Comforting and Easy Three-Citrus Kitchen Marmalade

Warm, cozy blanket-comfort food to me is toasted bread with a smear of butter melted down into the nooks and crannies with a spoonful of homemade marmalade.

A large bowl of citrus, Blood Oranges, Tangelos and Red Grapefruit, about to go south quickly, was sitting on my kitchen counter this past week. Most was left over from my last photo shoot which now seems ages ago.  During “normal life” I cannot bear wasting food, so the peeling and slicing began. I find the making of marmalade as comforting as the eating of it.

Beautiful day, warm and breezy, windows open….Tulip and Honeysuckle blooms catching the breeze by the kitchen door. A good day for marmalade.

After rescuing all the good rind and flesh from each orange and grapefruit, I squeezed all of the leftover pieces for the juice adding it to the bowl.

I learned a few years ago that it is not necessary to be a totally crazy person when peeling the rind from the citrus to make sure none of the pith is left. My marmalade is still very tasty and not bitter with a little pith still attached. The slow simmer in the sugar-liquid mixture takes care of it.

Hot, thick, wonderful marmalade ready to be jarred and eaten.

What are you making to comfort yourself while being sequestered at home? I bet something cozy and delicious. Dishes that make you feel wrapped in a soft blanket? I hope so. Stay home, stay safe. This too will pass.

Comforting and Easy Three-Citrus Kitchen Marmalade

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 to 3 lbs of citrus rind thinly sliced,  and flesh, seeded (Grapefruit, Blood Oranges, Tangelos are what I had on hand, but any combination works)
  • any leftover juice from citrus
  • 2.5 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup St. Germain Liqueur
  • 1 1/2 cups natural apple juice

Directions:

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a non-reactive cooking pan…stainless steel or enamel works great. Stir ingredients well to blend.
  2. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring often, and cook for 10 minutes. Turn heat to low and simmer for an hour, stirring every now and then.
  3. The citrus rind should begin to look transparent after 45 minutes.  Mixture will thicken as it cooks so keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t scorch or burn. You can add a splash more juice or water if need be.
  4. Wash 4 small half-pint canning jars and rims in hot soapy water and rinse well. Drain dry on a clean dish towel.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  5. Fill clean, dry jars with hot marmalade mixture leaving 1/2 inch unfilled at the top of each. Wipe drips from jar edges.  Add rims, and screw lids on firmly, but not too tight yet.
  6. Place filled jars on a baking tray and put in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes. Remove jars and let cool on a wire rack. Lids will “pop or ping” to seal as they cool down. Lids should be “concave”. When jars are totally cool, tighten screw lids. If any jars fail to seal, then store in the refrigerator.

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“Meyer Lemon & Dried Cranberry Marmalade” Holiday Gift / E.A.T. #13

lemon tree

This year, Spring, I brought a Meyer Lemon Tree (NPR story on Meyer Lemons) home from the Nashville Farmer’s Market. We planted it in a large pot, keeping it on the back porch where it would be easy to water & watch. Soon a few buds, then a few flowers, then very, very small green nibs appeared…could these be actual lemons? Yes, oh yes! Throughout the summer and into the fall the small nibs grew into gorgeous yellow smooth skinned Meyer Lemons…right on our back porch in downtown Nashville, Tennessee! Photographed more than a runway model, my little tree thrived. Frequently I would go out and just visit with my exotic lemon tree…waiting & watching.

Green Meyer Lemon

I am sure, if you live in California, Florida, Arizona or other far away places where growing citrus in your backyard is as common as mud, that you would not see what all the fuss is about. But for me to have a real lemon tree outside on my Middle Tennessee back porch with real, live lemons, Meyer Lemons at that, hanging heavy and ripe to add to recipes or make into marmalade is something that was unimaginable a few years ago. Now, fortunately, there are many hybrid types of citrus trees that can be grown in our zone (Nashville is in Zone 7) and I, for one, am happy about that.

