With 14 Meyer Lemons from my shipment remaining, “free” time in our new normal limited, and a personal love of sunshiny, sweet, tart & slightly bitter preserves, another batch of marmalade was in the cards. My all time favorite is Lemon Ginger Marmalade, but I didn’t have the kind of time needed to supreme the lemons, so I dove into another Food in Jars recipe, and made some modifications to suit my need for modifications.
This recipe does not demand intensive time all at once. You prep the lemons, then add some of the sugar and leave them to macerate in the refrigerator for as long as 48 hours.
I halved the recipe, preparing 11 of my reserve as instructed. I also added vanilla bean scrapings and pods to the lemons/sugar mixture. Then, I covered my large measuring cup and stuck it in the refrigerator. There it sat.
I had every intention of getting to it the very next day. My jars were sanitized in the dishwasher, and the kitchen was perfectly clean for it. But the new normal had other things in store – nothing grand – just a bunch of other requirements of my time. The hard part is looking at those pretty little lemons and preparing yourself to just let them go. Down the drain, if necessary. I don’t like wasting food, and I don’t like wasting time. If you can accept the fact that this might not even have a chance to work out before you begin, you’ve already won.
That said, the next day, the time/baby continuum granted me grace, and I ended up with 4 pints of a pretty brown-speckled marmalade – dappled sunlight in a jar.
Some closing thoughts on the recipe – the recipe didn’t call for pectin, because you save the seeds and pith from the lemon prep. I did that, per usual, but I wasn’t willing to risk losing half a pint of the end project on the assumption that this would be enough pectin for a good set. So, I used the last bit of what I had in addition. When I measured out the sugar for the cook time, I added in about a tablespoon and a half of classic pectin. I whisked it into the sugar before adding to the lemon mixture. It took about 15-20 minutes to get to a nice set point (using the cold plate test) – I never got there with the temperature.
220 F is an elusive temp for me with preserves. I wish I had paid more attention in science class, but I think this has something to do with the fact that I’m at sea level. Thinking this makes me feel a little better about it every time.
It has occurred to me several times that if science and math had included application of concepts in a way that actually led to the making of an item, I might have paid more attention – especially to chemistry, biology, and measurement.