Honey Lemon Marmalade

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Having immersed myself in the world of marmalade over the last month, it’s definitely something I’m adding to my preserving repertoire. However, I am really grateful to be moving on canning/pickling projects that require less knife-work, as I don’t think my right hand could handle any further citrus chopping. This batch of Honey Lemon Marmalade required 14 lemons, which took nearly an hour to break down (and I seriously recommend that you make sure you don’t have any paper cuts prior to embarking upon this recipe). However, the work was worth it because this is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten.

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Back in January, I was obsessed with drinking infusions of honey, lemon juice and ginger. It was great way to fend off the winter chills and felt fairly virtuous to boot. While this marmalade doesn’t have any ginger in it, it evokes those infusions, and makes me want to stir spoonfuls into hot tea (I haven’t done it yet, but I may not be able to resist the urge).

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This is the first time I’ve used honey as a sweetener in a canning project, and I think it worked pretty well. It wasn’t the sole sweetener, I also used some evaporated cane sugar (not because I was trying to be healthier, I was simply of out regular sugar). I wanted the flavor of the buckwheat honey (darker and slightly richer than regular wildflower honey), but because it’s such a deep taste, I was afraid that it would overwhelm the delicacy of the lemon.

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The other thing I did differently with this batch of marmalade is that I used a full dose of pectin. In past batches, I used a single 3 ounce pack of pectin. This time around I used a full 6 ounces, which really firmed things up. I also lengthened the cooking time, in the hopes of drawing out more of the natural pectin.

As always, I have a half pint of this marmalade that could potentially have your name on it. Leave a comment if you want in on the giveaway, I’ll pick a winner by Saturday at 5 pm. Thanks to all who entered, the contest in closed.

Honey Lemon Marmalade

Yield: Six Pints

Ingredients

  • 8 cups chopped lemons (14 lemons)
  • 2 cups honey (I used buckwheat honey, but you can use whatever you’ve got)
  • 4 cups cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 packets liquid pectin (6 ounces)

Instructions

  1. Sterilize your jars (I used a combination of pint and half pint jars).
  2. Combine lemons, honey, sugar and water together in non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil, reduce temperature and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add pectin to the fruit and let it gently boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and fill jars. Apply lids and rings and process in a water bath for ten minutes. Let the marmalade sit overnight, to give the pectin time to fully activate.
https://foodinjars.com/recipe/honey-lemon-marmalade/

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96 responses to “Honey Lemon Marmalade”

  1. I never would have thought to make honey lemon marmalade. I bet it is delicious. We get our honey from a local “Bee Man”, so it will be interesting to try this with the various flavors we get from him.

  2. I’ve had such a love affair with buckwheat honey this year!

    So how would the marmalade be with some ginger?

    It would be amazing with ginger. I just didn’t use any because 1). I’d already made a citrus marmalade with ginger and 2). I wanted the flavor of honey to stand out. -Marisa

  3. interesting that it’s so dark-colored; was that your honey or the evaporated cane sugar? I made nearly the same recipe in January with Asha and Mara (though I think it was a lot less sugar, and we used organic, but otherwise ordinary, cane sugar). either way, it was absolutely delicious. we put a bit of vanilla in, too.

    Sarah, I think the color came from the honey, buckwheat honey is nearly the color of molasses. I really questioned the amount of sugar I put in, but I wanted to make sure it would jam and have a longish shelf-life, especially since I was giving some of it away. -Marisa

  4. This giving away thing is a great way to gain participating and feedback. Seriously though, the chopping? Impressive.

    I admit, I’m a comment glutton, so giving away jars of my jams and marmalades does serve to feed my hunger for feedback. However, there’s also something really nice about knowing that people other than my immediate friends and family are getting to taste and (hopefully) enjoy the things I’ve made. -Marisa

  5. Would a mandoline (sp?) speed up the chopping? Or just create more of a mess?

    Martha, unless the blade was really, really sharp, I think a mandoline would make more of mess. I briefly considered using a food processor, but I was afraid it would turn the fruit into pulp. I don’t have a shredding blade for my food processor though, and I think that might be a possibility. -Marisa

  6. I would love to sample this Marisa! I usually buy local (Central VA) light honey; as opposed to dark. I am very willing to give this one a try on a piece of my home made bread.
    Or….. straight from the spoon.
    Thanks!

