Meyer Lemon Marmalade

This marmalade is delicious, everyone here loves it, and the recipe is pretty straightforward. I’ve detailed as much of the method as I could, to make it easier for any of you who might try the recipe to be successful with it. Jam making is tricky; it really helps to do it a bunch of times; the more experience you have with it, the better jams you’ll make. If you are just starting out with jam making, use a candy thermometer! Once you have enough jam making experience, you can more easily judge when the jam is ready without one, but until then, use one.

Meyer Lemon Marmalade Recipe

  • Prep time: 1 hour
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Makes 6-8 half-pint (8-ounce) jars.

Note this recipe calls for Meyer lemons, a hybrid of a regular lemon and an orange, that is thinner skinned and sweeter than a regular lemon. You cannot substitute regular lemons for Meyer lemons in this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 lbs of Meyer lemons (about 9 lemons)
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 cups granulated sugar

Note that the proportion of lemon segments to water to sugar is 1:1:1. So if you don't have a kitchen scale and don't weigh your lemons to begin with, as you proceed through this recipe keep in mind these proportions. Your 2 1/2 lbs of lemons should yield 6 cups of chopped lemon. 6 cups of chopped lemon will be cooked first with 6 cups of water, and then later 6 cups of sugar are added. You can also do this recipe with 4 cups of chopped lemons, 4 cups of water, and 4 cups of sugar. Do not double the recipe. Do not reduce the sugar (if you want a reduced sugar recipe, use a different recipe); the sugar is needed for the jelly to set.

Equipment needed

  • 1 wide 6 or 8-quart pan (Stainless steel or copper with stainless steel lining, not aluminum which will leach)
  • A sharp chef's knife
  • A candy thermometer
  • 6 half-pint (8-oz) canning jars
  • Cheesecloth, enough to double over and form a bag to hold the seeds for making pectin, or a Muslin jelly bag

Method

Preparing the fruit

1 Scrub the lemons clean. Discard any that are moldy or damaged.

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2 Prepare the lemons. Cut 1/4 inch off from the ends of the lemons. Working one at a time, stand a lemon on end. Cut the lemon in half lengthwise. Cut each lemon half into several segments, lengthwise.

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As you cut the lemons into segments, if you can, pull off any exposed membranes. Just get the ones that are easy to get to, ignore the rest. When you've cut down to the final segment, cut away the pithy core. Remove all seeds from the segments. Reserve the seeds and any removed membrane or pith. You will need them to make pectin.

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Cut each lemon segment crosswise into even pieces to make little triangles of lemon peel and pulp.

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3 Put all of the seeds, membranes and pith you removed from the lemons into a bag fashioned out of two layers of cheesecloth or a muslin jelly bag.

 

First stage of cooking

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4 Place the lemon segments and water into a large, wide pot.

5 Place the pectin bag in the pot with the fruit pulp and secure to the pot handle.

6 Bring mixture to a strong boil on high heat. Let boil, uncovered, for about 25-35 minutes, until the peels are soft and cooked through. (If too much of the water evaporates from the boil and the peels start sticking to the bottom of the pan, add a little more water back in.) Test one of the lemon peel pieces by eating it. It should be soft. If it is still chewy, keep cooking until soft.

Remove from heat.

7 Remove the pectin bag, place the pectin bag in a bowl and let cool until it is comfortable to touch.

Add the pectin and sugar

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8 Once your pectin bag has cooled to the point you can handle it, if you want, squeeze it like play-doh to extract any extra pectin. This is not necessary but will help ensure a good set. (I like to wear latex-type gloves for this part.) You should be able to get a tablespoon or two more from the bag. It has the consistency of sour cream. Return this pectin to the pan with the lemon mixture.

9 Measure out your sugar and add it to the pan with the lemon mixture.

 

Second stage of cooking

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10 Heat the jelly mixture on medium high and bring it to a rapid boil, stirring occasionally, making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan. Secure a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. The marmalade may take anywhere from 20 to 35 minutes or so to be ready to pour out. After about 15 minutes, start checking it frequently.

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Too runny to be ready It's wrinkly, so it's ready

11 There are two ways to test that the marmalade is ready to pour out into jars - the mixture reaching a temperature of 119-220°F (7-8°F above the boiling point at your altitude) and a bit of it put on a chilled plate "wrinkling up" when you push it with your finger tip. I do both.

For the wrinkle test, put several small plates into the freezer. As the jelly temperature reaches 217°F, start testing it by placing a small amount of the hot jelly on a chilled plate. If the jelly spreads out and thins immediately, it isn't ready. If it holds its shape a bit, like an egg yolk, that's a good sign. Push up against it with your finger tip. If the jelly sample wrinkles at all, it is time to take the jelly off the heat and pour it out into jars.

