This whole fruit Meyer lemon lavender jam is perfect for lovers of marmalade who are short on time but love that bittersweet flavor.
Oh friends. I meant to post this recipe weeks ago, but with the intensity and chaos of life lately, it got lost in the shuffle. We’re getting late in the season for Meyer lemons, but if you’re motivated, you should be able to find a few for this jam. If you’re in Philly, know that Sue’s Produce has them (for $4 a pound, but still).
I made my first whole fruit citrus jam a few years ago, and continue to love it as an alternative to marmalade. You get all the zippy tang and flavor, without the hours of chopping and mincing (though if you love marmalade for it’s texture, this is no substitute).
To prep, you wash and trim the fruit. Layer it in a pot large enough to hold the fruit in a single layer and run enough water in to just cover the fruit. Set the pot on the stove, put a lid on it, and simmer the fruit for about 20 minutes, until the lemons are tender, but not falling apart.
Once they’re cool, you cut the fruit in half, scoop out the seeds over a sieve, puree the fruit, and cook it down with sugar and flavorings. In this case, I infused the fruit with some dried lavender, but I’ve been pondering a batch spiked with chiles.
The applications for a jam like this vary. I’ve had great success pairing it with fresh, creamy cheeses like ricotta or farmers. If you leave it a little bit runny, a drizzle into a bowl of yogurt, fruit, and granola is terrific. It can also be used to lend acid and sweetness to stir-fried chicken or shrimp. Heck, if you left the lavender out, I can see it being a delicious dipping sauce for homemade chicken fingers.
On the beverage side, you could stir a spoonful into a mug of hot water when your throat is scratchy. Or use some in a hot toddy in place of honey. There are just so many options.
Meyer Lemon Lavender Jam
- 4 pounds meyer lemons preferrably organic, since you’re using the whole fruit
- 1 tablespoon culinary grade dried lavender bundled in a length of cheesecloth or tucked into a tea ball
- 4 cups granulated cane sugar
- Wash the lemons well and trim off the ends. Arrange them in a single layer in the bottom of a large pan that has a lid. Cover the fruit with water, tuck in the bundle of lavender amidst the fruit, and set the pot on the stove over high heat.
- Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to medium. Let the lemons simmer for approximately 20 minutes. They’re done when they’re tender but not falling apart. Let them cool completely (I often let them sit overnight), taking care to reserve the water (it will be the liquid component in our jam.
- Once the lemons are cool, remove the lavender bundle and set a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Using a paring knife, cut each lemon in half over the sieve and wiggle the seeds out.
- You want to catch the seeds in the sieve and have the juice run through to the bowl. You may end up with a goodly amount of pulp in the sieve as well. Work the pulp around in the sieve to push it through.
- When all the lemons are cut in half and deseeded, heap them in a blender container (if you have a small blender, work in two batches). Measure out six cups of cooking water (add some fresh, if you don’t have enough) and add it to the fruit.
- Blend until you have a mostly smooth lemon puree. Pour it into a low, wide pan and add the sugar.
- 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 a little over half an hour 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. (For more detail on water bath processing, see this post.)
- When time is up, remove jars from canner and let them cool on a folded kitchen towel.
- When jars are fully cool, remove rings and check seals. Sealed jars are shelf stable for up to 1 year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.
What is a Meyer lemon? Will any lemon do?
Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. They are sweeter and have a thinner pith layer than conventional lemons. This recipe will not work well with other lemons.
It’s a special variety developed in California.
My local Mexican market calls them sweet lemons.
So, you purée the peel and all, just no seeds?
Yep. It’s the whole fruit, save the seeds.
I have an over-abundance of Meyers on the tree right now and may make this tomorrow. The older, more ripe ones tend to be sweeter. Should I alter the sugar content, or will that be a safety issue?
I wouldn’t change the sugar. The difference in sweetness will be marginal.
Could you safely substitute honey for sugar? I know there would likely be a difference in the set, but I am mostly thinking about this as something to stir into a mug of hot water for instant tea.
There’s a version using honey in this site’s archives. https://foodinjars.com/2014/02/honey-sweetened-meyer-lemon-jam/
Wow, what a great recipe. I usually use this boiled fruit approach to make a super moist orange cake, but I will be trying this one come the time my Meyer lemons ripen. Thanks
The recipe mentions “culinary lavender”. I would like to know more.
Will any lavender I grow in my garden work?
Where might I purchase it locally.
Will lavender essential oil work?
Can I grow my own and what kind?
Santa Rosa, California
You need lavender that’s been grown, dried and stored with culinary uses in mind. Lavender essential oil will not work. Mountain Rose Herbs is a good resource. https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/lavender-flowers/profile
How about for all of us (attempting to recover) diabetics? The sugar content is way too high for us. The lemons are fantastic for an alkaline diet ( for the diabetic) but no way can we have that kind of sugar content. Do you know if anyone has ever tried this with stevia? Did it work?
