I think, by now, my readers know all about my ongoing love affair with Meyer lemons. This morning I woke up stiff and sore from having planted a second tree over the weekend. Our new “baby” is smack dab in the middle of the back yard, safe from the lemon thieves that routinely strip ripe fruit from our tree in the front garden.
It will be a year before we can harvest fruit from the new tree, since allowing lemons to mature on a freshly planted tree robs it of energy needed to develop a strong root system. As much as I hated to do it, I picked three good-sized green lemons, pinched off a few blossoms and tossed them.
To celebrate the new tree, I decided to gather as many ripe lemons from our “senior” tree and make a batch of my Meyer lemon marmalade. I have been working on my recipe for a couple of years, adapted from a marmalade recipe in “The New Basics”, a favorite cookbook of mine. I used Anna Pump’s (via Ina Garten) tip to reheat the jam after it has sat for several hours. This insures a nice, thick consistency, almost syrup-y.
I’m not crazy about the color of this marmalade, but love its tart, lemon-y deliciousness. Try it on toast with cream cheese or swirled into cake and muffin batter. Drizzle some over ice cream or fruit sorbet. Sometimes I use it as a glaze over pork tenderloin or serve it as a condiment with roast chicken.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: You will need a candy thermometer.
TIP: If you can’t find Meyer lemons, which are sweeter than other lemons, and want to substitute conventional lemons, I suggest you increase the amount of sugar by one additional cup. You may need 2-3 more lemons, since Meyers are exceptionally juicy.
- 8-10 ripe Meyer lemons
- 4 cups white sugar
- ½ cup chopped crystallized ginger
- Zest the lemons using a small-holed zester. You will have about ½ cup of little ribbons of zest.
- Juice the zested lemons and strain the juice to remove any seeds. 8 large lemons yielded 2 cups of juice.
- Combine the zest, juice, sugar and ginger in a large, heavy-bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 hour.
- Pour the marmalade into a non-reactive container, cover and allow to “rest” for 4-6 hours – or even overnight – on the kitchen counter. (Do not refrigerate.)
- After the jam has rested, pour it back into to its cooking pot and reheat. Using a candy thermometer, cook it until it reaches 220 degrees.
- Fill sterile jars with marmalade, according to safe canning procedures. (For a review of canning how-to, go to www.freshpreserving.com)