One more marmalade for the January challenge. This small-ish batch of lemon lime marmalade is made over the course of three days. That better allows you to fit your preserving into your busy life!
We’re beginning to wrap up our month of marmalades in the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge and I figured the best way to celebrate was with more marmalade! Lemon lime marmalade, to be precise. This is a batch I made about a week ago, over the course of three days (because marmalades are flexible like that).
For this batch, I picked up two pounds of organic lemons and limes from my neighborhood Trader Joe’s. There was a lot of talk about sourcing fruit for this month, and part of my goal with this recipe is to show that you don’t have to go crazy or spend a ton of money to get good fruit for preserving. I don’t remember how much I paid for these lemons and limes, but it was well south of $5.
Because grocery store citrus is often waxed to help retain moisture and freshness, I always give it a rinse with boiling water if I plan on using the zest or rind. I put a colander in the sink, fill it up with the fruit, bring a kettle to a boil, and then give the fruit a scalding bath. This helps remove any surface wax and gives you a aromatic steam facial, to boot.
After rinsing the fruit, I arranged it in a pan that was wide enough to hold it in a single layer. Filled with twice as much filtered water as I needed for the recipe (to ensure that there would be enough after evaporation), it went on the stove and simmered for about 45 minutes, until the rinds could easily be pierced with a fork.
Once the fruit was cooked through, I turned off the heat and let it sit until cool. That was the end of the day one prep. I covered the pan and let it hang out on the back of the stove until the next day.
On day two, I pulled the fruit out of the pot and set it on a cutting board with a carved groove to catch any juices. I measured out four cups of cooking water to use in the marmalade and set to work breaking down the citrus. I positioned a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. With a piece of citrus in my left hand and a paring knife in the right, I cut the fruit open over that sieve.
Once about half the fruit was cut open, I scraped all the flesh (membranes and seeds included, but not the pith) into the sieve. I set the rind aside for a moment. Then I used the sieve to work through the pulp in order to remove the seeds. Once I was certain that all the seeds were removed, I poured the pulp into the bowl below. This process was repeated until all the deseeded pulp was in the bowl.
Then I chopped the rinds into strips. I like to take a couple empty rind halves, cut them in halves or quarters, make a neat stack, and chop through them. This keeps the task from becoming too tedious (but there’s always a little tedium in making marmalade. It’s just part of the gig).
Once all the rinds were chopped, I heaped them in a five quart pot and added the four cups of reserved cooking water, all the pulp and juices from the bowl beneath the sieve, and four cups of sugar (I know it seems like a lot, but I was working with the 1:1:1 ratio. Two pounds of fruit, two pounds water (four cups = 32 ounces = 2 pounds), and two pounds of sugar (like the water, four cups = 32 ounces = 2 pounds).
I put a cover on the pot and slid it to the back of the stove to wait until morning.
On the morning of day three of the lemon lime marmalade, I took a picture of the prepared fruit in nice light and then got to cooking. I placed the pot on the stove, set the burner to high, and brought it to a boil. Once it started to roll, it boiled steadily for 35 minutes before it started nearing the set point.
I stirred occasionally at the start of cooking and regularly towards the end. Around minute 40, it reached 220 degrees F and was able to maintain that temperature even after being stirred. I also used the saucer test and looked at how the droplets were setting up on the spatula before calling it done.
This batch was so eager to set up that it started to do it in the pot while I was taking these pictures (and truly, when I take pictures of a finished preserve in the pot, it only adds a couple minutes to the workflow. This pot wasn’t off the stove long). But you can see that as I tilted the pot a little, the surface wrinkled in the same manner we look for when using the plate/saucer test to check for set. Set mission accomplished.
This batch yielded six half pints and one quarter pint. It’s pleasingly bitter and bracing. I made a batch of lemon chicken the other night and used a few spoonfuls to lend flavor to the quick-cooking dish. Easy and delicious!
Lemon Lime Marmalade
- 1 pound organic lemons
- 1 pound organic limes
- 8 cups water
- 4 cups sugar
- If your citrus is waxed, put it in a bowl or colander in the sink. Bring a kettle of water to a boil and just as soon as it boils, use that water to rinse the fruit.
- Arrange the lemons and limes in a single layer in pot. Cover with the water and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 45 minutes. They are done when the rind can easily be pierced with a fork.
- Remove the lemons and limes from the pot. Measure out 4 cups of the cooking water to use in the final cook.
- Position a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Hold the fruit over the sieve, cut them in half across their mid-section, the way you would a grapefruit. Using a spoon, scoop the interior flesh (membranes and all) out into the sieve. Remove the seeds and discard them. Put the seeded pulp into the bowl. Repeat with the remaining halves.
- Once all the pulp is in the bowl, turn your attention to the rinds. Cut each half into 4 wedges and then cut those wedges into thin strips.
- Combine the citrus pulp, chopped rind, reserved water, and sugar in a pot that holds at least five quarts. Cover and let it sit over night.
- Prepare a boiling water bath and 6-7 half pint jars.
