Hope you don't think it's too soon for another marmalade recipe. Though the Meyer lemon is in season December through April, the season for Seville oranges (December to February) is what determines when Marmalade Season is. So I only make marmalade in January and February, hoping to have enough to last all year. One would not want to have to resort to shop-bought marmalade!
“Oh, dear. Bought marmalade. Dear me, I call that very feeble.” ~ Lady Constance Trentham in Gosford Park, played by Maggie Smith (as she looks at the marmalade as if it were something the footman had just scraped off the bottom of his shoe)
As I said in my Satsuma Marmalade post last week, I like to weigh rather than measure my ingredients. The formula I used for the Satsuma Marmalade was 2 pounds fruit / 2 pounds (1 quart) water / 2 pounds (4 1/2 cups) sugar. Since the Meyer lemons have less liquid and less sweetness than the Satsumas, I decided on a formula of 2 pounds fruit / 2 1/2 pounds (5 cups) water / 2 1/2 pounds (5 2/3 cup) sugar.
My old non-digital kitchen scale always got the job done (albeit with some difficulty), but when the OXO Good Grips 11-pound digital scale was sent me for review, I was so excited that it arrived just in time for this batch of marmalade. Instead of trying to contain the lemons in the tiny bowl of my old scale (sort of like herding cats!), I just set them on the flat weighing platform. If there had been more, I could have used a big bowl on the platform. Just put a container on the scale, then press the zero button to set weight to zero before adding the ingredients. Wow!
As you can see, the bowl in which I weighed the sugar registered 2 pounds 2 1/8 ounces. I just pressed the "zero" button to zero-out the scale before adding the sugar. That's called taring. The button on the far left allows one to switch between pounds and ounces and metric units.
Meyer Lemon Marmalade
(Makes 6 half-pint jars)
2 pounds Meyer lemons
6 cups water
2 1/2 pounds (5 2/3 cups) sugar
1 Scrub the lemons well. Trim a tiny bit off the ends, then halve the lemons lengthwise. Cut each half into four wedges; remove the seeds (lots of seeds, probably two dozen, in a Meyer lemon). With the wedge on its side with the peel toward you, slice crosswise very thinly. Scrape the fruit and juice into your jam kettle (any heavy, wide, non reactive 4-quart or more pan; I use my 5.5-quart Le Creuset French oven).
2 Add water to the fruit. Bring to a full boil. Boil, uncovered, for 7 minutes; no need to stir. Remove from heat, cover and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Refrigerate for 8 hours or for a day or two.
3 When ready to make the marmalade, get your jars ready. Get out canner (or large pot deep enough that water will be 1 to 2 inches above the tops of the jars), two kitchen towels, 2-cup glass measure, thermometer, jar lifter, half-pint jars, new lids, bands. Put a saucer in the freezer for testing the doneness of the marmalade.
4 Put a folded kitchen towel in the bottom of the large pot (unless, of course, you have a canner with a rack). Fill 2/3 full of water and begin heating the water. Heat extra water in a teakettle or saucepan. Submerge clean jars and new lids in the hot, but not boiling, water. They'll be hot in about 10 minutes, but just keep them below simmering until ready to use.
5 Bring lemon mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil gently, uncovered, about 20 minutes, or until peel is tender. No need to stir at this stage. Once peel is very tender, stir in 4 1/2 cups of sugar all at once until dissolved.
6 Bring mixture to a full rolling boil (big bubbles all over the pan that cannot be stirred down), stirring frequently. Keep it boiling hard for about 30 minutes, or until it registers 220 degrees, stirring occasionally, till the end when you will need to give it a gentle stir pretty much constantly. When done*, remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes (keeps the peel from sinking to the bottom of the jars).
Note: *Doneness can be difficult to determine. There are several tests recommended by various experts. I've tried them all, and they don't work for me. In my experience, they all result in overcooked marmalade. I cook it until it's 220 degrees and "looks right." If the marmalade has thickened and darkened a bit and it's 220 degrees, have the courage of your convictions and take it off the heat. After you've made it a few times, you'll get a feel for it.
7 Do one jar at a time. Remove a jar and lid from the water. Using the 2-cup glass measure, ladle the hot marmalade into the hot jar, leaving 1/4-inch headroom. Stick a knife or something (I use a chopstick) into the filled jar right next to the glass in about 4 places to release any air bubbles. Check the headspace measurement again and add more marmalade if needed. Wipe off the top of the jar with a damp towel, carefully place the lid and screw the band on (but don't tighten it). Repeat for all the jars. Put the water back on the heat.