Meyer Lemons, ready to pick
My little Meyer lemon tree was finally ready to give up its glorious fruit. Every day, I’ve been testing the golden globes to judge how close they might be to finally dropping into my hand, like a ripe tomato. Since April of last year, when I first swooned over the intensely fragrant blossoms, I have been watching the progress of the fruit as it first began to appear in little green nuggets. I suppose I could have picked the fruit a little sooner but I wanted as much ripening on the tree as possible.
I picked six lemons, leaving the remaining green ones to grow and ripen in their own good time. Oddly enough, these are from a second blooming of the tree, which happened when we brought the tree in from the coming cold of late fall.
Sliced lemons in water with tea strainer full of seeds
I would make marmalade so that we could savor the taste just a little longer than if I chose to use them in another kind of recipe. And I would make the marmalade the same way that I make orange marmalade since these little beauties were almost as sweet. When I sliced them very thin I could see that there were a lot of seeds which would be very good for the natural pectin. Perhaps I wouldn’t have to boil down the sugar quite so long. I put the slices in a big bowl with a quart of water and put the seeds in a tea strainer and let it stand overnight. The next day, I poured all this into my All-Clad stock pot, which I always use for making jam, and set it to cook slowly until it was reduced to four cups total. I dumped in four cups of sugar, stirred it a little to dissolve and let the jam cook a little longer while I prepared the jars.
Meyer Lemon Marmalade
Joe loves this jam. I didn’t think he would because it’s a lemon, after all. But the lemony tartness is softened by the subtle tangerine hint that is so distinctive in a Meyer lemon. I always thought this was a hybrid of a lemon and a tangerine, but in fact, the Meyer lemon is its own identity and not a cross of anything else. The jam tastes a little like lemon curd but not as cloyingly sweet. On a piece of baguette in the morning with an easy over egg fresh from my neighbor’s chickens, a half grapefruit and a steaming cup of black coffee and I’m in heaven. Joe and I have decided that breakfast is by far our favorite meal and invariably exclaim with joy when we have finished the last crumb.
Joe's breakfast: scrambled eggs, turkey sausage and toast with marmalade
My breakfast: egg easy over with my own hot sauce (very hot), toast and marmalade
Meyer Lemon Marmalade
6 large Meyer lemons
4 cups water
4 cups sugar
Slice lemons in half, then in quarters, and slice each quarter very thinly. Remove the seeds and put them either in a cheesecloth bag or a tea strainer. Put the lemon slices, the seeds and the 4 cups of water in a bowl or a non-reactive pot, cover and let stand overnight.
After 24 hours, put pot on moderate heat and cook down to make 4 cups, about 45 minutes. Add the sugar and continue cooking an additional 15 minutes or so, until jam is at soft-jell. To test, put a little on a cold plate, tilt plate and if the jam slides slowly on the plate, it is done.
Ladle into sterilized ½ pint jars. Seal jars and boil in hot water bath for 10 minutes. Makes 5 jars. Will keep up to 1 year (if you don’t eat it all before then!)