I’ve been asked by a couple of you to post this recipe – so here it is! This recipe creates a beautiful, fresh-tasting marmalade. Every jar of our Geyserville marmalade brought back the taste of our old home long after we had moved to Seattle. Truly wonderful. Enjoy!
Safety in water-bath canning has to do with acidity (you must have a pH level of 4.6 or lower) and eliminating bacteria, molds and yeasts (these are destroyed at 140-190F). The infamous botulism thrives on low-acid foods, so that is not an issue here.
I combined two recipes to form my own that is adapted for meyer lemons: “Orange-Lemon Marmalade” from Ball Blue Book of Preserving, and “Bitter Orange Marmalade” from Joy of Cooking. Since the acidity of lemons would be higher than both oranges and bitter oranges, I am very sure this is safe on the acidity front. We’ve eaten many, many jars of this and we are happy and quite alive! But I did not test the acidity, so I can’t tell you exactly what that the pH level is. Please test the pH if you want to vary the ingredients in this recipe.
Meyer Lemon Marmalade
- Large Pot (for making marmalade)
- Boiling-Water Canning Pot & Lid
- Rack (to hold jars off bottom of canner)
- Jar lifter
- Jar funnel
- Lid wand
- Candy thermometer
- Fine mesh strainer
- Small spatula
- Clean towels
- 6-7 1/2 pint Masonry-type jars (eg, Ball) — (or some 1/2 pint, some pint)
- 6-7 Rings
- 6-7 New Lids
- 2.5 lbs. Meyer Lemons
- 8 C Water
- 6-6.5 C Sugar
1. Chill lemons in the fridge for an hour or two (this is optional – it makes it easier to slice the lemons thinner).
2. Halve the lemons crosswise and cut out the centers (see photos below).
3. Holding the lemon over a bowl, run your finger down the middle of the lemon to remove all the seeds. Do this for each lemon. Retain the juice and seeds and set aside.
4. Slice the lemons into thin slices. If you like the taste of candied lemons, don’t worry about getting them too thin – maybe 1/4-1/8”. If you’re not such a fan, cut them as thin as you can.
5. Strain the retained juice and seeds from #3 and add to a large bowl.
6. Combine the juice and the lemons into the large bowl, cover them with the 8 cups of water, and let stand overnight in a cool place (refrigerator, garage, etc).
1. Wash the jars, lids, and rings in hot soapy water.
2. Sterilize. Place the jars upright in the canner, cover them with hot water 2” above the top of the jars, and boil vigorously for 10 minutes. (Add one additional minute for each 1,000 feet you are higher than sea level.) I generally place my rings and all other utensils in the bath as well – doesn’t hurt. Just don’t boil the lids as the rubber may melt. Leave them in the hot water until you’re ready to use them.
3. Simmer the lemon and water in a large pot until the peels are tender. A good test is to try to cut them with a wooden or plastic spoon: if they break apart effortlessly, it’s done. This takes me about 20-25 minutes.
4. Add the sugar (6 cups for a little less sweet, 6.5 for a little more sweet).
5. Boil rapidly, stirring frequently, until the mixture reaches the jelling point.
The Jelling Point.
I can tell you that this sounds like a big mystery, but after two times of making this recipe, I understood it very well. The books talk about a spoon test, quick-chill test, and temperature test. The first two are judgement calls and if you’re new at this I wouldn’t recommend it. Just buy a $5 candy thermometer. When the mixture begins to boil, you’ll want to start tracking the temperature. Stop when it gets to be 8-10 degrees over the boiling point of water: between 220F and 222F.
Other signs that you’ve reached the jelling point: you’ll feel it becoming more difficult to stir, the boiling will start to sound like it’s spitting at you, the bubbles will become smaller on the outside of the pot and bigger on the inside, the stuff gels on your thermometer…. lots of signs.
6. Skim off any foam.
7. Ladle into hot, sterile jars. Use the funnel so that you avoid getting marmalade on the rim of the jar. Fill to 1/4” below the top of the jar (ie, 1/4” headspace).
8. Before putting on the lids, stir slowly and push the liquid down to remove any air pockets. Then carefully wipe the top of the jars with a clean towel. (I dip the towel in the boiling water first, as the liquid can be sticky.)
9. Dunk the lids into the boiling water, or pour boiling water over them in a bowl to soften and sterilize them. Set the lids on the jars, and screw on the rings firmly, but stop when you feel resistance.
10. Place each of the jars into the jar rack in the water canner. Make sure they have at least 2” between one another so that water can circulate between them.
11. Lower the rack into the canner. Top the water in the canner so that water is at least 2” above the top jar. Cover, and boil.
12. After it reaches a full boil, set a timer and boil the jars in the water for 10 minutes. (At 1,000-3,000’ above sea level, add 5 minutes; at 3,001-6,000’ add 10 minutes, and so on.)
13. Immediately remove jars with a jar lifter, and place them on a drying rack or clean towel. Make sure they are spaced at least 1” apart for air circulation, but don’t put them in front of an open window or in any kind of draft. Also don’t tighten the metal rings. Very soon you’ll hear a popping sound as the jars cool.
14. Cool the jars at room temperature for 12-24 hours.
1. Test the Seals. Remove the metal rings and check to see that the lids have curved down slightly in the center. Then press the center of the lid. It should not move.
2. Jars that did not seal properly should be reprocessed (within 24 hours), frozen, or used in the next few days.
3. With metal rings still removed, wipe the jars clean with a damp cloth. If you see food caught between the lid and the rim, note this on the jar and use this jar soon. Replace the metal ring.
4. Label your jars with the contents and date. You can do this with a label or mark the top of the lid with a Sharpie.
5. Store in a cool, dark place between 45F and 60F. Use within one year.
Shown here on spread upon Matt’s Flaky Tasty Biscuits.