This will be the last of the marmalades in the Pantry Essentials series for now. Come summer, we’ll do more. This marmalade goes beyond the toast and biscuit spread to a big punch of pure flavor to add enticement to a weekday chicken and veggie skillet.
As with all marmalades, this has lengthy prep so sit, turn on the music, and enjoy. There are multiple styles of prep, which give this marmalade a lot of texture interest.
Yields 11 half pints
If you wisely froze some fresh lemon juice when you made a lemon zest puree for holiday baking, you’ll have that on hand and won’t need to buy extra lemons for juice.
• 4 pounds lemons, about 14 the size of a jumbo egg
• 1 cup fresh lemon juice (never bottled)
• a hand of ginger
• 8 cups white cane sugar
• 2-3 Tbsp ginger puree*
1. If your lemons aren’t organic, give them a quick scrub.
2. Using a potato peeler, peel 4 of the lemons. Snip the peel into skinny 1/8-inch strips. Set aside, reserving the peeled lemons.
3. For the remaining 10 lemons: Slice off the knobs at either end. Set the lemon on end and slice in half lengthwise, then turn, cut side down, on the cutting board and slice each half into 4 lengthwise segments. Now, slice across the segments very fine, about 1/8-inch slices. Each slice will be a little wedge with zest and a bit of juicy pulp. Frequently scrape the cut pieces into a bowl so you don’t lose juice. Continue on until all 10 lemons are sliced.
4. Peel sections of the ginger and then choose the tender juicy outside of the pieces, avoiding the tough stringy interior. Cut the best of the ginger into tiny dice, less than ¼ inch.
5. Next, juice out the 4 lemons you peeled in the beginning. Add fresh juice to make 2 cups of lemon juice. You should have:
• 1 ½ cups zest strips
• 7 cups of slices
• 2 cups lemon juice
• ½ cup of diced ginger
6. Mix all this together in a bowl and cover with plastic by sliding the whole bowl into a plastic grocery bag and tying the handles. Into the refrigerator overnight.
1. Start up your water bath, lay out clean jars, ladle, and funnel. As the water begins to boil, dip the jars, lids, and equipment to sterilize, and lay these out on a clean towel ready to fill.
2. Put all the prepared lemon and ginger into your jam pot and add the sugar. If you leave it for a few minutes, the sugar will begin to dissolve. When it all looks pretty wet, start stirring as you turn on the burner. Stir until the sugar is all taken up, making sure to get into the bottom edges.
3. Clip on a thermometer. Bring the mixture quickly to a boil, stirring occasionally. Turn down the heat and continue cooking until the lemon zest looks transparent and the marmalade looks glossy. Now, turn up the heat and bring the mixture to 220 degrees.
4. Ladle the marmalade into jars, apply the two-piece lids, and put into the boiling water bath. Process for 7 minutes. As you remove the jars, put them upside down for a few minutes before righting them. This prevents floating fruit.
5. Label the jars, including the year, and store in a dark cupboard. Marmalade keeps for about a year, but you’ll probably have eaten or given it all away by next January when it’s time to make more.
Note on Ginger Puree
* I use ginger puree a lot, especially in pickles. If you haven’t yet put up a jar in the freezer, this is a good time. Here’s how:
Ginger puree is so handy to have on hand. Watch for fresh, silky-skinned ginger and buy a big piece. Roughly peel it and slice into ½-inch pieces. Toss those into the mini-prep processor, add about 2 Tbsp cane sugar to 1 cup of ginger chunks, and process to a puree.
The sugar keeps it from freezing too hard. Keep this in a jar in the freezer to add to preserves, pickling syrup, and even stir fry. And, yes, gingerbread! There’s not enough sugar to make any difference in flavor.
• Chicken pieces of your choice
• Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
• Olive oil for the skillet
• Diced onion
• Fresh or roasted garlic cloves
• Fresh veggies such as color bell peppers, zucchini, sugar snaps or snow peas
• Optional: a handful of pitted olives
• Spoonfuls of Lemon-Ginger Marmalade
• Optional: just a little white wine
1. Prepare the chicken for cooking. I use boneless breasts and slice them horizontally to pieces about the size of my palm (3 by 4 inches) and ¼-inch thick. Season with sea salt and pepper.
2. Sauté the chicken until nicely colored and just about done. Remove it to a plate while you cook the veggies. Sauté the onion until transparent, add the garlic and stir in. Push aside and do a quick sauté of the veggies, then add the chicken back in, nestling it down into the veggies.
3. Cover and cook slowly until the veggies are just crisp-tender. Stir in spoonfuls of the Lemon Ginger Marmalade to give the meal a glossy glaze. Add a splash of white wine if you’d like it saucier. Heat a moment more and serve with rice if you like.
This version is vaguely Greek in flavor. You can make it Asian by omitting the olives, cutting the chicken into strips appropriate to stir fry and using dark sesame oil instead of olive.
Wendy Akin is happy to share her years of traditional skills knowledge. Over the years, she’s earned many state fair ribbons for pickles, relishes, preserves and special condiments, and even a few for breads. Read all of Wendy’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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