Saturday, April 23, 2011

Meyer Lemon and Mineola Orange Marmalade

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I'm pretty excited about this marmalade for a couple reasons.  Why?
  • It's an awesome combination of sweet and bitter
  • We've got an abundance of Meyer lemons
  • Sarah made this before, and this time, Kirsty and I did it on our own
  • I learned how to extract the pectin from the fruit
 I looked at a bunch of recipes, and found some helpful tips on a few of them.  Most of the recipes were looking for a much lighter amount of fruit.  Somehow, it just didn't seem right, so I went above and beyond.  When Sarah made this recipe, she added a couple Clementine oranges, which added some complexity to the flavor, and I really like how it offsets the color of the lemon.  I just got some organic Mineola Oranges from our CSA.  They've got a thicker skin, a very dark orange rind, giving it a stronger bitter bite, and the deep color contrast.

What's good about this marmalade over others?
  •  We used a lot of fruit.  About twice most other recipes.  It's rich.
  • We combined lemon and orange, adding flavor and color.
I've been intrigued with the idea of canning, or making jams.  We've made a few berry jams, with berries from the farmer's market, so this was kinda cool, essentially the ingredients came from our harvest, and of course, the sugar.  We even extracted the pectin from the fruit, which is doubly cool.

You really don't need anything special to make this recipe, although a couple tools are handy.
  • Cheescloth
  • Candy or instant thermometer
  • Jar funnel
  • A couple large pots, 1 for sterilizing, 1 for cooking
  • 7-8 canning jars with 2 part lids (8 oz jars)
  • Tongs - there are special jar tongs.  I don't use them, but might be nice to have.
3 pounds Meyer lemons
2 each Mineola oranges
4 cups sugar
5 cups water
1 cup meyer lemon juice
Sterilize the jars and lids in a large pot full of water, enough to cover the jars.  I put both parts of the lid in the pot to boil.  I've noticed some say it's hard on the rubber seal.  I haven't had a problem, but I haven't made that many batches.  Boil about 10 minutes, then dry on a clean towel.  Use tongs so you don't get anything on the sterile jars and lids.

Chop the Lemons
While the jars are boiling, start cutting up the fruit.  For the marmalade, we cut 1/8-1/4 inch slices, then cut out the membrane from the center, and cut into wedges.  We also cut off both ends of the lemon, and removed all the seeds. Keep all the trimmings, especially the seeds in a pile on the cheesecloth.  

Lemons boiling on left.  Sterilized jars, lids and holders on towel.
Combine the fruit, juice and water in a big pot.  Tie up the seeds and membrane in the cheesecloth, like a teabag.  Add to the water.  Bring to a boil and cook until the rinds are soft, and not chewy.  About 20 minutes.  Keep stirring.  If it seems like it's sticking to the bottom, add another cup of water.  I had to.  In fact, I didn't stir enough and had some rinds burn or at least brown on the bottom of the pan.  Oops.  
Boiling the fruit and 'teabag'.  Keep stirring!
Remove the 'teabag' of seeds and so on.  Let it cool.  That's got your pectin you'll squeeze back into the pot, once it's cool enough to handle.
Wrip up the seeds and membranes to make the pectin "teabag".

Add sugar
Add the sugar and return to a boil.  Once the teabag is cool, squeeze the cheesecloth bag into the boil.  I got about 2-3 Tbsp of really thick white juice from the bag.  You want to keep boiling until the temperature increases by 8 degrees (F).  If you don't have a thermometer, there are other ways you can tell if you're done.  One cool method I read about and used, put a plate in the freezer.  Drip some sauce on it.  If it gels enough to see it hold up when you push your finger in it, it's done.  If it just drips, it's not done.  Keep stirring the whole time with a wooden spoon.

Pour into jars
Use a ladle, and fill jars wthin a 1/4 of the top.  I got 7 jars from my batch.  Make sure the rims are clean, as well as the jar threads.  Put the lid on, then screw the lid holder down.  If you still have the other pot full of hot water, put the filled jars in the hot water, and return to a boil for 10 minutes.  This kills any bacteria.  Let cool and store in the fridge or in a cool dark place.  It should store for a year, I've heard.

Enjoy, especially on toast.


  1. We are having a blast using the marmalade- fun to add as a sweet/tart to horderves...cheese, apple slice and a bit of marmalade on crackers; great as a breakfast spread on toast; would be a nice top layer to a fruit tart or cheese cake. We'd love to hear your ideas on ways to use Meyer Lemon Marmalade. Tasty treats Tim!

  2. Turning your jars upside down and laying your lids rubber side down COULD give you some grief by "recontamination" or getting lint/fuzz/etc on the rims and seals and causing them to NOT seal propery. Also, the lids should remain in hot water to keep the rubber seal soft and pliable, again to ensure that the rubber seats and seals completely against the jar. If you are packing hot food/liquids, your jars should ALSO be kept hot up 'til "fill time".

    1. Wooden spoon? Those are porous and subject to transfer any contaminates into your product which you are canning. Always use a ONE PIECE, NON-porous utensil. @.@ Not even going to read the whole thing...its giving me canning nightmares.