When you use a candy thermometer to test the temperature of your mixture, make sure the probe is NOT touching the bottom of the pan. Make sure that the indentation on the probe (with modern candy thermometers this is about an inch and a half from the bottom of the probe) is actually surrounded by the mixture. This may mean that you have to tilt the pan to one side, to cover the probe sufficiently to get a good reading.

 

Canning

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12 While the marmalade is in its second cooking stage, rinse out your canning jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, in a 200°F oven. They should be in the oven at least 10 minutes before using them.

13 As the time approaches for the marmalade to be done, boil some water in a tea pot. Put the jar lids in a glass or ceramic bowl and pour the boiling water over them to sterilize.

14 Once the jelly has reached 220°F or its "wrinkly" stage, remove the jelly pot from the heat. Carefully ladle the jelly into the jars, one at a time, leaving 1/4 inch head space at the top of the jars for a vacuum seal. Wipe the rim clean with a clean, wet paper towel. Place the lid on the jar, securing with a jar ring. Work quickly.

15 Allow the jars to sit overnight. You will hear them make a popping sound as a vacuum seal is created.

Even if the jelly is not firm as it goes into the jar (it shouldn't be), it should firm up as it cools.

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63 Comments

  1. Garrett

    I loved the batch you made with the vanilla bean! Delicious!!!

  2. Laura Marschke

    Should Meyer lemons be available in regular grocery stores or are they in specialty stores? I don’t believe I’ve ever seen them! I won’t be making these preserves but I’d like to try some of the other recipies!

  3. jonathan

    Gitchie, gitchie, ya ya da da
    Gitchie, gitchie, ya ya here
    Mocha Choca latta ya ya
    Meyer Lemon Mar-ma-laaaaaaaade!

    I need to get more sleep. A lot more.

  4. Eileen Cronin

    Why not just add pectin from a box?

    No point in adding pectin from a box given that there is so much natural pectin in the lemons. BTW, did you know that the pectin we buy from the store is actually derived from Argentinean limes? One of the magical things about jam making with fruit such as lemons, oranges, or even green apples is that you don’t actually need anything other than the fruit, sugar, and water. ~Elise

  5. Jessica

    That looks really yummy. I absolutely love meyer lemons!

  6. andrew

    This made some unbelievably good marmalade – real sour and sweet with the bitterness from the peels. Pay attention to the line about making sure the peel pieces are nice and soft…I cheated, figuring they would get a little softer during the second stage, and they went back to chewy…oh well, an excuse for a second batch :)

  7. amateuse

    I am ready to try this recipe!- but can one substitute turbinado sugar for granulated white sugar?

    I have never tried making jam with anything other than standard white granulated sugar. If jam making with turbinado works for you, then great, it should work with this recipe as well. ~Elise

  8. anke

    Thanks for the great recipe!
    I did this for the first time ever, and it worked just beautifully! I was real skeptical about not using any store-bought pectin, but now I have a batch of perfectly set, yummy marmalade waiting for our breakfast.

  9. jen

    If I incorporate fresh strawberries into the recipe should I also increase the amount of pectin, water and sugar?

    Hi Jen, there is no added pectin in this recipe as is. I have no idea if you would need some if you added strawberries to it. Don’t think so, but you’ll have to try it to find out. ~Elise

  10. EJ

    Why not regular lemons in this recipe? Flavor, consistency, other qualities?

    Regular lemons are very sour and their peels bitter. Meyer lemons are a cross of regular lemons and oranges, so are a bit less sour and their peels taste better. ~Elise

  11. Pearl

    I’m lucky enough to have a very generous neighbor with a meyer lemon tree. I picked a batch this morning and made my first batch of marmalade. It is very bitter, but I really do like it. I found that cutting the very ripe lemons was a bit tough, the peels were very hard, so I used some that were’nt too over-ripe. Unfortunately, it forced me to add some boxed pectin after all. But I finally got it right.
    Wonderful recipe, and so very glad that you posted it. Many thanks. I made a large batch for Christmas gifts. I’m sure they will be just as pleased as I am. Next time I try it, I’ll make sure I get a better knife first!