  7. I just found your site and you are my hero! I have hopes of canning pickles this summer, I have the cucumber plants started. I come from a long line of canners, but haven’t embarked yet on the real thing.

    Aww, thanks Lisa. I’ll be doing pickles pretty darn soon, so check back for a report of how it works out for me! -Marisa

  8. All my friends make fun of me but, call me a granny, I Lurve marmalade!
    …and this nice twist must be worth the the endless lemon cutting you’ve had all week!

  9. If you included a cheesecloth bag with the seeds in it, would you still need to add pectin? I made a lemon-ginger marmalade a few weeks ago, and it set VERY firmly without added pectin, but I had a bag with seeds in the mix for the entire cooking time.

    (I think the dark color might be – at least in part – due to the longer cooking time. My marmalade looks pretty dark, too, and it was just sweetened with sugar.)

    If you go the routine of gathering all your seeds in a cheesecloth bag, I don’t think you’d need the pectin. I’ve never used that technique, so it makes me slightly nervous. I wanted to guarantee that my marmalade would gell, especially after chopping for an hour, so I went with the method I knew best. -Marisa

  10. ooh, I love the photo of the measuring bowl full of lemon bits…8 cups of lemon bits! There is a flickr group called “kiiro” of yellow things (kiiro is yellow in Japanese) and I bet they would like to have that photo in the group!
    And I hope I win this marmalade!

  11. Local honey is also good for allergies, so the lemon/ginger/honey really is good for you….I think that more than justifies eating this on an english muffin for breakfast, don’t you?

  12. i’ve had terrible luck with marmalades….(seville orange and grapefruit). It’d be neat to try some that worked out!

  13. Mmm.. That sounds like the base for citron tea- it’s a korean thing, and you just stir it into hot water. Give in to the temptation to do that with your marmalade, it’s delicious! Also, that sounds like the best use for some excess blueberry honey ever! I may have to try making some!

  14. I am almost more interested in that honey than I am in the marmalade. 🙂 It looks like something I need to try. I have never tried using honey in canning either. Would love to hear an update in 3-6 months how well it held up.

    The thought of chopping all those lemons is a little daunting-hats off to you for all that effort! I would probably have tried at least one in a food processor to see how it worked just out of not wanting to put that much chopping effort out into it. I bet the kitchen smelled wonderful though!

  15. We should be able to start harvesting our honey this year, and I want to try to use it it jam & jellies. I am somewhat hesitant because of its taste, so I’ll have to try. Bet it’s delicious with lemons. Such a good idea.

    On a totally different matter – but still canning related: I want to can some fruit juice this summer, but I’d like to use bottles that I can process through a boiling water bath, not Mason jars. Do you have any suggestions for a source of canning bottles?

  16. Erin, it was really, really delicious. I had some friends over for brunch yesterday, and we ate it on some muffins (recipe to be posted later) it was transcendently good.

  17. Marisa, dahhhhlink. Albert at the Fair Food stand told me about your new blog–how much do I love it? I love it!!! Especially this recipe. I have been on a pickling kick lately (just made some brined lemons), but this brings me to new levels of planning. I can’t wait to try this marmalade.
    So, I have to buy you another martini. Our last chat inspired me to finally start looking at food blogs instead of just reading food mags. I have become obsessed. Yesterday, I started my summer project: a cheese blog. I’m still playing around with it, but I just wanted to say thanks for snapping me out of the print world and onto the web. xoxox

  18. I stumbled upon your blog today looking for some new recipes to can. This looks wonderful! I have saved the recipe and will be trying it soon. I have a neighbor with lemons dripping off his tree a friend whose stepdad owns and operates a bee farm. All my ingredients will be FRESH!

