Greetings, dear meows!
I hope you all are having a tremendous start to 2022! February is here, and dead winter for most of the country, in the States at least… But where I reside in forever spring/summerville of Southern California, winter lasts for about 2 months MAX before it starts heating up again. Citrus is abundant EVERYWHERE from oranges, kumquats, limes, pomelo’s, grapefruits, and of course… Lemons! These trees are all over the place and are pretty much perpetual in growth. My baby daddy, Jay Luna, brings back bags and bags of lemon’s from his mother’s tree in her garden. That is one happy tree, lemme tell ya! Then the dilemma is what to do with all of those lemons, right? Lemonade? Lemon curd? Limoncello? I decide to try making something a bit different, at least for me, that would also crossover into other areas of cooking and desserts. Marmalade!
I absolutely love jams, jellies, and preserves. Kind of fascinated by them, really. And would like to learn more about canning and food preservation, dehydration, etc… But marmalade was never at the top of my list. The orange kind was always hit or miss for me. Too sweet, or too bitter… Too much rind. I dunno. It’s hard to explain. I did purchase a jar of lavender lemon marmalade from https://www.capecodlavenderfarm.com/shop/lavender-marmalade which was very lovely. But that was eons ago. Then for some odd reason I was reminded of those fruit jelly slices… Remember those? The candy ones shaped like a slice of fruit? Anyways, that lead me to craving candied citrus rind, which then lead me to thinking, why not make a lemon marmalade and incorporate all of those cravings onto one? So, I went for it!
In researching a plethora of recipes for my marmalade extravaganza, I was surprised at how many different methods there were to making this stuff. Some were really easy, like the one I decided to go with, and some were super complex and time consuming. I guess it just depends on the recipe, and how one is taught to make it. One of the major things that stood out was how only a handful suggested leaving most of the seeds in during cooking as the seeds themselves contain pectin, which is a natural fiber and used as a thickener. Think homemade cranberry sauce and how it thickens. Marmalade should turn out something like that consistency using the seeds from your citrus. I did remove about half of the seeds from mine since there were literally buttloads of them in these lemons! But made sure to leave plenty behind. The results from this was a game changer. It gave me the perfect texture. Thick, yet easily spreadable, which also made the seeds easier to remove before canning or jarring. It’s an extra step, but since it was my first try, I just went rustic. In hindsight I might use cheesecloth to hold the seeds, but honestly didn’t mind fishing them out since they were easy to spot, and beautifully suspended amongst the lemony jelly and rind.
So here’s the thing. I just went with my gut, and made it. No recipe, really… Just knowing what I wanted it to be and how I wanted it to turn out. I used 5 large lemons, sliced very thin on a mandolin or veggie slicer. Use what you have. Food processor, a sharp knife, just get the slices as thin as you can. They don’t have to be perfect at all, just cut thinly. I removed about 40 percent of the seeds and left the rest in with the slices. You’ll need a good heavy bottomed pot for this. You don’t want to use a thin pot or pan since it’ll over heat and possibly burn the marmalade and that’ll suck! I went with medium low flame. Mine took about an hour to cook total, so slow and steady wins the race here. Another things is having plenty of sugar on hand. I wound up using just under 2 1/2 cups of sugar. I KNOW. It’s a lot of sugar, but trust me, you’ll need it, and to be fair, I started out with 1 cup of cane sugar, 1/2 cup of water. Then added in more sugar to taste as the marmalade started to come together. As the mixture reduced. I would taste it, and add more sugar until I was happy with the sweetness. You can pretty much walk away for the first 25 minutes or so and let the lemons and sugar have their honeymoon. After that, you gotta stir and watch those two cause the changes happen very quickly from then on. I liked having the control over the sugar by adding it in stages rather than dumping it all in at once. It was a nice gradual way of getting the results I was looking for, and was able to see the changes in thickness and sweetness as it bubbled along.
Testing the consistancy was a lot like when you’re making a good sauce or gravy. You know. The old line on the back of the spoon? I used a rubber spatula, not that it matters, but I was able to gauge when I felt the marmalade was done, especially since it cooled down so quickly on the spat, so I could see the texture almost right away. Pay attention to the way it “sounds” when it’s cooking down. A lot like frying, the sounds the food is making will often tell you how it’s doing and what stage it’s in. As it gets closer to being ready, the marmalade will bubble bubble toil and trouble and will sound closer together, if that makes sense, meaning that the water is slowly evaporating, thus creating the thickness desired. But be careful not to burn it! Stir it often so you can feel how it’s cooking. Test it again on your spoon or spatula, and once you reach the desired sweetness and thickness, turn that baby off and let her rest. I felt like mine was missing something, so I added a half tablespoon of my homemade vanilla bean extract at the end, which mellowed it out in a nice way. A very subtle flavor addition, but did the trick for me and my taste buds.
Once Lady Lemon Marmalade was cooled down, I put most of her in a mason jar, and the rest in two smaller glass jars l had from the old packaging of my line of seasonings. I yielded just over 5 cups total once she was finished. It sounds like a lot, but once you start eating this stuff, I’m tell ya… You’ll be coming up with all kinds of groovy ideas for it’s use! From spreading it on toast, on some sexy brie cheese with crackers, on waffles, English muffins, in your tea, crepes, blintzes, and other sweet edibles, the possibilities are endless. And give some to your friends, family, and co-workers and turn them on to something different. I’m honestly glad I decided to make some. I’ll definitely be making it again! And with that, dear reader, I will bid you a dew… or a don’t. 🤣 But I hope you give marmalade making a try. It was worth it and really fun to prepare. Until we eat again, meows… Happy Cooking and Bone App the Teef!
Cheers, hugs, and meows!
xoxo Nikki Meow 😻🖤✨🔮
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