Time is running out on cherry season but there’s still time to make this Sweet Cherry Meyer Lemon Marmalade! And if you can’t find Meyers, regular lemons will also do (thought get organic if you can!).
Back in early July, the good folks from the Washington State Stone Fruit Growers sent me a giant box of cherries as part of this year’s Canbassador program (8th year! Crazy!). I shared a recipe for spiced cherry preserves and another for sweet cherry ketchup, and then life got a little crazy (vacation! work travel! an endless cold!).
I promised I’d share recipes for the final two things I made with my cherry shipment, and I’m going to fulfill half that promise tonight with this recipe for Sweet Cherry Meyer Lemon Marmalade (I can’t find my notes from the cherry black raspberry jam, so that recipe may be lost until next season when I can take another stab at the combination).
I’m also motivated to get this recipe up because while sweet cherries are still available fresh, I hear that they’ll be around stores for no more than another week or two. So while we’re on clock here, it is still possible to make this preserve this year!
I’ve made a lot of different things with sweet cherries over the years and I’ve found that the preserves I like the best are the ones in which I aggressively temper their sweetness with tart, tangy, and sour flavors (case in point, these lightly pickled sweet cherries).
In the case of the this marmalade, I use a full pound of Meyer lemons to bring the pucker. These particular lemons were grown by the always-delightful Karen of Lemon Ladies Orchard and I hear she’s got a few summer lemons available, should you need to get your hands on some.
I approach this recipe over the course of two days. On day one, the cherries are stemmed, heaped in a pan with a cup of water, and simmered until soft. Then they’re left to sit overnight until cool. Simultaneously while the cherries do their initial cook, the lemons are cut into slivers, placed in a roomy bowl and covered them with two cups of water. They also soak overnight (this helps soften the rind and makes for a more pleasing finished texture.
The next day, you pinch the pits out of the cherries, add the lemons and their water, along with four cups of sugar. Finally, you boil it all down into a pleasingly sweet, tart, and spreadable marmalade that married seasons and flavors beautifully.
Oh, and one last thing. Should you want to see what some of the other Canbassadors have done this year, make sure to follow the Washington State Stone Fruit folks on social media, as they’ve been sharing all the posts. Here’s where you can find them.
- 3 pounds sweet cherries
- 1 pound Meyer lemons (other varieties can be used if Meyers are unavailable)
- 4 cups sugar
- Remove stems from cherries and wash well. Heap the cherries in a large pot that has a tight-fitting lid. Add 1 cup water and place pot on the stove. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the cherries are quiet tender. When time is up, remove pot from heat and let sit until completely cool (I typically cook the cherries in the evening and then let them cool overnight).
- Wash the lemons. Cut away both the stem and blossom ends and slice each lemon into quarters. Cut away the thin strips of white pith from the interior of the wedges and use the tip of your knife to poke out the seeds. Cut each quarter into thin slices from top to bottom.
- Once all the lemons are sliced, place them in a bowl (along with any of their liquid that you were able to capture) and add 2 cups of water. Let the sliced lemons soak overnight.
- The next day, use your fingers to pop the pits out of the now-cool cherries. Add the lemons and their soaking liquid, along with the 4 cups of granulated sugar. Stir to combine and to help the sugar being to dissolve.
- Place the pot back on the stove and set the burner to high.
- Bring the contents of the pot to a boil and cook, stirring regularly, until the cherry and lemon mess has reduce by at least half and is starting to shape up into marmalade. You may need to reduce the heat as cooking progresses so that you maintain a low boil without scorching the bottom of the pot.
- While the marmalade cooks, prepare a boiling water bath canner and 7 half pints (though you may not need all of them).
- Test for set using both the plate and temperature tests (required temp is 220F).
- When you deem that the marmalade is done, remove the pot from the heat.
- Funnel the finished marmalade into the prepared jars, leaving 1/4 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 comfortably 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.