This week I took a quick trip out to Los Angeles to see my kids and new grandson. The backyard lemon tree was loaded with ripe fruit, so this tasty and easy marmalade was a natural.
3 pounds of lemons, carefully washed
5 pounds of sugar
Sterilize your jars: wash them in hot, soapy water, rinse, then place them with the lids in a large saucepan. Boil for 3 minutes, then keep in the hot water until ready to fill.
Chill a saucer in the freezer, ready for checking the setting point of your jam.
Scrub the lemons and remove the top ‘button’ which would have been attached to the stalk. Put the lemons in a large saucepan with about 2 quarts of water. Bring to the boil, then cover the pan and simmer for 2 hrs or until the lemon skins are tender, and can be pierced easily with a fork.
When the lemons are cool enough to handle, remove from the saucepan. Measure the cooking liquid- you’ll need 1.5 quarts. If you don’t quite have this, make up the difference with water. If you have too much liquid, bring to the boil and reduce to the required amount.
Halve the lemons and remove and reserve the pits. Squeeze the pulp (juice and flesh) into a large pan, and cut the lemon peel into thin strips, as thick or thin as you like. Put all of this, including any juices, back into the pan. Put the pits in a small piece of muslin and tie up with string. Add this to the pan. (The pits are full of pectin, which will aid the setting process of the jam.)
Add the sugar and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring until it has completely dissolved. Boil rapidly for about 20 mins until the marmalade thickens, and the setting point is reached. Test the setting point by dropping a little marmalade onto the chilled saucer, allowing it to cool for 1 min, then pushing gently with your finger. If the marmalade crinkles, the setting point is reached; if not, continue to boil and check again in a few minutes.
Allow to cool for 10-15 mins (this will prevent the lemon shreds sinking to the bottoms of the jars), remove the muslin bag, then gently stir in one direction to disperse any scum (small air bubbles on the surface). Pour jam into prepared, warm sterilized jars and tighten lids slightly.
Put jars into a canner with a rack, or a large pot with a dishtowel in the bottom to cushion the jars.
Cover with water so that the jars are covered by at about an inch. Bring to boil, and leave for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and allow jars to cool. Remove from canner, test that the lids have popped their seal (indented).