Over the last few years I have really gotten into jam making and preserving - I'm very happy to while away an afternoon with some theraputic chopping. Often my preserving is a necessity to use up the glut of fruit from my dad's garden or the huge amounts of courgettes and tomatoes from our old West London garden that I lovingly diced up into lipsmacking chutney. We're now down to our last couple of jars of homemade jam so when I saw organic lemons on special offer in the supermarket I jumped at the opportunity to make some marmalade.
Now Melissa's dad Bertie is well known for enjoying our homemade marmalade to the point that he now refuses to go back to the shop bought stuff. But I'm taking a risk by trying my own variation on a theme making a batch of lemon marmalade, especially as I don't have a recipe! I'm trying my luck using my trusty River Cottage Preserves Handbook as a guide.
Emily's Sunshine Lemon Marmalade Recipe
I'll warn you this recipe takes a little time (and overnight soaking) but it's worth it!
1kg unwaxed lemons
75ml lemon juice
2kg granulated sugar
You will also need a preserving pan or very big saucepan as the mixture is about 6 litres and needs to come up to a fierce bubbling boil!
Scrub your lemons and remove the bellybuttons.
Chop the lemons in half and squeeze out the juice - add the juice to your preserving pan, fishing out any stray lemon pips as you go.
Turn on the radio and start working through your pile of lemon rinds, slicing into shreds with a sharp knife (fine and delicate or thick and chunky - it's up to you). Tumble the yellow crescents into the preserving pan as you go and soon enough you'll end up with a big citrus mountain that looks like this:
Pour over the water and then leave to soak overnight.
The next day bring the pan up to the boil then simmer gently, covered, for about 2 hours - by which point the peel will be tender and the mixture will have reduce by about a third. I don't have a lid for my preserving pan so I used a circle of greaseproof paper on top of the liquid and it worked a treat.
While it's boiling stick a saucer in the freezer for later and when the shreds are nearly ready wash your jars in hot soapy water, rinse clean and leave to drain.
Next turn up the heat and add in the lemon juice and sugar, stirring all the time until the sugar has completely dissolved. Bring the mixture to a rapid rolling boil for about 20-25 minutes until the setting point is reached. While this is happening stick your clean jars on a baking tray in a low oven to dry and sterilise.
To test for a set put a small amount of marmalade on your frozen saucer, leave to cool for a minute then push gently with your finger. If it wrinkles then it's done, if not then boil for another couple of minutes. Alternatively if you have a sugar thermometer it will be done when it reaches 104.5C.
Once it's done, take the marmalade off the heat and cool for 10-12 minutes before pouring into your sterilised jars and sealing immediately.
Then marvel at the stained glass effect you get when you put the jars up against the window!