- Place the pot containing the citrus pulp, rinds, water, and sugar over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook at a controlled boil, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 35 minutes, until the volume in the pot has reduced by about half.
- Monitor the temperature of the cooking fruit using an instant read thermometer. The marmalade is done when it reaches 220F. When it reaches that point, remove the pot from the heat. If desired, us the plate test to check for set at this point.
- Funnel the marmalade into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
- When the time is up, remove the jars and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. When the jars have cooled enough that you can comfortable handle them, check the seals. Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.
This sounds really good! I’ve never made marmalade before and I think I’ll start with this one – it’ll be too late for the January challenge but better late than never.
So, you don’t try to remove the pith before you slice the rinds into strips? (For orange marmalade, would you leave the pith on orange rind, also?) Looks wonderful. Thanks.
In this whole fruit method, you do not remove the pith.
Marisa, I wanted to use my own pure stevia powder instead of sugar. Did you ever try it yourself?
I’m not Marisa obviously, but i can tell you that by using stevia instead of sugar, the color will change quicker and you won’t be able to keep the product for a long period of time. Sugar is there for a reason. It will keep the color longer and the shelf-life will be longer too. I made a batch of strawberry honey jam last Fall, and the color is already starting to change a bit. It’s still edible of course, but less beautiful. My guess is that you could maybe put less sugar but Marisa should be better than me to tell you this. Am i making any sense? Sorry, English is clearly not my first language so….
If you use stevia in this recipe, it will not set up. Preserves like this need sugar because it has the ability to thicken as heated. I’ve written more about reducing or replacing sugar here: https://foodinjars.com/2015/02/canning-101-can-reduce-sugar/
In my experience, stevia is fairly awful in most preserve recipes. I find that it reacts with the acid in fruit and makes the finished preserve intensely bitter.
I notice that you used filtered water in your description, but the recipe doesn’t specify filtered water. Is there a reason you used filtered water? I am new to marmelade making and just tried it for the first time for the Mastery Challenge (!), and used your three-citrus marmelade recipe. I didn’t have enough zest cooking water after boiling the zest, so I made up the gap with about half a cup of tap water when making the actual marmelade recipe. Is this ok?
That’s fine. I just like to call for filtered water when it’s a large component of a recipe to indicate that you should use the best, cleanest tasting water available to you.
Thanks. I was wondering the same thing.
This combination sounds so delicious, I guess I should be thinking more outside the box, there are so many different ways to make these marmalades special.
I love your pot. Is it specially for jam making?
Nope, it’s just a Le Creuset dutch oven.
This marmalade sounds delicious. I was hoping to participate in the challenges this year if time permits. Spreading the recipe out over the course of 3 days sounds like just the right recipe for someone with a busy schedule. Do you have any other suggestions on using marmalade in recipes rather than just on toast?
i love the tip on giving the fruit a hot bath to get the wax off – i’ve been scrubbing mine, but frankly that doesn’t feel too effective. i’ll try the scalding method this weekend, as there may be a second batch of (key lime) marmalade in my future.
My tangerine marmalade is made, supposedly, over the course of 3 days. Mine took 5 because I was lazy. These old recipes were to soften up the rind. Mine is not a 1:1 ratio. It was1 c pulp to 3 c water for 3 days and then 1 c sugar to 1 c fruit/water/pulp.
The one thing I learned from this challenge: The fruit is critical. I had tangerines that you could smell from a foot away, I had tangerines that were slightly sour with millions of seeds and I had so-so tangerines. The only marmalade worth making was with the phenomenal tasting fruit. I didn’t really think it mattered when I made marmalade in years past but it does.
This sounds absolutely divine! And thanks for splitting it into three days! I sometimes forget that things don’t always have to be completed immediately and will charge through even if it might have benefitted me to pause on a project. This is a lovely reminder!
This challenge has been great (and it’s only just begun)! I’ve learned so much about marmalade and am grateful for that! Thank you, Marisa!
I’m a bit late to the challenge, so I’m trying to catch up. I attempted to make Meyer Lemon Marmalade. It turned out biter and tasted like terribly bad medicine you were forced to take as a kid. Any suggestions, on how I can prevent the bitterness?
Three possibilities: Change the boiling water once or twice. Scrape away some of the pith before cutting the peeling into strips. Use plain water instead of the water the fruit was boiled in.
I just made this, but compressed it into two days, Step 1 in the morning, Step 2 in the late afternoon/evening, Step 3 the following morning. I was dismayed at how brown the limes looked after cooking. Nonetheless, I persevered. Came out just under 7 half-pints. And don’t cut the sugar, it needs the full 4 cups because of the bitter edge of the peels.It will not be too sweet, I promise!
Your prose instructions say to use 4 cups water, but the actual recipe says 8. Is one of those wrong, or am I missing something?
If you read through the actual recipe, it wants you to start the lemons and limes in 8 cups of water so that you have enough cooking water to use 4 cups for the actual marmalade cooking process. You don’t want to start with just four cups of water, because you won’t have enough for the marmalade cooking process.