Here’s another homemade gift idea for the holidays–Meyer Lemon Marmalade. It’s a little different twist on traditional jelly or jam. The Meyer Lemon tree in my backyard that I planted 2 years ago was prolific. I was so excited with the 100 or so lemons that it produced and decided that this would be a good time to try making marmalade. It turned out very well–sweet yet tart with a fruity flavor.
I knew nothing about making marmalade. Fortunately, there are enough posts on the internet and recipes in magazines and books, that I figured out what to do–basically you are making candy. And, we made lots of candy in the Christmas season when I was growing up, so this part was familiar. My mother loved to make peanut brittle candy. Follow along with my lemon marmalade experiment.
Marmalade is traditionally made with navel oranges–it is sweet and bitter at the same time with pieces of the rind along with the juice and sugar The peels and pulp are cut up finely and soaked in water for 24 hours. Then sugar is added, the mixture is boiled on the stove to a soft ball candy stage. Then the marmalade is poured into sterile canning jars and processed in a canner for 5 minutes to seal the lids. The process of making marmalade is a bit tedious, I’ll have to admit that part, but worth the effort. The kitchen has an aromatic aroma as the concoction bubbled on the stove to make a festive holiday spirit.
Meyer Lemon Tree
Although marmalade is traditionally made with navel oranges why not try another citrus fruit? Meyer lemons are a cross between lemons and oranges. They appear as very large lemons. This is one fruit tree which grows in Southern Louisiana. It likes well drained soil and sunny spot in the yard. We haven’t had the hard freezes in several years which can kill the trees, so fruit trees (Meyer lemons, kumquats, satsumas, oranges) are flourishing in our part of the country. Here are some of the Meyer lemons which grew in my backyard last year on my lemon tree. This year I had at least 100 lemons–I quit counting.
To make marmalade the rinds of the oranges are peeled off, cut up in pieces. Then the pulp is added in. I tried this approach but got tired of peeling lemons. So I quartered the whole lemons, removed the seeds and cut these into thin strips.
Next, the mixture is cooked on the stove for 30 minutes or so until the peels are soft. Then add sugar, cook an additional 30-45 minutes until the sugar concentrates to a “soft ball” stage. This is the tedious part. If you don’t cook long enough, the marmalade will be runny. Overcooking results in a marmalade that is hard as a rock. Too much stirring results in a crystallized jelly.
After breaking numerous candy thermometers, I purchased a digital thermometer. This thermometer allows you to pre-set the target temperature and beeps when you reach this temperature. It works–just remember to remove the protective sticker from the packaging.
And it is very tasty with a lemony flavor-both sweet and tart. It makes a unique holiday gift for family, friends and co-workers.
Meyer Lemon Marmalade by MayleesKitchen
- 6 Meyer lemons (2 cups sliced lemons)
- 5 cups water
- 5 cups sugar
- 9 sterile 1/2 pint canning jars, seals and rings
Method and Steps
- Wash and drain lemons.
- Slice lemons crosswise, then quarter. Remove seeds.
- Then slice lemons thinly and transfer to non-metal bowl along with water. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Transfer to large heavy pot, bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Then add sugar, stir and cook and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, let cook until the mixture reaches a soft ball stage of 220 degrees F, or until a drop of the marmalade makes a soft clump when dropped onto a cold plate.
- Ladle marmalade into hot sterilized 1/2 pint canning jars to 1/2 inch from the top. Wipe rim clean. Add seal and ring.
- Transfer to boiling water bath of hot canner. Water should cover jars by one inch. Return to boil and process for 5 minutes after water boils.
- Transfer to a wire rack with tongs, cool completely, make sure jars are sealed. Label and date.