Having been given a big bag of HUGE lemons by a friend with a lemon tree (wish mine would start producing) I thought I had better make good use of them. Two lemons weighed 900 grams!!
So, lemon marmalade it is... the theory is as follows:
1. Lemons (look at the difference in size from the ones I was given and the one I already had from the supermarket).
2. Cut them and juice them and then remove some of the pith (but keep it along with the pips).
3. Shred the rind finely or thickly to taste but keep the pieces even sized (if you are not sure if the lemons are organic then you need to clean them thoroughly first to remove any wax coating or pesticides).
4. Put the pith and pips into a muslin bag - or use the gadget thingy you got from Lakeland years ago and have never used before.
5. Boil the shredded lemon rind and bag of pith and pips along with the juice until the rind is soft. This may take some time. Test the rind to make sure that it is soft before proceeding.
6. Add the sugar and bring up to jam setting point and then boil until the marmalade is set.
Test for this by putting a plate in the freezer and every so often put a teaspoonful of hot marmalade onto the cold plate and wait for it to go cold... you should be able to see the tell tale wrinkles as you push the marmalade, this is the sign that it is ready to be jarred up. Let the marmalade cool a little.
7. Marmalade loves alcohol. Not too much but just a little brings out the flavour of the fruit. I couldn't get the lid off the Disaronno bottle so I added a tablespoon of port. Port and lemon goes doesn't it?
8. Sterilise the jars with boiling water and then fill the jars with the marmalade while they are still hot.
9. Do not disturb for 24 hours.
Now the reality. After 24 hours the marmalade had not set. Even though it wrinkled perfectly when put on the cold plate. Ho hum, its not the end of the world with marmalade or jam because you just re boil it until it does set.
That didn't exactly work either. It turned very dark, very quickly and I had to take it off the heat. It is thicker but its still more syrup than set marmalade and then when I put it on toast, not all of the rind is soft!!!!! So. Important things I have learned from this exercise. Always shred the rind evenly. Test for pectin before adding the sugar. You do this by taking a little of the solution out and adding a drop or two of methylated spirits or denatured alcohol... this should cause the pectin to ball up... and the consistency of the ball (really thick or not) should indicate whether you need to add pectin or not.
The pith and pips is where the pectin resides which is why I added them back into the mixture but obviously these lemons are not high in pectin - which is quite unusual.
So.... have I wasted my time? Nope. It's still edible apart from the odd bit of thick peel which can be removed as you come across them. And I have learned loads. Don't be put off by difficult stuff... give it a go. There is no such thing as failure! (Well almost no such thing).