Meyer lemons are a large part of what make the winter months bearable for me. Smooth-skinned, mildly tart, and with a fresh, slightly floral fragrance, they bring a welcome brightness to February (particularly this month. Every time the weather report predicts more snow, I feel ready to weep).
Over the years, I think I’ve done nearly everything that one can do with a Meyer lemon. I’ve preserved them in salt, turned them into curd, chopped and sliced into marmalade, dehydrated them, made jelly with their juice, and packed the zest into both salt and sugar.
I think this whole fruit jam might be my final meyer lemon frontier. I’d been thinking along these lines for a while and then Shae over at Hitchhiking to Heaven posted a similar whole fruit jam using grapefruit and it cemented the deal for me.
Because I find that honey sweetened preserves are best done in small batches, I started with just one and a half pounds of lemons. I put them in a saucepan where they’d fit in a single layer and added some water (you need two cups of water to make the jam, so I started with a bit more than that to account for evaporation).
I simmered the lemons for about 25 minutes, until the were tender but not falling apart and then I left them in the pot for a day because life got busy. Had my fridge not been packed to the gills, I would have poured them into a container and popped them in there, but there just wasn’t room.
When I was ready to cook, I put the lemons in the blender with two cups of the cooking water and pulsed until they were broken into relatively small pieces but not uniformly pureed (I wanted some texture). The puree went into a low, wide pan with two cups of honey (approximately one half of the meyer lemon mixture by weight). Cooked over high heat, it was setting up nicely in just 15 minutes.
I’m really pleased with the way this jam turned out. It shows off all the charms of the meyer lemon, is pleasingly bracing, and manages to avoid being over-sweet. I also love the fact that it skips all the work of a traditional batch of marmalade. I still have a few meyer lemons left and am planning to make a second batch.
Updated to add: I’ve gotten some questions about the seeds. Meyer lemons are a hybrid fruit, so they typically don’t have many seeds. I used a small slotted spoon to skim them out of the jam during cooking. If your lemons are seedier than mine, cut them in half and remove the seeds before pureeing.
- 1 1/2 pounds meyer lemons
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups honey
- Wash the lemons and place them in a saucepan that can hold them in a single layer. Cover them with the water and bring to a boil.
- Once the water is bubbling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the lemons for 25 minutes, until the skins are tender but still hold together.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let the lemons cool completely.
- Place the lemons in a blender carafe and add two cups of the cooking water.
- Blend at low speed to break up the lemons. Take care not to puree them entirely smooth.
- Pour the lemon mix into a low, wide pan and add two cups of honey (choose something mild in flavor so that it doesn't overpower the lemons).
- Bring to a boil over high heat and reduce to medium-high.
- Cook, stirring regularly, until the jam thickens and sheets off the back of your spoon or spatula. You can tell it's nearly completion when it hisses and spits when you stir. My batch took all of 15 minutes of vigorous boiling to achieve set, but times will vary.
- When jam is finished cooking, remove pot from heat.
- Funnel jam into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for ten minutes.
- When time is up, remove jars from canner and let them cool on a folded kitchen towel.