Meyer lemons are very different from ordinary lemons. Originating in China and brought to America in the early 1900s, they are thought to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. Working with Meyers, there is a floral perfume to the rind — almost Neroli-like — and the fruit has a distinct mandarin flavor.
This recipe should be used only for Meyer lemons. The more common lemon calls for a different recipe and we’ll get to that in a later post.
Homemade Meyer Lemon Marmalade Recipe
Yields 8 half pints
• 3 pounds Meyer lemons, about 12 fruits
• additional fresh lemon juice, about a cup. Not bottled.
• 1 cup mandarin, tangerine or orange juice
• 6 cups white cane sugar
1. Meyer lemons have a very thin, delicate skin and a thin layer of pith. Because the zest (skin) is so delicate, you want slightly wider pieces. Use a potato peeler to peel the lemons. The strips will be only about ¾-inch wide, because the lemons are small. Using sharp scissors, cut each strip into pieces about ¼-inch wide, cutting across the strips at a slight diagonal. You should have about 2 ½ cups of cut zest.
2. Now take a small knife and lightly score the pith then peel off every possible bit of the white pith. Discard the pith.
3. Cut the lemons in half horizontally and pick out the seeds — Meyers are seedy, up to 10 seeds in each. Drop half the lemons halves into the food processor and pulse a few times to break them up. There will be pieces of lemon flesh swimming in juice. Pour this into a 4-cup measuring cup. With a small spoon, pick through looking for any seeds you missed and remove these.
4. Now put the rest of the lemon halves in the processor and pulse more thoroughly to free up more juice. Don’t puree it, just get it juicier. Pour this into a sieve over a bowl and use a flat bottom glass or jar to press out all the juice. Discard the membranes. Add the juice to the measuring cup. You should have 4 cups — add fresh lemon juice if needed to make 4 cups.
5. Mix the zest, pulp, extracted juice and the additional juices in a bowl. Cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.
1. Start up your water bath and gather jars, lids, ladle and funnel. When the water comes to a boil, dip all the jars, lids, ladle and funnel to sterilize them. Lay them out next to the stove on a clean towel.
2. Pour the bowl of zest, pulp and juice into your jam pot. Add the sugar and stir well. Over medium heat, bring the marmalade to a boil, stirring occasionally. Clip on a thermometer for accuracy.
3. Bring the marmalade to the jelling point, 220 degrees. Turn off the heat and stir a minute until the foam subsides. At this point, you will probably see a few more seeds floating on top — use a small spoon to retrieve these and the tiny black specks that were unformed seeds. Fill the jars within ¼ inch, apply the 2 piece lids and process for 7 minutes.
4. As you take the jars out, put them on a clean towel about an inch apart upside down. The Meyer lemon marmalade is not as packed with zest, so you place the jars upside down to keep the zest strips well distributed. After about 10 minutes, turn the jars right-side up and they will quickly ping.
Before storing or gifting, label the jars including the date.
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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