches. I’ve included instructions for a large and a small batch, for canned or straight-to-fridge, and for adding lavender or other flavors.
Meyer lemons are rounder and more yellow than a true lemon with a thinner skin. They are also sweeter and less acidic which makes them particularly appealing for use in cooking. The original recipe says that you can use other lemons for this recipe (or even other citruses) but you may need to add more sugar.
For a large batch:
5 lbs Meyer lemons
3 1/2 cups sugar (you can add more if you like it super sweet)
8 half-pint jars
For a small batch:
3/4 lb Meyer lemons
1/2 cup sugar
1 half-pint jar (plus a bit extra)
(I’ve put the lemon amounts in pounds because number per pound can vary, especially when picked off a friend’s tree instead of purchased at the supermarket. For reference, the small batch is probably about 3 lemons.)
Scrub your lemons clean (important because you use the whole lemon), cut them in half, and juice them.
Save 1/2 cup of the juice (for a large batch. For small batch, save a bit over a tablespoon.) But don’t let the rest go to waste! I recommend freezing it in ice cube trays for later use.
Shred your lemon peels. I used the grater insert on my food processor but you can also use a thin slicing disk. This step is where a food processor is a lifesaver. You can also shred them on a cheese grater or slice them very thinly by hand if you don’t have a food processor (but I recommend finding a friend that does have a food processor and borrowing it to make this marmalade, especially with a large batch!).
Put your sliced lemon into a pot and cover it with cold water. Bring it to a boil and cook for 10 min. Then drain the peel and rinse it with cold water. Rinse out your pot as well. Above is what mine looked like after rinsing.
Put the lemon back in the pot. Add 1 1/2 cups water (for large batch. 1/4 cup for small) and the sugar. Simmer for 1 hour. At this point you can add more sugar, if you like it sweeter. You can also add in flavor in the form of infused alcohol or flavor extract. I had lavender infused rum that I stirred into my marmalade to delicious effect (4 tablespoons lavender rum to 1/2 large batch, but do yours to taste as flavor strength will vary.) There is great opportunity for experimentation at this step (coconut extract? ginger syrup? cinnamon and clove vodka?) and remember that you can portion out your marmalade and only add flavor to a fraction.
If you don’t want to can your marmalade you’re done! Put it into your jars and make sure that you keep it refrigerated. If you do want to can your marmalade and haven’t canned before, I recommend looking to other resources for basic information. If you have canned, here’s a reminder about what to do:
Sterilize your jars and lids by boiling them in water for 10 min.
Transfer the hot marmalade to the hot jars. Leave 1/2 inch space between the top of the marmalade and the top of the jar (this is important!). Wipe the rim of your jar to ensure a clean seal (this is important!). Put the lids on and twist on the rings.
Put your jars in a pot of boiling water that reaches to 1″ below the top of the jar and boil for 10 minutes with the lid on the pot. I find it easiest to have a few inches of water boiling in the pot and a teakettle boiling on the side. I put the jars into the boiling water and then pour the teakettle until the water is the right height. Your jars should have space between them, so if they don’t fit loosely in your pot, work in batches.
Enjoy! And do let me know what interesting flavor combinations you try!