    Welcome! How lucky you are to access to straight from the tree lemons! -Marisa

  19. Cook the lemons first, then add the honey or sugar later, and you won’t have to use pectin at all. I just found this page — after making a batch of lemon marmalade last night. Made some orange marmalade a coupld of weeks ago, and someone at work asked if I could make lemon. So I did! I also added a little bit of grated ginger
    I sliced the lemon on a mandoline (one of those inexpensive orange plastic ones) and it came out well. The only problem was in picking out all the seeds.
    If you add the sugar at the start, it interacts with the pectin, and causes it to not set up. Wait until the fruit is soft, and then add it, stirring constantly.
    I started with 10 lemons and 6 cups of water, plus a tablespoon or so of ginger (real fine) — next time I’ll add mor ginger.
    Brought to a boil for about 40 minutes, then added 3 1/2 pounds of sugar. Stirred until it reached a temp of 215 or so, then put in jars and processed for 20 minutes in hot water bath canner.
    It actually set up a little too much — not runny at all.

  20. Hey, I’m wondering something, because I just made this and I’ve been scouring recipes on other web sites and such and I can’t find anything on how LONG it actually takes to set up. I did everything (although I didn’t check to see if it got to 215 degrees, but I did boil it for about 45 minutes with the sugar and honey). I ladled it into jars, processed for 15 minutes, they all sealed, but the marmalade is runny. It’s only been, oh about 22 hours now since I finished processing everything. But should it have set already? What are others experiences? I’m worried that I just made 16 1/2 pints of Honey Lemon runny stuffy instead of yummy thick marmalade.

  21. I’ve made jams, jellies, pickles, canned tomatoes all my life, and I’ve never processed the jars. I learned this trick from my mother and my grandmother. After you fill the jars with the hot liquid and screw on the lids, just turn the jars upside down until they cool. They seal just as well as going to all the bother of water processing without all the fuss. I don’t think we’ve ever lost a jar.

  22. Laura, the water bath is not just about getting a good seal. It’s about ensuring that all the nasty bacteria is killed, so that your jam, pickles, tomatoes and more don’t develop mold or worse (I’d be particularly wary of eating unprocessed tomatoes).

  23. I had a lemon marmalade for the first time today @ brunch, so now I’m searching. I’d like a lemon marmalade that would lend well to becoming a lemon drop martini and glaze on a lemon cake with a sirracha chili whipped cream frosting. Could this be the recipe I’m looking for?

  24. A friend in Az. just shipped me a box of lemons from her tree and I am going to try this and send her some jars as a Thank you! Just wish my neighbor still raised bees so I didn’t have to depend on store bought honey! LOL. On the water bath processing, I MAY just turn the jars upside down (as another person said) because that is they way I have always done my jams, jellies and pickles that were “hot packed”.

  25. My brother-in-law just sent me to your site. This marmelade recipe is definitely on my “to do” list. I would love to win a jar before I made a full batch. (Just hinting!)

  26. Just made this and it is delicious! I did two batches this weekend. The first batch didn’t turn out right (too bitter and the pieces of peel were too large.) For the second batch I added an additional 2 cups sugar, and also chopped the lemons much more finely. Tastes great and will make lovely holiday gifts.

  27. Thanks for the encouragement to use honey. I’m seeking to turn a favorite recipe for lemon ginger marmalade into Korean citrus (s’posed to be citron but I can’t find fresh ones) honey tea. Using honey, no pectin, I’ll see how it goes and either call it marmalade or the famous Korean tea for winter ills. Also, I am obsessed with using a lot of ginger, having fallen in love with ginger marmalade in Canada.

  28. I made the honey lemon marmalade last night. I used Meyer lemons, and I cut the recipe in half, since I didn’t want to run the risk of making way too much and not liking it. I followed Robin’s suggestion and raised the amount of sugar. I love lemons, but the rest of my family is not as crazy about them. However, when we tried the marmalade last night, my husband and I both loved it, and he told me to definitely keep this recipe for future use. Thank you so much for posting!

