Are you ready? Because it’s time for Marmalade: Part Deux: The Easier Version!
Just a few days after my last marmalade endeavor, our neighbors gifted us with a big bag of lemons from their tree. We are so lucky to live in the area we do, because there are fruit trees everywhere. We don’t have any in our yard, but in the yards surrounding ours there are 6 different types of fruit growing: lemons, kiwis, pears, plums, apples and apricots! And that’s not even counting what we have access to via our friends and family. I have a feeling this bounty will be fueling my new-found obsession with canning for quite a while to come.
But anyway, back to the lemons. I had 20 lemons sitting on my counter for a week or so, staring at me.
Challenging me to find a marmalade recipe that would be fun to make.
It wasn’t long before I cracked and broke out my nemesis, the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. Last time it did me wrong, but this time I was determined to find a way for us to work together and maybe…possibly…even become friends. After carefully reading through a few recipes, I settled on one for lemon ginger marmalade that went so far as to use the word “easy” in it’s title. Happily, this time the authors were telling the truth. The recipe was pretty quick (for a marmalade recipe at least) and didn’t make me screw around with lots of unnecessary steps. Start to finish, the whole process took less than 2 hours!
I decided to get all my ingredients ready before I did any cooking. I didn’t know exactly how much ginger I needed to yield a cup after it was grated, so I just started peeling and hoped for the best. It turned out that I peeled too much to start. I ended up using two of the big chunks and two of the smaller ones you see pictured here.
I was going for easy, so I grated the ginger in the food processor. I liked how the blade looked with all the hairy fibers on it after I ran the ginger through, so I took a picture:
Here are my lemons. The pale yellow ones are from the neighbor’s tree, the orange-y one is a Meyer lemon that was close to going bad.
Next, I used a vegetable peeler to take the yellow zest off the lemons. Don’t be fooled by the knife in this picture! I used a peeler! it was much, much easier than a knife would be.
Once all the lemons were peeled, there were a few with too much white stuff on them still. I just scraped that off with a knife.
Then I sliced the peels into thin slivers. I made them as thin as I possibly could get them.
I forgot to take a picture of this next part, but the next step was to segment the lemons. First, I cut the white pith from lemons, exposing the juicy parts of the segments. Then, working over a large bowl to catch juice, I cut the lemon segments from the membrane. As I completed each lemon, I squeezed the membrane to remove as much juice as possible, collecting it in the bowl. Some of the lemon seeds went in the bowl when I did this, so I just fished those out and discarded them along with the membrane.
Then I started heating the jars and the lids. I didn’t take a picture of that either. If you don’t already know the basics of canning, you can read about how to prep the jars here.
OK, now it’s time to cook! Combine the lemon peel, 2 1/2 cups water and a half teaspoon of baking soda in a pan and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for five minutes. Turn off the heat. Measure out one cup of lemon segments and juice and add it to the pot along with one cup of grated ginger, and a 1.75 ounce box of pectin. I’m not positive, but I think the pectin is what makes this recipe easy. I will now express my feelings for pectin:
I love you very much! I will always be grateful to you because now that I’ve found you I don’t have to stand in front of the stove for two hours stirring a pot of molten sugar and citrus juice. You are my #1 most favorite gelling agent!
Stir the mixture until the pectin dissolves completely. Bring it to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.
Add the sugar all at once and bring the mixture to a boil again, stirring constantly the whole time. Once it reaches a full, rolling boil, let it cook for one more minute still stirring the heck out of it.
Now you’re ready to fill the jars. See the recipe down below for those instructions. I let mine sit over night and this is what it looked like in the morning when I held it up in front of the window.
I was worried that the color would be so-so, but it came out a beautiful yellow color with flecks of darker yellow peel and ginger suspended inside.
And here it is with a label on it:
This time I made the label look like a slice of lemon. I like it a lot and I think I’m going to be using this art for my marmalade labels going forward. I’ve made this template available for download (along with orange and lime labels) so you can use it too.
Here’s the full recipe. If you’re not familiar with canning, you should read up on the basics in order to make sure you’re doing it safely. The Ball canning site has great instructions. Don’t be scared though! So far, I’ve found the actual canning to be the easiest part of the whole marmalade making process.
Easy Lemon Ginger Marmalade
- 6 small lemons
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup coarsely grated gingerroot (about 12 oz.)
- 1 (1.75 ounce) package regular powdered fruit pectin
- 6 1/2 cups sugar
- Prepare canner, jars, and lids.
- Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest (the yellow part of the peel) from the lemons in strips. Cut strips into thin slices.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the white pith from lemons, exposing the juicy parts of the segments. Working over a large bowl to catch juice, cut the lemon segments from membrane. Place segments in bowl and squeeze membrane to remove as much juice as possible, collecting in bowl. Fish out any seeds that fell into the bowl and discard them along with the membrane.
- Peel and grate the ginger if you haven’t done so already.
- In a large deep stainless steel saucepan, combine lemon peel, baking soda, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently for 5 minutes until peel is softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Measure 1 cup lemon segments and juice. Add to the pan with the lemon peel along with the ginger. Whisk in pectin until dissolved.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Add sugar all at once and return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam.
- Ladle hot marmalade into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust head space if necessary by adding hot marmalade. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
- Place jars in canner, ensuring they are covered by at least an inch of water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove lid from the pot. Let the jars sit in the pot for 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool, decorate the jars so they’re super-cute and give them away to deserving friends and family members.