Lemon + Vanilla Marmalade


 Prep Time : 30 + 30 Minutes | Cook Time : 1 1/2 Hours | Total Time : 2 1/2 hours | Difficulty : Jam

Hello my lovelies! Jumping back into it with one for all my lemon loving friends out there. You never see marmalade made with just lemons. We’re totally going to make it a thing. It’s so delicious. It’s much mellower than you would think and the vanilla takes the edge off any bitterness. Choose ripe, unblemished lemons of a thin-skinned variety. We don’t want too much white pith. This marmalade is made in two stages with an overnight soak in the middle. This method gives the absolute best textured marmalade. Allow about 30 minutes the night before to prep the lemons and the rest of the time the next day to boil and jar the marmalade. I used up some amazing lemons from the Hawkes Bay gifted to me by my friend Marie. They were very dark yellow and perfect for imparting lots of lemony flavour. Be patient. The timings are estimates. Look for the signs of doneness at each step before moving on to get the best results.

Weigh out your lemons. You will need 6 or 7 small lemons for this. Cut the lemons into quarters and use a sharp spoon – or curved grapefruit knife – to scoop out the flesh.

Collect the flesh into a bowl and shred the peel finely and put it into your saucepan. Your pan needs to be about 3 litres so you don’t risk boiling over the side at any point. When all the peels are in we need to squeeze as much juice out of the flesh as possible. Use a wooden spoon to press it through a sieve to get all the goodness out.

Throw away the rest of the pulp. Add the litre of water to the peels, cover and leave overnight to soak.

In the morning pop the saucepan over a low heat and gently simmer the peels until they are very soft. This can take over an hour.

They are ready when you can crush a piece between your fingers and all of it including the yellow part gives way completely. Don’t be tempted to boil them to make it go faster. The peels will break up rather than holding their shape. You shouldn’t need to stir much.

While the lemon peel is simmering, thoroughly wash and rinse your jam jars and pop them into a 120C (250F) oven to sterilise. You can leave them in until you need them. Put the lids in a heatproof bowl for later.

Check the volume – you need about a litre of lemony goodness so add a little more water if you need to. Split the half vanilla pod down the middle and put it in. The seeds will float out as the mixture boils. Add the sugar and bring the marmalade to the boil. It will be foamy particularly in the beginning. Give it a stir now and then to break down the foam and check there are no lemon bits stuck to the pan.

Use a candy thermometer to help guide you but I find the wrinkle test the best way to be sure of a set. Because marmalade doesn’t look like jam does when it’s ready it’s good to do a definite test. Start testing a bit early and test often.

Spoon a little onto a saucer and pop it in the freezer for a few minutes. When you push at the marmalade with your finger it should all bunch up like half set jelly. The stuff in the pot will look far too liquid to set but it will.

Turn the heat off and get your jars out of the oven. Pop them on a folded tea-towel so they don’t get a shock of cold from the bench. Boil the jug and pour boiling water over the lids.

It is the holy grail of marmalade making to judge exactly when to fill the jars so the pieces stay evenly distributed and don’t all float to the top. I still haven’t mastered it completely. You still need to fill while the mixture is still hot enough to seal in the jars properly. I give it about 5 minutes – long enough to get everything else prepped.

Fill each jar to about a 1/4 inch from the top. I like to use a small pyrex jug for this since it is so liquid.

Wipe the rims of the jars with a paper towel dipped in boiling water to get rid of any drips that will stop the jars from sealing properly. Drain the water from the lids and seal the jars.

Use wherever you would use any other jam or marmalade. Toast is a good place to start. A lemony marmalade cake seems like a natural progression.  A small spoon with soda water poured over it sounds like a refreshing summer drink.

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Lemon + Vanilla Marmalade


Prep Time : 30 + 30 mins | Cook Time : 1 1/2 hours | Total Time : 2 1/2 hours | Difficulty : Jam | Makes : 6 one cup jars

Mellow lemon marmalade with a hint of vanilla – perfect for lemon lovers!