  29. I love this, even though the chopping is time consuming. We made some several times and people keep asking for it! Just a great receipe!

  30. This recipe looks wonderful! We can’t wait to make it tomorrow! Here’s my question: from what I’ve researched, it seems that heating honey destroys much of the health benefits…would this recipe still be “safe” if all was boiled and simmered as instructed except not the honey, and then the honey was added after the pectin has boiled, then water-bathed?

    • Patty, you need to cook the honey into the marmalade or it won’t set up correctly. Most commercial honeys you buy are already pasteurized anyway, so you’ve lose the health benefits before you even bring them home from the grocery store.

      • OK — thanks so much for the info’…I have raw buckwheat honey, but will proceed with your recipe as written. Your site is great and so helpful! Many thanks!

  31. I just made this today using a neighbors honey. He has his own hive in his back yard. He takes urban gardening to a new level!

    I’ve really been enjoying tackling some of your recipes! I’ve made the orange jelly (I added the champagne!) and the tomato jam. Thank you for doing this blog! I can’t wait to tackle a new flavor this week!

  32. Thank you SO very much! I’ve just finished canning four dozen jars of blueberry jam and was hunting for a lemon recipe to compliment them. These will make BEAUTIFUL Christmas presents – and it looks so easy!

  33. I haven’t yet canned anything in my life, though I’ve watched my Granny do it all my life and LOVE her canned goods. Now that I’ve moved to Germany, I’m lacking in a lot of pre-prepared foods I was used to back home and I miss my Granny’s goods (though she sometimes sneaks some in her carepackages). So, I’ve begun compiling canning recipes to help inspire me to begin the process eventually and this is in it! I can’t wait to make a can of this. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  34. Okay, I know this is an old post, but I have been searching high and low for a lemon marmalade recipe and I think that this one is the winner! I love to can fruits and veggies…it makes my inner hamster very happy.

    Did you ever try it with ginger?

  35. Hello,

    So, chopping lemons is not required if you have an “old fashioned” grinder. After juicing the lemons I ground the peels in a manual grinder (the same we use to make roast beef hash, to can cucumber relish, and to make homemade potato sausage.) If you don’t have one, we purchased (both of) ours at second-hand shops (then received another from mother who used hers frequently when I was a child.) I squeezed the lemons first in a manual juicer and then ground the rinds in the grinder. I discarded the seeds from the juiced lemons – reserving the pulp and adding it to the ground lemons and the water. I refrigerated this mixture overnight before proceeding with the recipe. The end result turned out great!

  36. Hi Marisa
    Very happy to have found your wbsite. I just started batch of limoncello, using the rind of 10 lemons and was looking for something to do with the lemons. Can I use these lemons – no rind but with the pith? Most recipes call for removing the pith. Did you cut the segments off between the membranes? Didn’t using the pith make it bitter?
    Thanks a bunch,
    Rosalie

    • Roselie, I wouldn’t use the pith. Instead, I recommend making a lemon jelly with the flesh of the fruit. Juice it, combine with half as much sugar as juice and boil until it reaches 220 degrees.

  37. Thanks Marisa – that’s what I thought. I juiced the 10 lemons for 2 full cups of pure lemon juice and more pips than I have ever seen. I only used 1 cup of the juice, plus 1-1/2 cups of water, 2 cups of honey, 3 cups of sugar, and 2 pouches of pectin, plus the pips in a tea ball. I also had some crystallized ginger that I cut up and added to the pot – silly me I thought those pieces would melt. So I have 6 jars of honey-lemon jelly with a hint of ginger. Tastes like something to put into hot tea. Thank you again, Rosalie

  38. I just made this recipe this morning.. I ended up with I think a bit more than what the recipe said 100 oz. made in to 8 12 oz. jelly jars and 4 oz. jelly jar. Very easy to follow the recipe supplied and the taste is absolutely to die for! Thank you so much for sharing.