  12. Tanya

    Oh I can hear the jars pop – this is so exciting! We have four lemon trees in the back yard. Two of one variety and two of another, though I am unsure what these varieties are. The fruit from all of them are huge and slightly sweet for lemons, but the skin is very thick, unlike the Meyer. So I only put the flesh and a little zest in the finished product.
    Preliminary taste tests have a huge thumbs up. I have licked my tester plates clean – this is really lovely marmalade! Thank you so much… this time of year comes around and we have so many lemons I don’t know what to do with them. Before I came across your recipe, I hadn’t even thought of marmalade…. Many many many thanks!

  13. Holly

    This recipe sounds wonderful. I thought when you canned things you had to boil the jars in a big pot and pull them out w/tongs…is this a different method w/the oven? Thanks.

    Hi Holly. There are different ways to sterilize jars before using them for canning. Heating them in the oven is one way to do it, boiling in water, another. ~Elise

  14. Connie

    I just finished making a lovely batch. One question, though: how long should I let the test sit on the chilled plate before trying to “wrinkle” it? If it doesn’t wrinkle immediately, but will after 15 seconds or so, is it ready? Guess I’ll see how well it sets up in the jars.

    Yes, if it wrinkles after 15 seconds, it’s ready. ~Elise

  15. Debbie

    I live in Houston and have a Meyer Lemon tree in my backyard. This year it was quite productive, so in a quest for recipes that would help me use my harvest, I stumbled across yours. It’s *so* tasty! and I’ve never even really liked marmalade. I gave it as gifts and they have been universally appreciated. Thank you for all the pictures – very helpful.

  16. devlyn

    I made this recipe by the book tonight and somehow ended up with 1qt, 1 pint, 4 1/2 pints and one 1/8 pint. I had to add all the other sizes because there was so much left over. Mine jellled beautifully and tastes fantastic, though, so I’m not sure what could have happened. Thanks for the fantastic recipe, as always! ^_^

  17. Tracy

    Hi, Thanks for the recipe. Mine turned out great and I yielded 10 half pint jars. I also added a large vanilla bean and I think it tastes great. I canned them and they all pinged. Does this mean that they are preserved for a year? Even without doing a water bath? I know the sugar and high acid content is very preserving. I’ll do the water bath if I need to but I wasn’t sure if that was even necessary. Please advise. THANKS!
    Tracy

    You don’t need to do a water bath. The sugar and the acidity from the lemons is sufficient. ~Elise

  18. Peggy in Arizona

    Wonderful! I’m not generally a marmalade fan…too tart for me. But with Meyer lemons, it is not tart at all. I’ve given some to friends who are beatting down my door for more. I have a miniature Meyer Lemon tree in a very large pot on the patio and have been looking all over for things to do with the fruit. Afer finding this recipe, I had enough lemons left for 2 batches. I can’t wait for next January! I also really like the method of heating the jars on the oven instead of boiling. Thanks for the new trick.

  19. Raquel

    I have loved and had an obsession with the flavor of Meyer Lemons for quite awhile. A couple of years ago some friends gave me a jar of homemade Meyer lemon marmalade and I was in Love. I have access to my Uncle Gilbert’s Meyer Lemon treee, so I though why not give it a try. So I found your recipe. My first attempt at this recipe I could not find my thermometer, but I used the freezer test, but it still came out too gooey. I found my thermometer and tried my second attempt which was slightly thin, but had a wonderful flavor. My third attempt was a charm, and tomorrow I will try batch #4. And I too will pass it on as a Gift.I might even try the vanilla bean addition.

  20. Erin

    I can’t wait to try this recipe–have 6 weddings to go to this summer and am working on a basket of home-made goodies as presents–I think this will be a wonderful addition.

    In the past when I have made ollaliberry jam, I have boiled the filled jars to preserve them–does letting them sit overnight achieve the same effect?
    thanks

    Boiling the jars after filling them, or giving them a “water bath”, is often done as a last step in preserving. In this case, the acidity from the lemons along with the sugar in the jam, sterilizing the jars, and cooking the jam is enough. ~Elise

  21. John Collignon

    I only had 13 meyer lemons from my first crop last year (2008), and I wanted the best recipe. I picked this one, and it came out perfect! The only problem I had was not enough lemons. I just came in from counting the lemons I have for this years (2009) crop, and it looks like I will have 50 – 60 lemons to process. Thanks for posting this super recipe.

  22. Kate G

    This is a terrific recipe. Natural pectin…who knew?
    I made my first batch last night and have a second planned for tonight, this time with a little candied ginger added to the mix.

    Thank you, Elise!

  23. Gwen S.

    Could someone let me know what they mean when they added the vanilla bean. When where and how did they add it? I have a “million” meyer lemons on my tree right now and want to give this recipe a try – thinking gifts for Christmas. I planted this tree several years ago and it is producing wonderfully – I love the sweeter taste of meyers and I almost never see them in the stores.

