Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Of course, having a large bag of Meyer lemons of various shapes and sizes finally propelled me to look up recipes for lemon marmalade. I got a award-winner from a pal of mine (it's her mom's), and I will probably try that when I get the next bag, but I was looking for something that used sliced-up lemons (in other words, I wouldn't peel them first ... taking advantage of the Meyer thin peel).
I found this recipe in various places on Epicurious.com:
Meyer Lemon Marmalade
1-1/2 lbs MEYER LEMONS (5-6)
4 cups WATER
4 cups SUGAR
Halve lemons crosswise and remove seeds. Tie seeds in a cheesecloth bag. Quarter each lemon half and thinly slice. Combine with bag of seeds and water in a 5-quart non-reactive pot and let mixture stand, covered, at room temperature 24 hours.
Bring lemon mixture to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until reduced to 4 cups, about 45 minutes.
Stir in sugar and boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally and skimming off any foam, until a teaspoon of mixture dropped on a cold plate gels, about 15 minutes.
Ladle hot marmalade into jars, filling to within 1/4" inch of top. Wipe rims with dampened cloth and seal jars with lids.
Put jars in a water-bath canner filled with boiling water, to cover jars by at least 1 inch. Boil jars, covered, 5 minutes and transfer to a rack to cool. Yields approx. 6 half-pint jars. Marmalade will store in a cool, dark place, up to 1 year.
I posted it on rec.food.cooking hoping for some advice from the jam makers; unfortunately the principal one was away with a family health crisis, but I did get one person saying "that doesn't look like enough sugar". This, and recipe-maker's comments that the second stage took a lot closer to an hour than fifteen minutes, turned out to be correct. I ended up adding a cup of sugar (half cup at a time) to the mixture during the final boil, and I did indeed measure the fruit mixture after boiling down. I think next time I might take a leaf from my rfc advisor's book and add some fresh lemon juice at that stage to perk up the flavor a bit, or maybe make lemon-ginger next time and have the ginger counteract the bitter peel flavor somewhat.
But it tastes good. I got four jars and a custard-cup full. I will go and stick my finger in the custard cup for a taste occasionally.
It set up well before gel point (220 F) by my thermometer. I did soak the lemons and seeds for three days, as I cut them up on Saturday and was out late on Sunday and Monday, so didn't make it up till Tuesday. (I was still fishing seeds out of the marmalade. Meyers are very seedy.)
I need to get myself a "real" water-bath canner if I continue to do this, because my big pot isn't tall enough to cover the jars with water, but among the last things I heard before finally falling asleep last night was the satisfying "pop" of the lids making their seal as they cooled.
I noted from the comments that it might be slightly weak tasting or bitter so modified it based on a recipe I have used for many years for Mandarin Orange Marmalade. It turned out very well, nice lemon flavor, not bitter and set well. Cooking the peel separately with baking soda softens it and removes some of the bitterness and it really doesn't take that much longer.
So here it is:
6 Meyer lemons, 1.5 lbs
4 c water
5.5 c sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
Peel lemons, slice peel thinly, add 2 c water and 1/4 tsp baking soda and boil 20 min. Do not drain.
Chop reserved lemons, removing and reserving seeds in cheesecloth as above. Combine chopped fruit with boiled peel in nonreactive large pot, add remaining 2 cups water, reserved seeds and let sit overnight.
The next day bring fruit mixture above to a boil and simmer until reduced to 4 cups (about 30 min). Measure, add water to equal 4 cups if necessary. Return to pot, bring to a full rolling boil, remove seeds, add sugar all at once and return to a full boil for exactly 4 minutes, stirring constantly and skimming as needed. Ladle into hot jars and seal.
Hope this recipe is tried and enjoyed by someone else. Finding the information on this site certainly helped me. Next I'm going to try the lemon chutney recipe--still have some lemons left. Maybe even enuf for a batch of lemon curd as well.