Old-fashioned Meyer lemon marmalade is made with little more than lemons, sugar, water and time. The result is a vibrant citrine-hued marmalade with a perfect balance of sweet and tart. Meyer lemons, a cross between traditional lemons and mandarin oranges, have a sweeter flavor that makes them perfect for marmalade (it’s definitely one of my […]
Old-fashioned Meyer lemon marmalade is made with little more than lemons, sugar, water and time. The result is a vibrant citrine-hued marmalade with a perfect balance of sweet and tart.
Meyer lemons, a cross between traditional lemons and mandarin oranges, have a sweeter flavor that makes them perfect for marmalade (it’s definitely one of my favorites).
When life (or in this case, your lovely Auntie) gives you lemons…
… make marmalade.
Ok, and maybe some lemonade too. And preserved lemons. And lemon bars. And lemon curd. And lemon poppyseed muffins. And… (she really did send me a TON of lemons).
Luckily I’ve got a wealth of Meyer lemon recipes to choose from.
Still, I couldn’t resist putting this perfect, untreated fruit to work in a batch of good old-fashioned marmalade.
This is an old fashioned marmalade recipe, meaning it does not have any added pectin.
What it does have is quite a bit of sugar.
I know 7 cups seems like a lot, but please don’t try to reduce the sugar in this recipe. I won’t get into the science of it, but having the proper concentration of sugar is what allows the pectin to activate and the marmalade to form a proper gel.
I know it might seem like reducing the sugar will result in a less-sweet jam, but the point at which a marmalade ‘sets’ is when the sugar concentration reaches a certain percentage (typically 60-65%). If you reduce the sugar, you’ll either end up with a runny jam, or you’ll have to cook the jam for a longer period of time, essentially evaporating off more water until you end up with the same concentration of sugar as if you used the full quantity of sugar to begin with. So unless you want to spend more time to get a smaller quantity of the same thing, please use the full quantity of sugar as written.
I’d also argue that the sweetness is necessary to offset the tart and bitter notes of the citrus, much in the way sugar is pretty much a requirement for lemonade (drinking straight up lemon juice is anything but pleasant). In the case of marmalade sugar also works as a preservative, maintaining the stained glass-like color of the citrus for a much longer period of time.
That said, I do have some lower sugar marmalade recipes here as well as a few in my ebook which use Pomona’s pectin (this particular kind of pectin is designed to react with calcium, not sugar, so you can reduce the added sugar in jams by a significant amount without affecting the final set). I do find that these lower-sugar preserves, marmalade especially, do tend to darken in color over time, much more noticeably than the old fashioned kind.
Want to see the whole step by step process? I documented the entire marmalade-making procedure last weekend in my Instagram Stories, and saved to my highlights. Because sometimes it’s easier to see a recipe made to fully understand just how it works.
Also be sure to click through/scroll down to get the FREE printable labels I’ve designed just for you. :)