  24. Helen Michael

    Hi Elise and everyone else,

    I love making jams and jellies- my boyfriend is bewildered to see me constantly begging jars from colleagues and then holed up in the kitchen late in the evening stirring, straining, sniffing…

    I have never heard of Meyer Lemons- they sound amazing. I live in the UK- maybe they just aren’t available here. I may try to substitute 1/2- 2/3 oranges and the rest regular lemons- or grapefruit perhaps. Too nice not to try…

    Helen

  25. George

    An astonishingly good recipe. My wife–who HATES marmalade–loves the results. I know it tastes good because I have a custard cup of the remainder in the fridge chilling…and it is set and tastes amazing. Just a hint of bitter combined with lemon tang/sweetness.

    This was my first time making ANY jam/jelly and it went like a charm…waiting on the jars to pop right now.

  26. Laura

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! I’m planning on making my first batch tonight. I’ve noticed that other recipes call for letting the pectin and lemons soak 24 hours before boiling — but your recipe seems to be much quicker. About how long does it take altogether, do you think?

    I usually plan for a couple of hours start to finish, when I do a batch. ~Elise

  27. Laura

    Hi Elise — I made a batch yesterday and it turned out great! Thanks so much!

    I do have a question, though — is there a reason you say we shouldn’t double this recipe? I’m new to this process, so I don’t necessarily understand all the nuanced chemistry that goes on with the marmalade, but I have SO many lemons I’d like to make more at one time, if possible.

    Thanks again!

    Hi Laura, this recipe is designed for a certain amount of surface area in the pan in relation to the volume of marmalade. You can double the recipe, if you use two pans, but I don’t recommend it unless you are cooking with someone else. When the marmalade is ready, it needs to be processed very quickly. If you double the recipe and stick to one pan, the mixture will take longer to boil down, and the longer the cooking time, the more chances that the mixture will overcook, and the flavors won’t be as fresh. ~Elise

  28. Brooke

    Love it. I was worried about the quantity of sugar when it was premeasured, but it worked perfectly. I’m thinking this would be perfect with the addition of jalapeno, but haven’t ever been that adventurous with jams/jellies. Any thoughts you might have would be much appreciated as it sounds as though you are quite the expert! (And I have plenty of lemons to experiment with.) Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    Oh, I think for my taste I would rather add a vanilla bean than jalapeno with this recipe. But if you try a spicy version, please let us know in the comments how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  29. Valli Nagy

    A fantastic recipe. Thanks for going to the extra trouble to post photos– they make the process very easy to follow. I hadn’t made preserves since I was a child and had forgotten all the crucial details. I live in Southern California and get hundreds of Meyer lemons off my tree every year. This is a great alternative to the endless lemonade I make during the summer.

  30. Becky

    I just made the lemon marmalade today and it was delicious! I used five meyer lemons and four regular lemons (that were gifted to me from a friend with a lemon tree). For the regular lemons I cut almost all of the peel off just leaving a little white. It still turned out delicious. Perhaps a bit tarter than if meyer lemons had been used but still tasty. Thanks for such a great tutorial!

  31. AJP

    Looking forward to trying this out. Do you think pint sized jars would work just as well for canning? My boyfriend accidentally got pint jars instead of half pint and I would rather not have to return to the store to exchange them.

    Sure! I use pint jars all the time. You’ll just need fewer. ~Elise

  32. Katie Rose

    I LOVE this recipe, it’s delicious. I’ve made it plain, with vanilla bean, and now with strawberries. It worked for me just adding 3 cups of frozen strawberries in at the second cooking stage (when you add the sugar). I had to cook it about 10 minutes longer, but it definitely set, and it’s amazing. Thanks for the fantastic directions, pictures, and comments. :)

  33. Deborah Harris

    I made this marmalade today as I have a super prosperous myer lemon tree. Wow..I can’t beleive how good it is. I had never canned without using boxed Pectin, and was pleasantely surprised how well the “other way” worked. I read comments about people using a vanilla bean, and would like to know the best way to incorperate it the cooking.
    Thank you, Deborah Harris

  34. Trish

    Deborah,

    I too have used a vanilla bean in this recipe (I have made it twice now, it is THAT good!). I find the best way to do this (although I am not a pro) is to scrape the seeds out of the split bean with a paring knife and then rub them with your fingertips into 1/4 cup of the sugar (I still used 6 cups of sugar, total). This helps ensure that they get evenly distributed and avoids “clumps” of seeds. I also threw the rest of the vanilla bean in the pot for good measure, at step #9 (when you add the sugar). You then fish this out before you pour the marmalade into your jars. I always rinse used vanilla beans, let them dry for a day or so, and pack them in sugar. This not only makes your sugar smell amazing, but it preserves the beans for future use in infusing other things. Hope this helps! The vanilla bean really makes this marmalade spectacular!

