Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Making Marmalade: Tips & Techniques


Jim Dixon
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have an abundance of Meyer lemons right now, and decided to try making marmalade. I found a recipe in How to Be Domestic Goddess (my wife tells me I already know how, except when it comes to cleaning) for grapefruit marmalade, and figured it would work for lemons, too.

It calls for cooking the whole fruit in water until they're tender (about an hour for lemons). I let them cool a bit, sliced off the stem end, split into quarters (and the central pithy part with most of the seeds lifts out fairly easily), then sliced thinly. Starting with 7 smallish lemons, I ended up with about 1 1/2 cups of peel and pulp.

I added a cup of sugar and cooked again. Nigella says to cook until the sugar "reaches the setting point (about 15 minutes)." I appreciate that kind of direction, but forgot that most jams set up a bit as they cool, so overcooked this test batch just a bit.

Still, even though the results are just a bit too stiff to spread easily, it tastes great. I'll be making more this weekend.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jim if you email me, I can try emailing you a recipe for Meyer Lemon Marmalade.

I make several jars of it every year. I envy you BIG time. My tree has only 4 lemons yet.. and I think that will be it. Two had dropped earlier in the season. :sad:

Well, I would be glad to share the recipe with you. Email me and it will be on its way. It is little different, and will certainly give you peel that will keep its shape but will not be too firm. :biggrin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After having made jams for several years, I have realized it is not all that easy to simply follow a recipe. Fruits vary in how much sugar they have. Also it depends on how much liquid has been added to a jam. And ultimately the best to test to ensure a consistency that you like, is to keep a couple of small plates frozen and to drop a little of the jam onto them, freeze it for a few minutes and then check by tilting the plate. You can quickly realize what consistency you have. And cook accordingly. I begin testing 15 minutes before the time given in a recipe. It is the safest way of not over cooking a jam.

But then there are jams like the apricot one I make where overcooking is the key. Go figure.:rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The lemons are pretty much lemon looking but have a great egg yolk yellow that is Meyer Lemon Yellow. I am sure Mrs. Meadow and Jim can be better at describing the yellow since they have so many too look at.

What is most special about these lemons is their smell. It is sweet and divine.

American lemons are very large, but in India, lemons are lemon sized, and Meyer lemons are larger than your average lemons.

Also we can now find two sizes in Meyer Lemons in NYC. One is larger than the other.

Edited by gfron1 (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are right, they do have different seasons.

Concorde grapes were available until quite recently. And now that they are gone, Meyer Lemons are available.

Am I right? My trees have them now.. But I also find them available in the few stores that carry them around this time. Jim? Mrs. Meadow? :wink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I've started seeing Meyer lemons in the local stores (Berkeley Bowl and Monterey Market). My tree is most productive at this time of year, but will bear fruit throughout the year.

As Suvir says, the scent of Meyer lemons is most special. The juice is less "puckery" than a Eureka lemon; perfect for lemonade as one may add more juice and less sugar.

Vanessa, happy to bring a few from the garden for you when I'm in the UK in March. :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I get most of my Meyer lemons from a friend in San Francisco. She has a tree in her yard, and it seems like we get boxes of fruit starting in the fall through December. You can also buy great Meyer lemons from Snow's Citrus Court (and really wonderful satsuma mandarins).

They're more fragile than other citrus so require more careful handling. It's only been in the past few years that I've seen them for sale here in Portland. But they seem to keep quite well in the refrigerator.

Jim

ps...Suvir...email for recipe coming

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jim,

I have emailed the recipe. And thanks for the link to the online store. I am going to try out their lemons and may also order some of the limes.

Have never cooked with Bearss Limes but every year I make a Sweet Lime marmalade that is a huge hit, and I am wonderfing if these limes are the same thing.

Off to do a google search on Bearss Limes.

Thanks again. :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OMYGOD, it is the most delicious quintessence of lemon!

