03 February 2013

Meyer Lemon Marmalade

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.

8 Return filled jars to the water bath, adding enough hot water to have water 1 to 2 inches above the tops of the jars. Jars must be upright and not touching. Heat to a gentle boil, covered, and set timer for 10 minutes. Adjust the heat to keep the water at a simmer. After 10 minutes, move the pot off the heat and take off the lid. Let the jars sit in the water for 15 minutes. If you're not using a rack with handles in your "canner" and don't have a jar lifter, just ladle out some of the water so you can lift the jars out with an oven mitt. Remove the jars and set them on a kitchen towel on the counter. The lids will make a popping sound when they seal, so just count the pops as the jars start cooling. Leave them undisturbed for 24 hours. Then, if you lost count of the pops, check the seals by pressing on the center of the lids; they should be a bit concave and not move. Properly sealed jars are ready to be stored in the cupboard. Any jars that did not seal should be stored in the refrigerator.



Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

In case I forgot to mention it in this post: Use organic Meyer lemons, as no amount of scrubbing will get off the pesticides and wax on conventional lemons.

Anonymous said...

Loved Gosford Park! I've seen it several times because I actually bought the DVD I liked it so much. And I do remember that Maggie Smith quotation. :-) Funny thing, but my daughter, just last night, was telling me about Meyer lemons. I'd never heard of them before - and now suddenly here's a marmalade recipe from you. Thank you. Sounds and looks wonderful.


Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Judy! Let me know if you find a source for Meyer lemons there in Wisconsin.

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Lemon! LEMON! This is a revelation and a tease. Didn’t know there were was an exclusively LEMON marmalade. And my taste buds have been pleading for lemon meringue pie of late. So LM is doing its mischief. Cool new doodad of a scale you have, too. And is that YOUR stove? Must be a bear to clean. I tend to work in the skillets, etc., with a lot of transfer between pots and such. Thus, there is a lot of collateral debris to remove during “creations.” Your grid-work would make that problematic. Ergo, you must be as ritualistically meticulous and choreographed in your preparations as you are in your recipes and writing.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sully, I thought this might appeal to a lemon meringue pie fan like you! Actually, the stove is easy to clean. The grid-work comes up in three pieces, and the sealed burners make easy work of it. I actually *am* quite "choreographed" in my cooking, but do my fair share of slopping and spilling!

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...

Thanks, Jean. Sending this one on to my sister who is currently in love with salt curing meyer lemons. Not so much a marmalade fan as a meyer lemon fan.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sue, thank you! I hope your sister will like it. My personal favorite is last week's Satsuma and Meyer Lemon Marmalade. That's one that even someone who doesn't like marmalade will love.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

Hi Jean, it's so nice to meet you. I have a mini Meyer lemon tree and hopefully it'll produce enough lemons for me to make this! I recently posted an Orange Roll recipe that I could sub this in the filling. Yum!!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Kitty! And if you have a Satsuma tree, try the marmalade recipe I posted last week. It's *really* tasty with cake!

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

I've never tried to make my own marmelade, yet! But your post is very convincing!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Magali! I hope you'll give it a try and let me know how it turned out for you.

Sippity Sup said...

You are right. It's that time of year when Meyers are dripping off my tree and into the pool!. marmalade is a much better use. GREG

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Greg! Though they'd look gorgeous in and around the pool, do rescue those Meyers and put them to good use!

Charles said...

Hi Jean - I've never tried a meyer lemon. I think it's an American thing... we don't get them over here. I love a good lemon marmalade though - I made one last year using some lemons from Nice - fantastic smelling specimens. My father claims lemon marmalade is too "oily"... weirdo, I guess he never had a good one! I boil my lemons whole in water first - makes slicing them later super easy and you can control how thick you want the peel to be a bit more easily then. I'm a "long, thin strand"-man myself!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Charles, I'd love to try one of those "oily" marmalades your father speaks of! Interesting. And someday I'm going to try that boiling-the-whole-fruit method. Who knows - maybe I'll like it even better.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Oh, Judy, I know you would love it! In the meantime, a batch of scones will be great.