It has been an age since I last shared a jam/marmalade recipe. I mean literally years. I don’t know why it has been so long? Considering I actually make homemade jams and marmalades a few times a year. I think its partly because my photography skills are just not all that and I find photographing jams really hard. Let’s be honest I am the queen of the overhead shot. And well, jams are just really dull when shot overhead. I have tried my best with this Super Easy Homemade Lemon Marmalade to make it look appetising.
Super Easy Homemade Lemon Marmalade
The title says it all. This is a really easy recipe to follow and all you need is some lemons, quite a bit of sugar and some patience. And life will be easier if you have a food processor. But it can be done by hand if you don’t own one. It will just take a little bit longer. Let me explain the whole food processor part to you. Because let’s be honest it’s not a normal lemon marmalade piece of equipment!
First off you need to peel your lemons and chop the peel up into little bits to soak overnight. Along with the pulp of the fruit and a little muslin bag of the collected seeds. Chopping the peel up is just so much easier with a food processor. Check out my next visual aid!
You allow all of this to soak overnight, releasing a lovely intense lemon flavour and soaking all of the pectins out of those seeds. Which will allow your lemon marmalade to set naturally without adding any other chemicals, keeping it au natural! Once this has all finished soaking overnight you will bring everything to a gentle boil for around 25 minutes. To release even more flavour and get that pectin out of the seeds. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for an hour. Then you strain all of the peel and flesh out. You will add the sugar and gently bring it to the boil dissolving the sugar. Then bring it to a rolling boil to setting temperature, 104C / 220F. Don’t worry if you don’t have a candy/jam thermometer. I’ll give you some tips on how to do it without one.
The importance of Temp.
Life will be easier if you have a candy/jam thermometer. But you can still make great jam’s, jellies and marmalades without one. The trick is to keep a close eye on things and have a bunch of small plates stacked up in the freezer. The small plates in the freezer trick is a good one even if you are using a candy thermometer. Once your lemon marmalade comes to a rolling boil it will take a little bit of time to reach 104C / 220F. Keep an eye on things when your lemon marmalade starts to boil. When big bubbles start to form and it becomes glossy and thick, the chances are it has hit setting point or is at least very close to it.
It’s at this point that you need to start testing little spoonful’s of it on those plates in the freezer. This is called the wrinkle test. Remove the pan from the heat. Spoon a small amount onto one your very cold plates and leave it for a few minutes. Then run the tip of your finger through it, if it wrinkles you have reached setting point. If it doesn’t wrinkle, then return the pan to the heat and continue to boil for a few minutes then do the test again. Once it does wrinkle you have hit the setting point jackpot!
If if you want to add a little peel/zest as I did with some of my jars. Just simply place a lemon to one side and zest it right at the end and add it just before placing it into clean sterilised jars. Please read this article for a well-informed list on how to sterilised jam jars multiple ways. Please don’t miss out this step as it will help keep your lemon marmalade fresh for the longest time possible.
Super Easy Homemade Lemon Marmalade
- 1 Kilogram Lemons (2.2 pounds)
- 2.5 litres cold water (10 and ½ cups)
- 2 kilograms granulated sugar (10 cups)
- Rinse the lemons well and then dry them off with a kitchen towel.
- Score the skin into quarters and then peel it off and pop it into the bowl of a food processor and chop as finely or coarsely as you like.
- If doing it by hand use a sharp knife and slice the peel to your preferred thickness.
- Place all the chopped peel in a large saucepan.
- Chop all the lemon pulp into rough chunks removing all the pips, but don't throw the pips out for now just place them to one side.
- Once all the flesh has been chopped up and added to the pan along with any juice from the lemons. Take all the pips and place them in the middle of a small square piece of muslin or a fine clean cloth and tie it up securely into a loose bag with string. Then to add this bag to the pan.
- Stir well then cover and leave to soak overnight.
- Next day bring everything to the boil, slowly over a low to medium heat. Stirring occasionally. This will take about 25 minutes.
- Then lower the heat and simmer for about an hour until the peel is quite tender. If you have big chunks of peel this process will take a little longer.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool down a little for 15 minutes.
- Strain your fruit and juice through a very fine strainer, I would recommend using a proper jam straining kit, this can take up to an hour for all the juice to strain through. But you can use a sheet of muslin tied over a large bowl as a makeshift strainer.
- Fish out the muslin bag of pips and give it a good squeeze over the liquid, you will need the pectin the soaked pips have produced to help set your marmalade.
- Pop a few small plates into the freezer and return your pan to a low heat.
- Pour in the sugar and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Turn up the heat to maximum and boil until you reach setting point - if you are using a candy thermometer which I highly recommend, you are looking to hit 104C / 220F. Stirring every few minutes Until it comes to a rolling boil, then only stir occasionally.
- While your marmalade is coming up to temperature you need to sterilise your jars, the easiest way I find is to wash them in hot soapy water rinse them, then place them in the oven with it warmed up to 140C / 275F / Gas mark 1 and leave them in till I need them.
- If you don't have a candy thermometer you will just need to keep testing it, first let it boil for 15 minutes then test it every couple of minutes.
- To test it, take it off the heat once it's at the temperature or after 15 minutes of being at full boil and place a small teaspoon amount on one of your small plates from the freezer. Leave it untouched for a minute on the plate then run your finger through it, if it wrinkles and sticks to your finger it is ready to jar. If it doesn't return it to the heat to come back up to temperature 104C / 220F or at least another 5 minutes. Then take it off the heat and test it again.
- Once it is at setting point allow it to sit and settle for a few minutes then decant it into your warm jars and seal them. And leave them overnight, then label them.
- Kept in a dark cool place unopened this marmalade will keep up to 9 months, once a jar is opened, keep in the fridge and eat within 4 weeks.