  35. Trish

    So I have a question for you, Ms. Elise:

    I have made this marmalade twice now (SO delicious!!!!), and both times I have experienced something a little odd. I have canned jams before, but always with the hot water bath method. However, after sealing these little beauties off, I heard the requisite “popping” sound during the hours when they were cooling. That is normal. However, for days thereafter, I would hear a popping noise coming from the jars. It scared me to death at first (I almost hit the deck, not knowing what it was!), but then I realized that it was coming from the cans. This is a new thing for me, as all my other jams and jellies have been tightly sealed. I was just wondering if this is normal, or if it means that my jars are not sealed properly and therefore need to be refrigerated. Am I alone in this experience? Thank you so much for your endless inspiration, and for this recipe in particular, which has been a very sunny spot in my life and the lives of my friends lucky and well-loved enough to get a jar!

    Regarding the noise you are hearing, have you checked the seal on the jars? Is it that some of them are becoming “undone”? Sometimes if I let the temperature of the jelly cool too much in the pan, it’s not hot enough to generate a good seal. For this it helps to do a hot water bath. Here’s the thing with this marmalade – it is highly acidic, and it has a lot of sugar in it. This means harmful-to-humans bacteria can’t live in it. The only threat of spoilage is mold. For generations, people canned marmalades with parafin wax as a sealer (no water boiling, no vacuum lids). So if it were me, and I didn’t have a good seal on a marmalade, I would change the lid (to a sterilized one) and just pop the jar into a water bath for 5 minutes. That said, the official health advisors will say to keep a jar whose lid hasn’t sealed in the fridge. ~Elise

  36. Frank Dearwester

    I just used your recipe and have a nice blister on my right thumb to show for it! That’s a lot of work dicing lemons. Lots of little cuts on my fingers that I didn’t know about too, haha!

    I broke three of your rules; two right off the bat. I didn’t have Meyer lemons, but the lemons that our tree produces are very sweet; more so than the standard lemons. Unfortunately, they were picked too early for their summit of sweet, so they were more like standard lemons in tart/bitterness. The second rule that I broke was “Do not double the recipe.” I tripled it because of the sheer volume of lemons that the kids brought in.

    From there, I followed the directions until the taste test (where I promptly added another 6 cups of sugar). I got the batch up to 220 degrees F and did the chilled-plate-wrinkle-test a few times as well. I loaded seven 30oz jars and eight 8oz jars, wiped, sealed and let them sit overnight.

    This morning, I see that all eight of the smaller jars have set perfectly, but the 30oz jars don’t seem to have set at all. I can’t explain this, but have been reading around about rescuing unset batches.

    The consensus seems to be that it can take up to a week to set. The batch in the large jars is just way too liquid(y). I can’t fathom it ever setting properly on its own.

    The consensus also seems to be that you can’t harm marmalade by reheating it. So, that’s what I will be doing today (the 30oz jar portion (220oz) anyway) and will add pectin to ensure that it sets, then re-jar.

    I’ll post again to let everyone know how it went and how it tastes. Thank you for this recipe.

  37. John Schooler

    I have a big batch of Meyer lemons sitting on my counter right now and I’m looking forward to the marmalade. I have too many for one batch, so I think I’m going to try adding fresh grated ginger to the second batch. Doesn’t that sound like a heavenly combination? Thanks in advance for the recipe. I also have a big bag of tangerines and two boxes of clementines as well. It is good to live in Florida! I love the fruit like these that has a thin skin and not too much “pulp” unlike regular lemons, oranges and grapefruit that require peeling and sectioning to make a decent marmalade!!

  38. Marc

    I’ve been making this marmalade for a couple years and find the instructions to be incredibly helpful. So far, thanks to a new source of Meyer lemons (not free, alas, but a good price), I’ve made two batches already this season.

