I've always wanted to make a marmalade but I never felt like I had any great, best produce of fruit on hand. Then last week, I chanced upon some of the loveliest lemons. They were small with a smooth and un-wrinkled porous thin skin; exactly how you would imagine a perfect lemon to look like. Turns out they were Meyer Lemons and I just had to get them because I've never tried them before.
That's Kurious Kira at the bottom right corner. This photo cracks me up in so many ways. I was taking these photos and suddenly I saw a pink nose sneakily entering my frame!!
I've read about these beauties that they're sour but with a slight sweetness to them compared to regular lemons. With such an incredible flavour it has, I wanted to preserve it as best I can. I didn't want to make a lemon tart or a lemon dessert because the flavour would just be diluted and masked by butter, cream and eggs. I considered between some preserved lemons (but when will I ever use preserved lemons?) and a marmalade and settled for the latter because I could use it in pastry, and on scones and toast and I might as well kick start my first marmalade with these Meyer Lemons. Also because they have such a thin skin, it wouldn't create a bitter marmalade as there is almost negligible white pith. That means these Meyer Lemons are great for candying lemon peels too. Too bad I only had about 8 on hand or I would have candied some as well.
The finicky thing about doing this is you have to remove all the pips of the lemons and these small lemons have heck loads of them. But it's a job that has to be done there's no way you can go about avoiding this step.
I did my marmalade the way Fortnum & Mason's of London do theirs. They specialize in marmalade and I was pleased with the results and flavour I achieved. It is actually so simple. For a great marmalade, of course, you'll need the best of fruits you can find. There is no recipe, however. You simply measure out the amount of stewed fruits you have in pints, and add the same value, in pounds, of sugar.
I had 1 pint of stewed fruits and so I added in 1 pound of caster sugar.
You stew your fruits for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours depending on your thick the skin is. I stewed mine for about 1 1/4 hours because the skin is so thin. What you're looking for after these few hours is being able to cut their the skin extremely easily with a fork and knife. That way you remove all the bitterness and the skin is soft enough to be eaten. The scent that comes through from this stewing process is just absolutely lovely!
I have horrible lighting in my kitchen..
Anyway, when you've got all your lemons diced and sliced, you do the weighing, juice and all, and the adding of the sugar as I said earlier on. Once you've got the amount of sugar you require, place it onto a tray and pop it into a preheated oven to warm the sugar up so you have a nice shine to your finished marmalade. At the same time, you can place your bottles inside the oven too to sterilize them before use.
Once your sugar is heated, dump all of it into a large pot along with your chopped lemon peel and its juice and stir it with a wooden spoon. Heat it over high heat and bring it to a rolling boil. When it has reduced a little, you can start doing the wrinkle-test.
You don't need a thermometer or a brix reader like what professionals probably use to consistently get the same results. I did it using the wrinkle-test. Basically, you take some of the marmalade and pop a small dollop onto a cold plate and leave it inside the freezer for about a minute or two. And when you touch it with your finger and it wrinkles, that means it's ready.
It's actually great fun doing this because it's so terribly easy. At this stage you just want to cut it according to how you like your marmalade. I like mine chunky so I did some rough cuts and some thin cuts. It doesn't have to be beautifully sliced but if you prefer yours that way, by all means go ahead! Also, as you cut through those stewed lemons, if you find any extra pips that you missed out on earlier, simply remove it.
I did it in a plate just to keep all the wonderful juices. You want to use those because it's provides your marmalade such a beautiful fragrance.
Once it's ready, the colour should be slightly orange-y because it caramelized a little during the boiling process.
I've always wanted to recreate this lemon marmalade by a brand called Agrimontana which I used at work in Paris. Turns out these taste quite the same to it, just chunkier! The flavour is just spectacular.
Pop the lid on and turn the jars upside down. Leave it aside to cool to room temperature and store it in a dry place. Once opened, keep it refrigerated.
I had mine gift-wrapped because they look so much cuter like this!! Giving some bottles away to family friends.
Have it with your toasts, scones or crackers. I opted for crackers on this Monday morning! This is pretty much by far the best Lemon Marmalade I've ever had after Agrimontana. The flavour of the Meyer Lemons indeed is something of its own; tangy with undertones of sweetness.
Chunky is how I like my marmalades. ;)
I highly recommend you guys give this a go. It could not be easier!! :)
Meyer Lemon Marmalade:
meyer lemons (or regular lemons if you can't find any)
Half your lemons and remove all the pips and place them into a pot. Add in water till they are all fully submerged and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it simmer for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours depending on how thick the skin is.
When it is soft, cut the lemon halves into strips or rough chunks depending on how you like your marmalade using a fork and knife. Do this onto a plate to keep all the juices. Once all of it have been cut, measure out all your cut lemon peel and juice. With that total amount of peel measured in pints, weigh out the same value of sugar in pounds. Transfer the lemon peel into a pot and the sugar onto a tray
Heat the sugar in a preheated oven and at the same time, put your jars in to sterilize it.
Add the warm sugar into the pot of lemon peel and stir with a wooden spoon to combine it well. Heat on high heat till it comes to a rolling boil. Once the mixture has reduce a little and is thicker, you can start doing the wrinkle-test.
When it is done, take it off the heat and using a measuring cup, pour and fill your jar, leaving a bit of space for the air.
Put the lids on and turn it upside down till completely cool. Refrigerate after opening.
Serve it alongside scones, toasts, breads or crackers.