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams clean, ripe, thin-skinned lemons
  • 1 litre of water (4 + 1/4 cups) plus a little more if needed
  • 1 kilogram (5 cups) sugar
  • Seeds of half a vanilla bean

– If using metric cups, reduce volume measures by 1 tablespoon for every cup of dry or liquid ingredients – 

Equipment:

  • Large stainless steel saucepan or preserving pan
  • 6 or 7 one cup jam jars with lids
  • Candy thermometer, spoons, preserving funnel, tea-towels, heatproof jug

Directions:

Weigh out your lemons. You will need 6 or 7 small lemons for this. Cut the lemons into quarters and use a sharp spoon – or curved grapefruit knife – to scoop out the flesh.

Collect the flesh into a bowl and shred the peel finely and put it into your saucepan. Your pan needs to be about 3 litres so you don’t risk boiling over the side at any point. When all the peels are in we need to squeeze as much juice out of the flesh as possible. Use a wooden spoon to press it through a sieve to get all the goodness out.

Throw away the rest of the pulp. Add the litre of water to the peels, cover and leave overnight to soak.

In the morning pop the saucepan over a low heat and gently simmer the peels until they are very soft. This can take over an hour. They are ready when you can crush a piece between your fingers and all of it including the yellow part gives way completely. Don’t be tempted to boil them to make it go faster. The peels will break up rather than holding their shape. You shouldn’t need to stir much.

While the lemon peel is simmering, thoroughly wash and rinse your jam jars and pop them into a 120C (250F) oven to sterilise. You can leave them in until you need them. Put the lids in a heatproof bowl for later.

Check the volume – you need about a litre of lemony goodness so add a little more water if you need to. Split the half vanilla pod down the middle and put it in. The seeds will float out as the mixture boils. Add the sugar and bring the marmalade to the boil. It will be foamy particularly in the beginning. Give it a stir now and then to break down the foam and check there are no lemon bits stuck to the pan.

Use a candy thermometer to help guide you but I find the wrinkle test the best way to be sure of a set. Because marmalade doesn’t look like jam does when it’s ready it’s good to do a definite test. Start testing a bit early and test often.

Spoon a little onto a saucer and pop it in the freezer for a few minutes. When you push at the marmalade with your finger it should all bunch up like half set jelly. The stuff in the pot will look far too liquid to set but it will.

Turn the heat off and get your jars out of the oven. Pop them on a folded tea-towel so they don’t get a shock of cold from the bench. Boil the jug and pour boiling water over the lids.

It is the holy grail of marmalade making to judge exactly when to fill the jars so the pieces stay evenly distributed and don’t all float to the top. I still haven’t mastered it completely. You still need to fill while the mixture is still hot enough to seal in the jars properly. I give it about 5 minutes – long enough to get everything else prepped.

Fill each jar to about a 1/4 inch from the top. I like to use a small pyrex jug for this since it is so liquid.

Wipe the rims of the jars with a paper towel dipped in boiling water to get rid of any drips that will stop the jars from sealing properly. Drain the water from the lids and seal the jars.

Use wherever you would use any other jam or marmalade. Toast is a good place to start. A lemony marmalade cake seems like a natural progression.  A small spoon with soda water poured over it sounds like a refreshing summer drink.

Cook’s Notes:

  • You can use this recipe with any citrus fruit. If not using lemons add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice along with the sugar. You will need to simmer the peel much longer for oranges, particularly seville oranges.
  • Make sure you simmer the peel until it is very soft – once the sugar goes in the peel will get a little harder again and won’t get any softer after that.

 – If properly sealed this marmalade will keep on the pantry shelf for over a year. Refrigerate after opening – 

Adapted from The River Cottage Preserves Handbook by Pam Corbin.

© 2017 The Winsome Baker. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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