    Here are a few things I have learned in recent batches:

    Rosemary infusion: In my last two batches I’ve taken a cue from the legendary Berkeley preserves maker June Taylor and infused the marmalade with rosemary. Sticking a sprig of fresh rosemary into the pot of cooking marmalade is one method for infusion, but can leave behind needles. So here’s what works for me: strip rosemary needles from a sprig or two, then chop them fine and put into a jelly or spice bag. A few minutes before the batch is ready, put the bag into the cooking marmalade and stir the marmalade towards and around the bag of rosemary so that it can infuse the marmalade. I like to infuse only part of the batch with rosemary, so I scoop a portion of the cooking marmalade into another pot before I add the rosemary bag and let it finish without additional flavoring.

    Pectin extraction: The things sold as “spice bags” in kitchenware stores work pretty well as a pectin bag. Since they are small, I use two. In my last batch, I had decent success using a Mexican-style lemon press to push pectin out of the bag. The pectin would go out of the juice holes and also around the edge of the juicer. Working it by hand was still necessary, but it made it a bit easier.

    Jar processing: Also, to be extra certain of a safe preserve, I process my jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

  39. Mia

    Your recipe calls for a stainless steel pot any chance I can make this in a ceramic dutch oven? I can not wait to make this!

    I haven’t attempted jelly or jam making in a Dutch oven. Generally you want a pot that you can quickly moderate the temperature, and a ceramic coated cast iron will not let you do that. That said, you also want a pot that has even heating all around, and a Dutch oven would work great for that. ~Elise

  40. ashley

    I was so excited to try this recipe. We have a Meyer Lemon bush in our back yard. i just finished a batch of the marmalade and I cant wait till tomorrow to try it. I have one question though (this is my first time
    :)…) Is it normal to see the peel at the end while jarring? I used the thermometer and did the plate test and they both checked out. Thanks!

    Yes, you should see plenty of peel. ~Elise

  41. ashley

    I made the marmalade…wooohoo. It taste really good but the peels are hard. I let them sit two days. What did I do wrong?

    Sometimes that happens to me if 1) the peels aren’t cooked enough in the first cooking stage, and 2) the peels cook too long in the second stage. ~Elise

  42. Curtis

    Elise,

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe. My aunt just sent a large box of lemons from her tree, and they are so delicious that our two 10 month old twin boys enjoy eating slices.

    Unfortunately, I overcooked the marmalade, and I was wondering if you could tell me where I went wrong. Here are some specifics about how I made it.
    – When I squeezed out the pectin, I got 3 tbl.
    – When I cooked it, I used my large pot, so the liquid was not that deep
    – After adding the pectin and sugar, I brought it to a rolling boil and kept it at high heat
    – I stirred it
    – I put the candy thermometer in when I was cooking it, but it never really reached 220. I was careful not to let the tip of the thermometer touch the bottom.
    – Eventually, the marmalade started to turn brown (temp still around 210)

    So, here were the things I was wondering:
    – Did I use too much pectin?
    – Can I use a smaller pot so that the liquid is deeper?
    – Should I have reduced the temp?
    – Is it bad to stir?

    Sorry for taking up so much room and thanks for your help. I am really excited to capture the bright flavor of these lemons. – Curtis

    Sounds to me as if your thermometer was funky. I have the hardest time getting a good read with a thermometer. With a shallow pan, if you use a thermometer, you probably need to tip the pan to one side so that more of the jelly surrounds the thermometer, when you want to take the temp. Thermometer reads can be so inconsistent, usually I just keep looking at it and testing it with a cold plate. The minute there is the slightest wrinkle, I turn off the heat. 3 Tbsp of pectin probably is a bit much. A Tbsp would do fine. There is plenty of pectin in the lemon peels, squeezing out more pectin is just to help ensure a good set. ~Elise

  43. Diane T.

    Had a glut of home-grown tangelos (orange x tangerine?) from the Anza-Borrego desert here in SoCal, and used this recipe with marvelous results, although not without surprises along the way. Had 7 cups of fruit, so kept your ratio of 1:1:1, but like Curtis, never could get that temp up to 220 (max 212- I live at 1600 ft. elev.). Used Revereware stainless w/copper bottom soup pot; wish I could enclose the photo I took…ended up practically burning the batch, but resulted in a caramely note with a texture like honey (very sticky!). Used 4 oz jars for maximum distribution among family & clients. Many thanks for all the photos! I could not have done this without your attention to detail.
    -a regular reader

    Oh my, I would really go with the wrinkle test then and skip trying to get it to 220. ~Elise

  44. Elise

    Everyone, I’ve been making a lot of marmalade this season and I’m finding that my marmalade is setting up great, even at temperatures as low as 217-218°F. So I’ve lowered the target temps for the marmalade on the recipe. You really do not want the marmalade to caramelize. If it is turning brown and caramelizing, something is going wrong. Perhaps your thermometer is faulty, or perhaps the probe part of the thermometer (sometimes an inch or two above the tip) is not being submerged enough in the jelly. I do find that the wrinkle test works. If I put a bit of the hot mixture on a chilled (as in freezer chilled) plate, wait a few seconds, and then push the mixture with my finger tip, and if it wrinkles even in the slightest, it’s time to turn off the heat under the marmalade mixture.

