This was my first attempt at making marmalade. I was very pleased with the result. I saw a friend in England recently and she was saying how easy it is if you have a sugar thermometer. ‘Just boil it to 105C’ and you have the perfect jam.
We have two large rough-skinned lemon trees [citrus jambhiri] in our garden. This is the oldest variety of lemon in South Africa. It originated in Northern India, though the first trees that came to South Africa came from St Helena. The lemons are large and not as sour as the smooth skinned supermarket lemons. I thought I would tackle them first. I looked at a number of recipes and took ideas from a few of them and made my own. I have not reied this with the smooth skinned Meyer Lemons one buys in Supermarkets.
What you’ll need
A large stainless-steel saucepan with lid.
A sugar thermometer
A wooden spoon for stirring
A little muslin bag tied up with string
10 medium lemons – weighing about a kilo
2.5 litres water
1 kg sugar
Place the saucepan over heat and bring the water to the boil. Set the oven at 180C.
Wash the lemons in a weak solution of white vinegar if you have bought them from a supermarket where they will have been sprayed with wax. Cut off a piece off the lemon where the stalk is. Try not to cut into the fruit. Place the lemons in the water and allow to boil for 2.5 hours. By then you should be able to stick a fork into the skin which will be quite soft. If you don’t take it to soft at the stage, the skins will be hard in the marmalade. Remove from the saucepan and allow the lemons to cool. Measure the liquid in the saucepan. Make it up to 1.5 litres with water if necessary or boil it down to 1.5 litres.
Chop or slice the lemons as fine or rough as you like the skin in the marmalade. Keep the pips and put them in a muslin bag tied up with string. Add any juice or flesh to the saucepan when you add the lemons. Heat the sugar in the oven on a baking tray at 180C for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile bring the liquid in the saucepan to the boil, with the sugar thermometer installed. Add the sugar and all the lemon parts, and the muslin bag and bring to the boil. Stir while the sugar is melting. Allow then to boil for 20 – 30 minutes until the temperature on the sugar thermometer reaches 105C. Stir occasionally. Leave to cool for 15 minutes, then stir briefly clockwise only to remove any air bubbles. Pour into sterilized jam bottles and seal immediately.
For me it made 7 jam jars.