I'm now wondering why I ever thought if giving some away?    :biggrin:

I have some technical questions; manufacturing notes to follow... (probably Saturday)

What did you give away? The meyer lemons or the marmalade?

Did you make the marmalade? How much?

Looking forward to your report. :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Here is my overdue report on making Suvir's Meyer Lemon Marmalade.

Mr. Meadow requested marmalade for his artisnal Christmas present, and with a windfall of lemons in hand, I began.

I started with roughly half a grocery bag full of lemons, which, when thinly sliced, yielded 10 cups. ("Thinly sliced" is more of a euphamism; I cannot think of a better reason to buy a mandoline than to support my new marmalade making habit). I was to remove all seeds and pith but had a difficult time removing ALL the pith and worried this would somehow ruin the end product; it did not. I started cooking this batch in my roasting pan (think shallow and wide) but switched to a 14" Calphalon skillet, which performed perfectly.

Previously, any recipe which includes the phrases "bring the mixture to 220 degrees" or "soft-ball stage" has frightened me away. I watched my mother make batch after batch of orange rock candy while attempting marmalade, hence my trepidation. However, we have a nifty probe thermometer, which Mr. Meadow uses for smoking meat, and once I set the required temp, lowered the probe into my vat o' lemons and commenced stirring, all was well. The thermometer is magnetized-I placed it on the stove's hood and adjusted the probe's length accordingly.

The marmalade hung out at 212 degrees for a good 30 minutes then slowly hit 215, 217, then instantly went to 221. I pulled it from the heat for testing and it set up *perfectly*. The yield from this batch was nearly 6 pints. I did not water-process the jars, which the recipe recommended, and they all sealed successfully. (I make jam regularly and don't process that either). Suvir, is there any reason marmalade, in particular, needs a 10 minute water process? The flavor has imporived even more over the course of a week, and the bitterness has mellowed just a wee bit. I've got some corn bread in the oven right now and we'll finish off the first pint in a few minutes...

Thank you again, Suvir, for the recipe!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is my overdue report on making Suvir's Meyer Lemon Marmalade.

Mr. Meadow requested marmalade for his artisnal Christmas present, and with a windfall of lemons in hand, I began.

I started with roughly half a grocery bag full of lemons, which, when thinly sliced, yielded 10 cups. ("Thinly sliced" is more of a euphamism; I cannot think of a better reason to buy a mandoline than to support my new marmalade making habit).  I was to remove all seeds and pith but had a difficult time removing ALL the pith and worried this would somehow ruin the end product; it did not.  I started cooking  this batch in my roasting pan (think shallow and wide) but switched to a 14" Calphalon skillet, which performed perfectly.

Previously, any recipe which includes the phrases "bring the mixture to 220 degrees" or "soft-ball stage" has frightened me away. I watched my mother make batch after batch of orange rock candy while attempting marmalade, hence my trepidation.  However, we have a nifty probe thermometer, which Mr. Meadow uses for smoking meat, and once I set the required temp, lowered the probe into my vat o' lemons and commenced stirring, all was well. The thermometer is magnetized-I placed it on the stove's hood and adjusted the probe's length accordingly.

The marmalade hung out at 212 degrees for a good 30 minutes then slowly hit 215, 217, then instantly went to 221. I pulled it from the heat for testing and it set up *perfectly*. The yield from this batch was nearly 6 pints. I did not water-process the jars, which the recipe recommended, and they all sealed successfully. (I make jam regularly and don't process that either). Suvir, is there any reason marmalade, in particular, needs a 10 minute water process?  The flavor has imporived even more over the course of a week, and the bitterness has mellowed just a wee bit.  I've got some corn bread in the oven right now and we'll finish off the first pint in a few minutes...

Thank you again, Suvir, for the recipe!

The 10 minutes of processing is for canning. And it will help keep the marmalade safe for cosumption for a long long time.