  45. Diane T.

    Thanks for your response, Elise. I’ll stick with the low tech but tried and true wrinkle test.

  46. Bukay Haines

    i want to thank you for putting this online. your directions are right on target and user friendly, I am just finishing up my first batch. WONDERFUL! :) Thanks again.

  47. Kate

    This is a fantastic recipe. So easy and I really loved the pectin bag, so old world. I never use pectin in my berry and apricot jam making so I loved that you made your own right from the lemons. I feel a little wary of the canning method as I have always used a water bath before and wonder how long they hold up this way? Good for a year? A great recipe for Santa Cruz where Meyer lemons are everywhere. Your directions are great. Thanks for posting.

    There is enough sugar and acid in the lemon marmalade that it will kill any bacteria that try to get established. The only thing you have to worry about is mold. If your jars are sterilized, and your marmalade mixture is hot enough, you will get a good seal and you shouldn’t have any trouble with mold. That said, a water bath will help getting a good seal. The marmalade will be fine for years, though I think best if eaten in the first year after making. After a year the flavor tends to get really intense, and the marmalade starts to darken in color. ~Elise

  48. Angie Martin

    I loved the marmalade first time I ever made it. The only problem I had that when I spoon it out it is a bit grainy. Can you tell me if it’s ok? I am going to sell it at a bazaar. I love your recipes. I make a pepper plum jam and this year I decided on the lemon. Please let me know. I still have time to make another batch. Thank you.

    Hello Angie, if the batch you made is grainy, it sounds like you probably won’t want to sell it or you will risk disappointing your customers. Sounds to me like the sugar recrystalized a bit. Happens sometimes. You must make sure that all of the sugar crystals have dissolved into the jam, including any that might be lingering on the side of the pot. ~Elise

  49. Angie Martin

    thank you for your quick respond i am going to give it another tried
    i had a friend tested and he loved it bough two jars
    thank you angie

  50. Pamela

    I made a version with cranberries – I started with 2 cups lemon and 2 cups water, prepared the recipe to the point of adding the sugar, then added 2.5 cups sugar, about 1/2 cup more water, and 1.5 cups cranberries. I skipped the pectin bag because cranberries have plenty of pectin and I didn’t want it to set up like concrete. Cooked until it set nicely, and it’s delicious and a gorgeous color.

  51. Karen Poore

    Okay, I have 35 Improved Meyer Lemons and I am going to try making this. I have never made jam before so I am a bit nervous.
    Wish me luck!
    Karen in Austin

  52. Karen Poore

    Next day now. Jars have been setting for about 15 hours. I was a little worried last night because I did not hear any popping (eight jars) and I thought this morning they may have popped over night. I, also, wondered if I filled the jars high enough.
    I just opened one jar and the lid seems to be on tight. I did not try to open the lid.
    I will post again when I actually open a jar.
    Karen in Austin

  53. Karen Poore

    3rd report and questions:
    I opened one jar and lid appeared sealed because it took a little effort to pop it off.
    We had some on a toasted English Muffin with butter and organic goat cheese. Marmalade is strong and I ate some of the peel straight and it appeared a little chewy, but on the bread it was fine. You only need a little since it is so strong.
    Questions:
    1. What is the shelf life in sealed jars?
    2. I am trying to think of uses and I was wondering what everyone else has used it for?
    Thanks,
    Karen in Austin

    The marmalade will last for years, sealed, but the flavor and quality is best if eaten within one year. As for uses beyond jam on toast, some people make a sauce for chicken with marmalade (add chicken stock and poultry seasonings), and some add it to vinaigrette for salad dressing. ~Elise

  54. Karen Poore

    Thank you Elise!
    I will be sharing my jars for Thanksgiving so I will have to make more.
    Happy Thanksgiving,
    Karen in Austin

  55. Allison

    This was my first time canning. I had a large quantity of organic meyer lemons from my garden and was so excited to see your recipe and detailed instructions. Everything went well although my second stage of cooking time went very quickly….got to 220 in less than 5 minutes. I let it cook at that temp. for a few more minutes at which point it seemed to pass the wrinkle test too, but it’s now a day later and the marmalade in my jars looks pretty runny. Should I take them out and cook them down for awhile longer or will they still continue to set?

