Meyer Lemon Marmalade

This marmalade is a perfect taste of sunshine for midwinter. It’s made from Meyer lemons, (possibly a cross between a lemon and a mandarine orange), which are lovely sweet lemons with the most gorgeous bright scent.

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It’s from Marisa McClellan’s awesome book Food in Jars, which I cannot recommend highly enough (and got from Heather for my birthday!). Her recipes focus on small batches and so you can make a batch of preserves without having to spend the whole day in the kitchen — and the recipes use contemporary flavours. Perfect. Marisa also runs the incredible blog of the same name — Food in Jars — where I spend too much time reading about jam and pickles. Love it.

Recently, Marisa wrote a great post about allowing your own canning process to evolve — I think that with the basics I’ve learned from her books and blog (especially this post about How to Can Creatively and Still Be Safe), and from the canning workshop I took last year, I’m ready to start making my own preserves flavoured the way I want them, without the danger of presenting anyone with a jar of botulism.

Following this recipe helped me get down the technique of making marmalade without using extra pectin. This version uses just the pectin naturally found in the pith and seeds of the lemons. You bundle the pith and seeds up in a cheesecloth, and they provide the pectin needed to set the marmalade! Awesome!

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This recipe happens in two stages — so you need to set aside a couple of days for it. Preparing the lemons takes quite a while to chop them all up, and then they rest overnight with some sugar in the fridge. After a rest (overnight or up to 2 days later), you then make the marmalade and process it into jars. I seem to still be underestimating the time it takes to make preserves, so I’m warning you plan ahead for when you’re not in a rush to do anything else.

I also found that boiling the water to process the jars took the same amount of time as it did to make the marmalade — about 30 minutes to get the huge pot of water to a real boil and 10 minutes to sterilize the jars. So I started that while making the marmalade, and I’m glad I did.

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I’ve been eating this marmalade on my morning gluten-free toast (sinfully good with just a bit of butter)… and also just by the spoonful out of the jar in the fridge. It’s my new favourite marmalade ever (move over stem ginger marmalade). I can’t wait for my next batch!

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I think that this marmalade would be AWESOME with pound cake. I could totally see using it as a middle layer in a layer cake. Mmmm. And if you wanted to serve it at a tea party, it would be perfection with lovely scones.

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Making this marmalade has brought me a new discovery — I love making marmalade! And homemade marmalade is ever so much better than the stuff from the store. I forsee lots of marmalade in my future. And yours too, I hope!

Meyer Lemon Marmalade
Adapted from Meyer Lemon Marmalade from Marisa McClellan’s Food in Jars, Makes 5 x 250ml jars

  • 1.1 kg (2.5 lbs) organic Meyer lemons
  • 860g (3 1/2 c.) granulated sugar, divided into 400g + 460g (2 c. + 1 1/2 c.)

Scrub your lemons well with soap, and dry completely.

Use a sharp knife to cut both ends off each lemon.  Lay each lemon on its now flat edge, and cut into 6 wedges.  Cut away the inner pith and seeds, and reserve the pith and seeds in a bowl.

Cut each wedge of lemon into thin slices 3mm (1/8″) thick and 4cm (1 1/4″) long.

In a large bowl, combine lemon slices and 2 c. (400g) of the sugar. Stir well.

Make a “pectin bundle” out of cheesecloth: fill a square of cheesecloth with the pith and seeds from the lemons, and tie the ends up to make a little bag. Add this pectin bundle to the bowl of lemon & sugar. Refrigerate this bowl for a minimum of 6 hours, or up to 48 hours.

When you return to making marmalade — prepare your pot & jars. Fill a large canning pot (fitted with a rack) with 5 x 250 ml jars in it with water, and bring it to a boil. Boil jars for at least 10 minutes to sterilize them.

In a separate small saucepan, cover your 5 canning lids with water and bring to a simmer (don’t boil them).

Also put 4 small saucers or plates into the freezer (used for testing the set of the marmalade).

While the jars and lids are coming to a boil and bubbling away, make your marmalade.

Pour the lemon/sugar mixture into a large pot, along with the pectin bundle. Add the remaining 460g (1 1/2 c.) sugar, along with 1L (4 1/4 c.) of water. Over high heat, bring to a boil, stirring frequently with a non-stick spatula.

Let boil for 30-50 minutes, and use a candy thermometer to check when the marmalade has reached 220F or 105C. Remove the pot from the heat and test your set using one of the frozen saucers: take a saucer out of the freezer and pour a spoonful of marmalade into the centre of it. Place the marmalade saucer back in the freezer for 1-2 minutes, then take it out again. Nudge into the edge of the dollop of marmalade with your finger — if it wrinkles a bit, your set is good. If it’s still syrupy, give it 5 more minutes boiling time on the stove. Then test again until your marmalade wrinkles for a good set.

Remove your jars from the boiling water, pour out the excess water, and place on a tea towel. You can leave them right-side-up as the remaining drips of water inside will evaporate very quickly. Ladle your marmalade into your jars, leaving a 6mm (1/4″) headspace. Wipe down the rim of each jar with a clean damp paper towel or cloth. Remove your lids from their pot of water and apply a lid to each jar. Screw a ring down onto each jar, tightening to fingertip tight (be careful not to overtighten).

Using canning tongs, carefully put each jar into the boiling water pot. Let boil for 10 minutes (if the water stops boiling, bring it back to a boil and then start your timer again).

After 10 minutes in the boiling water, remove the jars from the boiling water using the canning tongs. Place on a tea-towel on your countertop, in a place where they can remain undisturbed for 24 hours.

Let the jars cool and rest for 24 hours without touching them. Then remove the rings, and check the seals by grabbing each jar by the ring and lifting the jar. Store in a cool & dark place for up to a year (with the rings off to prevent rust and breaking the seal). If your seals aren’t good, you can still use the marmalade you’ve made — just keep those jars in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and eat them first!

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Categories: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Preserving Deliciousness, Vegetarian

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One Comment on “Meyer Lemon Marmalade”

  1. January 24, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    Sounds 100% delicious. Move over peach marmalade. Next time, I’m trying this.

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