How do you like the taste of the marmalade? Was the sugar OK for you? It was not too sweet was it?

How was the consistency? Did you not do any freezer testing?

And thanks for posting about your experience.

I have bought meyer lemons.. will julienne tonight and proceed with the recipe.

How do you use your mandoline for this? I have never used a mandoline... (actually I have), but am not very confident in my mandoline using skills... :sad:

YOu have inspired me to try and get enough courage to begin playing with it... Maybe tonight I shall.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Suvir,

Here are some additional notes and questions:

Whe I make jam, I never process it, just sterilize the jars and lids and let the heat create a nice vacuum seal. Lasts for at least a year with no problem. Any reason this marmalade needs the additional processing? Are you worried about microbial activity??

The sugar level was just right; helped cut some of the bitterness but not too cloying. The spicing was just right. I think next time I will add chopped, peeled fresh ginger and see how that works. I like ginger. :smile:

I tested for consistency in the freezer AS SOON AS the marmalde hit 220 (actually it went straight to 221). It firmed up immediately, so I proceeded to the jars. Not too firm, not too runny. Spreadable. How's that for a description?

And I don't have a mandoline *yet*. I was sort of hoping Santa would leave one under the tree! It seems a mandoline would work very well for slicing all the lemons very thin. I did not julienne, more of a thinnish slice that veered toward a rough chop toward the end...

Oh, and lemon marmalade on hot cornbread is wonderful!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whe I make jam, I never process it, just sterilize the jars and lids and let the heat create a nice vacuum seal. Lasts for at least a year with no problem. Any reason this marmalade needs the additional processing? Are you worried about microbial activity??

I have only canned jams/jellies/chutneys and preserves. Never known any other way. It does keep the food safe for a long time. And I assume it keeps it safe from microbial and other activity. Have you checked the Tomato Chutney thread? You can find some great canning tips on that thread. And also links to related sites.

Tomato Chutney

Click Me for important canning tips. :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The sugar level was just right; helped cut some of the bitterness but not too cloying. The spicing was just right. I think next time I will add chopped, peeled fresh ginger and see how that works. I like ginger.  :smile: 

I tested for consistency in the freezer AS SOON AS the marmalde hit 220 (actually it went straight to 221). It firmed up immediately, so I proceeded to the jars.  Not too firm, not too runny. Spreadable. How's that for a description?

Good to know it was not too sweet. I am not much of a fan of very sweet marmalade.

I give away many jars of my jams and marmalades each year. Think in terms of several dozens. My mother brings them back to India. It was there, from her, that I learned these recipes, but she has stopped making them :sad: They have no need for them she says.. the kids are gone... They need no extra sweet intake. But she is eager to bring back jars of what I make for their daily breakfast consumption :shock: And now I have cousins in Bombay who have eaten at their table and want their own supply.. I try and make as much as I can.. With little effort, I am able to make many people happy...Thus I can.. so around the world, I can send safe and tasty jars.

Your description of testing it for consistency is great. Thanks for sharing.:smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

Hello all, lurker with a serious case of the jitters...

I made orange/lemon marmalade two weeks ago. Boiled my jars, filled them with hot fruit, processed in a boiling water bath for 5-7 minutes and let cool overnight. Then I put them directly in the fridge to let them set... two weeks later, I open one, it's not set.

Tastes fine, looks fine, just not set. Have I given myself botulism by tasting it? I thought the acid and the fact that they have been in the fridge would cut the risk, but I find myself worrying if I'm about to drop dead ... I can't enjoy mussels/clams for a similar reason (PSP)...

Help!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why are you concerned about your marmalade?

Just because they haven't set?

That sounds like more of a pectin or sugar level problem than contamination.

As long as the lids are staying sealed, you should be fine.

The bacterium which cause Botulism poisoning (Clostridium botulinum) prefer low acid environments, so the odds of them enjoying life in Marmalade are pretty slim.

-Erik

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...