This Meyer Lemon Marmalade recipe uses no pectin, just lemons and sugar. It’s like sunshine in a jar, and who doesn’t need that some days?
I’m honestly obsessed with this stuff. I used to eat it every day, but it doesn’t fit into our new low-refined-sugar lifestyle (so fun), so I think it’s going to have to be just a Sunday thing.
People think you’re performing some kind of alchemy in your kitchen when you give them a little jar of homemade jam, so I recommend learning if you haven’t tried it yet. And I guess it is alchemy, or chemistry anyway. I just wish Ball would bring back the adorable gingham lids they used to make (anyone listening?). There are few things that make me as happy as a jar of lemon marmalade with a yellow gingham lid.
If you are interested in making jam, be sure to check out my recipe for Wild Plum Jam!
- 1 1/2 pounds Meyer lemons (about 6–7)
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- 5″ x 5″ piece of cheesecloth, and a 6″ piece of string
- 6 half-pint (8 oz.) jars, or the equivalent (if you want something prettier, check out these Weck tulip jars)
Time needed: 1 day, 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Makes roughly 6 half-pint jars.
- Wash the lemons
Since you are going to be cooking the whole fruit, wash the lemons well, scrubbing off any dirt or grime that’s collected in the little pores.
- Cut up the lemons, saving the seeds
Cut each lemon in half, and pick out as many seeds as you can, setting them aside. Then cut each half in half and thinly slice.
- Tie up the seeds
Place all of the seeds you’ve collected in the center of the cheesecloth and tie it into a little package with the string. Cut off any excess cloth or string, and rub off any loose bits of cheesecloth.
- Soak the lemon mixture overnight
Put the lemons, water, and seed package into a large non-reactive pot, cover, and let sit for 24 hours. This will allow the lemons to macerate a bit and the pectin to release.
- Simmer the lemons
Bring your lemons and water to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer uncovered until the mixture reduces by about half, to about 4 cups or so. This takes a while so I tend to do this while I’m doing other things in the kitchen so I can give it a stir occasionally.
- Add the sugar
Take the seed packet out of the pot. Then add the 4 cups of sugar and keep at a low boil, stirring occasionally and skimming off any foam.
Also, put a small plate in the freezer now for the gel test. You want the plate to get good and cold.
- Do a gel test
You can tell when the marmalade is starting to gel because it gets this kind of tar pit bubbling as it starts to thicken. That’s when you know it’s time to do a gel test: put a teaspoon of marmalade on the cold plate, put the plate back in the freezer for 2 minutes, then take it out and tilt it. If the marmalade runs in drips, it’s not ready yet. If it runs in more of a sheet or a mass, it’s ready. You can see in the photo how the marmalade also has kind of a skin on it, and the surface is wrinkling a bit. These are also signs that it’s ready.
- Ladle the marmalade into jars
Ladle your marmalade into sterilized jars or containers, leaving a 1/4 inch space at the top. Seal with jars with lids.
- Seal jars in a water bath
Fill a large pot about half full of water, place a rack in the bottom, and bring to a boil. (You can use a canning pot for this or just a large stockpot.) Add your jars to the hot bath and make sure that the water covers the lids by at least one inch. Bring the water back to a boil and boil the jars for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the bath and let cool.
- Check the seals and tighten the bands
Make sure that all of your jars have sealed properly, and finger tighten any bands that need it.
Your marmalade will keep up to a year in a cool dark place. Label your jars with the year so you know when it’s time to get rid of it. Mine never lasts that long. 🙂 Pro tip: if you use round labels on the tops of the jars, like these, then you don’t have to worry about getting them off the jars when you want to reuse them. It’s not as convenient when you’re looking in the cupboard or frig but I’ll give that up to not have to scrub labels off of all my jars.
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