Meyer Lemons

Af few weeks ago I harvested all 18 plump, smooth skinned Meyer Lemons from my little tree. It was somewhat bittersweet as I was at the same time worried about how to keep the tree alive through the winter months and I wanting my “first crop” to be preserved in a way that would make the lemons last longer and could be shared. Limoncello? Preserved in salt? Marmalade? Yes to marmalade.

Jars of Lemon Cranberry MarmaladeI like a marmalades that use all the fruit, less the seeds…a  chunkier, less sweet marmalade that has some body & character that store-bought versions just don’t have. It was fortuitous that I happened to have my own lemons, but use whatever citrus you like. My friend Candace Floyd makes a fabulous marmalade using Cara-Cara Oranges. I made “Buddha Hand” citrus marmalade a few years ago and it was very fine.

Citrus season is upon us and the offerings are plentiful and varied. It just takes a few hours  to make & preserve this little recipe.  You still have plenty of time before the holidays. Tuck a jar of this marmalade into a basket along with some crusty bread and a stick of Kerry Gold Butter and you will make someone very happy indeed: It is really as “Easy as This”.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs Meyer Lemons (or other citrus), washed & dried

5 cups water

8 ozs dried cranberries

4-5 cups sugar

1 Tbsp. Pomegranate Molasses

Equipment:    Enamel or stainless steel cooking pan, a square of cheesecloth & length of twine, clean half pint or pint jars with sealable lids (I get mine here in bulk & they have a very easy 1 part sealable lid)

How to do it:

1. Cut lemons in half  & remove the seeds, placing them on a square of cheesecloth. Tie cheesecloth & seeds up with twine to make a little bag.

Meyer Lemon Marmalade making

DSC_3928lemon seeds in cheesecloth

2. Cut each lemon half into quarters and slice thinly. Place slices in a nonreactive pot, stainless steel or enamel and add seed bag & water.

DSC_3922

Sliced Meyer Lemons

Meyer Lemon Marmalade

3. Stir, making sure all the lemon slices & seed bag are submerged. If not then add just a bit more water. Cover pan & let sit at room temperature overnight, or up to 24 hours.

4. The next day place the pan over medium high heat and bring to a low boil.  Add sugar stirring often until sugar dissolves. Turn heat to simmer and cook for about 30 minutes until mixture is reduced to about 5 cups. Skim off foam as it forms. Remove mixture from the heat. Discard the seed bag. Test the marmalade by dripping a bit of the onto a cold plate…wait a few minutes to make sure the mixture gels. If not return to the heat and retest.

Meyer Lemon MarmaladeMeyer Lemon Marmalade

5. Stir in the Pomegranate Molasses which is found at most International Markets or online. I love the tart-sweet quality & just a little will really perk up the flavor of your marmalade.

Pomegranate MolassesDrizzle of Pomegranate Molasses

6. Add the dried cranberries. I found these Orange Flavored Dried Cranberries at Trader Joe’s, but any dried cranberries will do. Talk about seasonal! Blend well.

Lemon Marmalade with Dried Cranberries

7. Spoon hot marmalade into clean jars filling to within 1/4 inch from the top edge. Wipe rims of jars clean & seal with lids. I buy my jars online from SKS. They have a wide variety of canning jars with one piece lids that make the canning process so much easier (sorry my old friend “Ball”) & the prices are great.

jars of hot marmalade

8. Put jars in a hot water-bath canner with a wire rack, or set on any rack in a pot deep enough to cover jars with water by 1 inch. Bring water to a boil, pan  covered & cook for 5 minutes. Turn heat off, leaving jars in hot water until it cools. Remove jars from water. Wipe dry & store in a cool dark place until you are ready to gift….Easy as That.

An alternate to actually canning, although it is really easy, is to just put jars in refrigerator until ready to give.

Our refrigerated jar of Meyer Lemon & Dried Cranberry Marmalade chilled and ready for toast.

Jar of chilled marmalade

Hot toasty bread smeared with Kerry Gold Butter & Marmalade. Life is good!

marmalade on toast with butter

Happy Thanks-Giving y’all.