Sunday, February 28, 2010

Meyer Lemon Marmalade


Year after year, February seems to just buzz by at inexplicable speeds.  I’m beginning to think that somewhere along the line, the whole month got all tangled up in some sort of time warp, and that now, time in February actually accelerates.  How else can you explain how quickly it vanishes into March?  Certainly not by noting its unique number of days.  February is only two or three days shy of other months.  But every year it seems like I blink on Valentines day, and it’s already March when I open my eyes. 


Thanks to this mysterious time warp, I nearly failed to fulfill my preserve-a -month new years resolution.  And in only the second month of the year!  I was checking out at the fruit market this morning, when I suddenly realized it was February 28.  I suppose I’d already been vaguely aware that my preserve-making window was beginning to draw closed.  But I’d thought I had more along the line of days, rather than hours, to complete my monthly mission.  Realizing that I’d better act fast, and luckily being in the perfect spot to do so, I paid for my first round of groceries, then directly wheeled my cart to a gorgeous display of meyer lemons, the same ones I’d just happened to be coveting on my first go-through.


A cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange, meyer lemons are bright with lemony flavor, but have hardly a pucker of lemons’ characteristic tartness.  The sweet fruit is a bit rounder than regular lemons too, an its thin, smooth skin is of a deeper yellow, nudging its way towards the orange region of the color spectrum.  The thin skin and sweet flesh make meyer lemons an ideal citrus fruit for all sorts of desserts.  And its kinship to the orange makes it a perfect candidate for marmalade.


So, on this last day of 2010’s shortest month, I made Meyer Lemon Marmalade.  The results were fabulous – a sticky-smooth jam with tender flecks of candied lemon peel, bright lemony flavor and a delicate sweetness - and the method was easy as can be.  I simply seeded the lemons, sliced them into skinny little triangles, simmered them in water for a little while, then added sugar and simmered it all for a little while longer.  That’s all there was to it.  It couldn’t have been quicker.  And that’s definitely a good thing, especially when time is already moving faster than it should!



Meyer Lemon Marmalade
Makes about 6 cups


about 8-9 meyer lemons (2 1/4 #)
6 cups water
5 cups sugar

Wash lemons in cool soapy water, then rinse really well in cool running water. Remove the stems and slice each lemon in half through the center of the fruit (not end to end, but like, around the equator). Remove the seeds.  Slice each lemon half into six wedges.  Thinly slice the wedges into little triangles. 

Pour 6 cups of water into a 5-quart sauce pot, and make a mental note of the height of the water surface along the side of the pot (This will make sense in a minute).   Add the sliced lemons and bring to a boil over medium heat.  When it comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces to about 6 cups (the level you’d noted before), about 45 minutes. 

Add the sugar and boil over medium heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 218-220°F.  This step can vary widely in length of time, depending on how hard you boil it, and how much liquid you had to begin with - Anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours or maybe even more – Just keep a close eye on the temperature.  And make sure you stir well before checking the temp, and try to get a reading right in the center of the mixture, definitely not too close to the bottom of the pan, or it will read high.

Once it reaches 218-220°F, you can ladle the hot marmalade into canning jars, and follow a basic canning procedure, in order to keep these at room temperature for up to a year.  Or you can cool the marmalade and keep it refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.


  1. Kate this sounds delicious! I always forget about meyer lemons...

  2. Thanks a bunch, Katie! I usually forget about them too. But they were just so pretty at the fruit market this week, they couldn't help but catch my eye. And they were on sale, too! Yay!