    Normally I would say let them sit for 2 weeks, they should continue to set up. But the “5 minutes” has me wondering if perhaps your thermometer isn’t calibrated properly. Have you put tested the thermometer in boiling water to see if it displays 212°F? The wrinkle test is a good one though, and if it passed the wrinkle test, it should set up. ~Elise

  56. Allison

    Thank you Elise. I tested my candy thermometer and it’s working fine. The jars look more gelled today and I opened one to test and taste it and it’s delicious!!! I’m planning to make a second batch today…great stocking stuffers!
    I did read some canning advice that suggested that ripe fruit has less pectin than under ripe ones. Has that been your experience?

    That has been my experience for green apples. But for lemons and oranges? There’s so much pectin just in the peels, I’ve never had an issue with them not setting, even when using late in the season fruit. ~Elise

  57. Mary Anne

    Is there any way to rescue overcooked marmalade? Mine slightly carmelized and is too thick, though the taste is still yummy. After reading other comments, I think it happened because the thermometer wasn’t accurate.
    Can I add water, reheat, and try canning again? Other methods, please?

    No, use it as a glaze for pork or chicken, or as a filling for thumbprint cookies. ~Elise

  58. Thea

    I’ve been making jams and jellies for years but this was my first time making marmalade…it came out perfect! Thank you for the detailed instructions and the photos. I just ordered sevilles online and as soon as they arrive I will try your seville orange marmalade recipe next!

  59. sheila

    i just finished my first batch…..it turned out beautiful…….i plan to do one more batch……….great recipe and i highly recomend it……easy….easy…..it’s a keeper…….

  60. mary

    Elise, I’m working this week on two marmalades, kumquat (permission to pick a a few neighborhood trees) and meyer lemon (nine trees of my own, lucky me!). When I do jams I do a low sugar with sur-jel in the pink box. Since I won’t be using store bought pectin can I still reduce the sugar in this version or would you advise against it? BTW, the Carmichael kumquats are gorgeous this year….hoping you’ll find more ways for us to use them-I’m sitting on about 15lbs and picking more tomorrow! Want some?

    Hi Mary, this marmalade recipe is already pretty low sugar as far as marmalades go. Most have much more. You do need sweetness to balance the tartness from the lemons. An early batch I made had even less sugar and a friend said it was so strong it could strip the enamel right off your teeth. I would say stick with the sugar amounts in this recipe for one batch and see if you like it. And thank you for the offer for kumquats! I’ve got my hands full with things to process at the moment, or I’d take you up on that one. ~Elise

  61. mary

    Elise, just wanted to give you a quick update to my earlier post about the marmalade. I did not make the meyer marmalade yet as I am still processing the above mentioned kajillion pounds of kumquats-i did, however make a fab kumquat marmalade with instructions very similar to the meyer lemon recipe you offer. These are two of my most favorite citrus so I thought, why not put them together? I made one batch of kumquat marm-3lbs kumquats (flesh and seeds in a cheesecloth bag), 6 cups water and about 2 1/2 to 3 cups sugar. It was good but very, very sweet….in the second batch I added the juice and zest of 4 small meyer lemons. This batch netted the perfect combination of tart and sweet with floral tones that are beyond compare. It tastes very pink to me…it is like Kumquat married Meyer Lemon and they made beautiful babies. Fabulous!!!! I can’t wait to smear this on a stinky cheese bruschetta! Next up-kumquat mimosa marmalade. Thanks for all the inspiration!

  62. Judith

    Dear Elise,
    I have been making and teaching the great art of preserving for over 50 years. I like to browse the cooking sites periodically to see what other folk are cooking and hence I came across your site. I enjoyed the comments from your followers. Your recipe looks very good and I thought I would give some suggestions for adding other flavours which I use on a regular basis. I use cinnamon sticks – cloves – cardamon pods – fresh ginger or candied ginger – allspice berries – Juniper berries – Lemon thyme – grated carrots are a popular additive here in Australia and look very pretty – melon – Zucchini just some of the many ways to add interest and especially lovely for including in gift baskets. I also like to make lemon marmalade as a clear jelly without any peel but I still flavour it with herbs or spices. I use this with many cold meats or cheeses as a relish and it is especially good with rich fatty meats such as pork, duck or goose and it is lovely to serve with fish depending on which herb is added to the jelly. Thank you for your site.
    Judith

    • Elise

      Hi Judith,
      Thank you so much for your thoughtful suggestions! I love the versatility of lemon, it works with so many other flavors.

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