It will not work with stevia. You need the sugar content in order to create the set. I’d suggest looking into preserves that use Pomona’s Pectin for set. It works with low levels of sweeteners and sugar alternatives as well.
Oh! I have heard of citrus pickles but for the first time, hearing about citrus jam. It’s interesting; I would try it for sure.
I just bought a pile of meyer lemons at Trader Joe’s to make your lemon syrup – to which I am suitably addicted. But I think I might branch out and try a lemon curd, too! And now I have this to think about. . . I might need more lemons.
I just got your new book from the library, love it so far. I also just this week purchased your first and second books from Amazon as a belated birthday gift to myself. I love your blog and have become a huge fan of Meyer lemons.
Oh.my.goodness! I must, must, MUST (!!!) make this. We have a Meyer lemon tree. And organic lavender. My hubby suggested trying this with our sorrento lemons, but that made me think Sorrento lemon lavender limoncello! Both would be perfect therapy right now as we deal with canine cancer….
The Trader Joe’s on 22nd still has Meyer lemons (at least as of last night) for $1.99/lb.
Are you processing with a water bath or are you placing the lid on the canner and adding pressure?
This one is processed in a water bath. High acid foods don’t need a pressure canner.
About 1/2 inch. That’s standard for jams.
If you let them cool over night, do you put them in the fridge or just on the counter?
They cool on the counter. Once you’ve done the boiling water bath process, they will not need to be refrigerated again until you break the seal and open the jar.
Thank you so much. My lemons are cooling on the counter. Our timing was perfect.
A couple days ago I picked up a 4 lb bag of meyer lemons at Costco not knowing what I would do with them. Then I looked at your blog and there was my answer!
I began canning when I was in your class at Purcell Murray in Brisbane Ca.
I hope to get to one of your appearances next month in eastbay Ca!
Try it with fresh rosemary. Makes an outstanding glaze on lamb or pork, too.
Can this same idea be used with oranges?
I think is issue with oranges is that the pith is much thicker and would lead to bitterness. I have a similar recipe that I make with limes, but the pith is limes is more similar to myer lemons.
When I tasted from the pot, there was that pithy taste. Is there any suggestion for adding a spice or extract to cover that taste? I did not add the lavender because I will use it for the dipping sauce. I might just like to add something to the first jar I open.
This was my Easter day project and wow – it’s great! Using the whole fruit does make it tart, which I love. I love it as a dupe for marmalade, it’s much easier to make. I’m not sure I needed 12 jars (probably should have gone with the smaller honey-sweetened recipe) but it’s already great as a tea, and on an English muffin. It will be a great gift item to have on hand, it’s so fun and different.
Just to be clear, when you puree the fruit, does that include the juice and pulp you have just pushed through the sieve in step 4? i.e. everything except the seeds? Or do you use the juice and pulp in with the rest when pureeing and only leave out the seeds?
You want to puree everything but the seeds. That includes the juice and pulp you pushed through the sieve. That step is there to ensure that you don’t lose any meyer lemon goodness while removing the seeds from the fruit.
Would this work with a mix of mandarins and meyer lemons?
Hi, I’m wondering how you would describe the consistency of this jam?
In other words what’s the thickness factor? Runny, hold it’s shape when spooned from the jar etc. thanks. Just trying to visualize.
I find that it tends to set up pretty firmly, but the set will vary depending on how long you cooked it and how much water content the fruit contained.
I have done this with Balls no sugar pectin. Just follow the directions under the label
You mentioned trying this was Chili’s. Can you elaborate on how you would incorporate the Chili’s? Thanks in advance.
I would omit the lavender and replace it with a couple of fresh jalapenos. I would cut several slits into the sides of the jalapenos and would add them during the cooking process. At the end of cooking, I would remove the spent jalapenos prior to canning.
If this is processed in a hot water bath why does it need to be refrigerated?
It only needs to be refrigerated once the seal is broken.
I found this recipe last week, and am going to make it in about an hour. I love Meyer lemons, and I also love combining them with Lavender!
I had a 3 year-old Meyer tree that caught that dreadful disease in Florida, and out it went. It had so many lemons those 3 years, I had to put metal stakes the first two years, just to support the lower limbs.
From the comments you’ve received, I’ll check out your blog, too.
I hope you enjoy the jam!
I don’t understand why you just can’t put just lemon juice from the lemons and the other ingredients the pectin the sugar the water.?
I apologize, but I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking. Could you clarify your question?
How many half-pints does this make? It doesn’t specify. 🙂
When I made it, I got 12 half pints. But yields often vary.