    • So glad to hear that it worked for you! Yield variations are entirely normal, so there’s nothing to worry about there.

  39. I think I see the pith in the chopped lemons. Am I right. Does it not make the jelly bitter. I made candied orange peels one time, they were so bitter I had to throw them away.
    Thanks,

  40. i tried this recipe and did a double batch. unfortunately it did not turn out even though i followed all of the instructions. does it take days for this to congeal into jelly,because what i have looks like syrup with lemon rinds. feel like i wasted around $40 and that doesn’t include the jars and my time. this was the first recipe i have tried from this site and probably the last.

  41. Jeanee,
    I hope you didn’t throw it out. Use it to make lemon honey tea. Stir it into either hot or cold water and drink. I plan to use this recipe for this purpose. A Chinese friend has jars of something very similar to this that is delicious stirred into water.

    Thank you, Marisa.

  42. So glad I found this recipe, and this website. My lemon and fig trees are so abundant this year — I have to do something with the wonderful fruit. Looking forward to making marmalade tomorrow.

  43. I made this and it was quite bitter even though I added another cup of sugar above what the recipe stated. What did I do wrong? I also had another question. If you have a jar whose lid seals before you put it in the water bath canner, can you still put it in safely to boil?

  44. Dear marisa,

    I am going to tackle this tomorrow. I chose to do this because it looks amazing but I bought 30 lemons to make Limoncello so my lemons are naked I used the zest for the Limoncello. Do you think it is still a good idea?
    Also not sure I can find pectin in South Africa. Could I use gelatin? Thank you so much I am so excited to make this for Gifts. Love your blog.

    • Simone, should not make this recipe if you’ve stripped the zest from your lemons. Marmalade needs the zest. And gelatin isn’t the same thing as pectin. It won’t set up correctly.

  45. Hi, Marisa,
    I have a bag of lemons from a family tree and local honey from the farmers market, and I’m eager to try some marmalade. After reading through the comments, I notice several folks found the results bitter. I wonder if using the technique from your blood orange marmalade– soaking the fruit in water overnight– would help reduce the bitterness? Could I reduce or eliminate the pectin if I soak the seeds along with the fruit?

    Thanks for your wonderful blog! I’m finding it a great resource as I get back into canning (learned how when I was a kid, but haven’t done anything since). Your book is on my wish list this year.

  46. So I made my first foray into canning last night via this recipe. It turned out wonderfully, your site is wonderful, and I will be doing lots more canning in the future! Thanks so much.

    • Preserves do often thicken up over time. Put one of the jars in the fridge to see if the colder temperature will help it firm up.

  47. Hello! I will be making some jellies for a food shelter benefit that will be held in a bar in the next week or so. Have you ever made this with bourbon to replace 1/2 cup or more of water? I’m really interested in trying to create a “bar theme” with the jellies for this event. The shelter focuses on brown bag meals for students in the inner city during the weekend and always have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

    • I’ve never done anything quite like that. I will say that if when you add liquor to jams, it’s best to do it at the end of cooking, so that you don’t cook away all their flavor.

  48. Hi, I’m just making your marmalade and the kitchen smells lovely. How long will this last please? Should I water can it for increased longevity, if so for how long should I can it and how much longer do you think it would give. Thanks for your lovely recipes. Viv

  49. I just completed this recipe. It is so bitter. Knowing that I did not want it to be to bitter, I pealed the peal off and scraped off the pith to half of the meyer lemons. It set beautifully. Can I redo this batch and add more sugar and reprocess?

  50. I know I’m late to the party, but I made this today, and this is what I think:
    I love anything lemon, and this marmalade certainly is lemony-too tart for anyone in the house but me.
    The honey taste shines through the lemon nicely, wonderful contrast.
    The next time I have a cold this is going into a shot of whiskey!
    P.S. I used my food processor with the 4mm blade-sliced those lemons in ten minutes.

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