Monday morning in Washington was cold and dark, with sleeting rain. My camellia bush outside my kitchen window had icicles dripping from the leaves.
It was a perfect day to stay inside and make meyer lemon marmalade. My grandmother always made orange marmalade which I loved, but I was never motivated to try a recipe that takes days, not hours. And her recipe required boiling the peels three times: too much work. However, I had bookmarked a lemon marmalade recipe in the great jam cookbook “Food in Jars” that I wanted to try. Marisa McClellan, the author, had recently recommended on her blog a good source for organic meyer lemons: the Lemon Ladies. Last week I ordered 3 pounds of lemons, hoping to finally make marmalade.
Marisa’s recipe is very detailed, including clear directions on the proper way to slice the lemons. I followed half of her instructions, I did pit the seeds and remove the pith from the lemons but I used my Magimix food processor to slice the lemons.
It saved so much time and the Magimix is so accurate when slicing, I’m happy with the results. And my kitchen smelled amazing, the lemons are so aromatic. My hands were still scented with lemon later in the day.
There are many different approaches to marmalade. Marisa slices the fruit, adds some of the sugar and lets that mixture sit for 24 to 48 hours in a cold place. I left mine for 48 hours, this helps to soften the peels. Then more sugar and some water is added and the mixture is cooked for 30 to 40 minutes or until it reaches 220 degrees.
Then you ladle the jam into jars and process it in a water bath for 10 minutes.
You may wonder what is the bag sitting in the pot? Its the pith and seeds, all bundled up. It cooks along with the marmalade, releasing the petin which will help to thicken the jam. I also added half of a vanilla bean for flavor.
The result is a variety of jar shapes, all perfect for gifts or just enjoying at home. This pairs beautifully with triple cream cheese and crackers. The Lemon Ladies recommend eating it with goat cheese.
Once I was done I had one lone lemon left and finally tried a whole lemon tart recipe that has been floating on the internet for ages. Food 52 has a version as does Smitten Kitchen. So I made the tart. Its good but my testers thought it was a little eggy. I do prefer a lemon tart made with classic lemon curd.
So, thank you Marisa and the Lemon Ladies. The marmalade will brighten my breakfasts and my cheese plates.