Are Meyer lemons and navel oranges still in season? They were a couple weeks ago. Trees in our neighborhood were bending under the weight of hundreds of brightly colored fruits. A friend brought us a bag full of them, picked up in her backyard that very morning. And what do you do with citrus that has been lucky enough to grow without pesticides? Eat them with the skin! I made lemon marmalade that weekend (and brought a jar to my friend as a thank you gift), using a recipe from my mother-in-law*.
For about 8 jars
(I often reuse empty 13-ounce Bonne Maman jars.)
- 6 Meyer lemons (organic or pesticide-free)
- 2 navel oranges (organic or pesticide-free)
- 1.5 kg (6 cups) sugar
- 1 liter (about 1 quart) water
- Rinse the fruits under running water. Pat them dry.
- Cut them in 4 lengthwise, then take the seeds out and place them on a square of cheese cloth that you tie with a string (in French it is called un noué). If you don't have cheese cloth, you can put the seeds in a tea ball.
- Thinly slice each fruit quarter (about 3-5 mm or 1/8-1/5 " in thickness).
- Place the fruit slices and the pocket of seeds in a large pot (I use my pressure cooker without closing it, althouth une bassine à confiture—a jam pan—would be more authentic...). Pour 1 quart (about 1 liter) water on the fruits. Place a lid on the pot.
- Wait for 24 hours.
- Place the pot or pan on the stove on medium-high heat, lid on. Boil for 50 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- Wait for 24 hours.
- Find 8 or 9 empty glass jars with lids. Clean them if necessary and boil them in water for 5 minutes to sterilize them. Let them dry on a clean dish cloth.
- Open the pot or pan and remove the pocket of seeds. Pour the sugar and stir until it dissolves in the fruit juice.
- Bring to a boil and cook without lid for about 35 minutes.
- Use a ladle to pour the hot marmalade in the jars. Fill the jars up to the bottom of their rim. Close immediately. As the jam cools down, the air inside the jar will retract and the lid will pop. Store the marmalade for up to one year in a kitchen cabinet (or a cellar if you have one). Refrigerate after opening.
* I actually modified the recipe a little bit. Gisèle uses 12 true lemons, 2 oranges, and 1 peeled grapefruit with 2 liters of water and 3 kg (12 cups) of sugar. Her recipe yields about 16 jars. Since Meyer lemons are sweeter than true lemons, the grapefruit wasn't really necessary in my case.