One of Jan’s friends has a sweet lime tree. She gave Jan 6 limes from her current crop. I decided that a small batch of marmalade was the best way to preserve this bounty. I have learned over time that you can make marmalade out of any citrus fruit.
After Tasting Note: This fruit produced a very good marmalade. It did not taste exactly like lime or lemons, but it was really flavorful. It did not last long.
Karl’s Sweet Lime Micro Marmalade
6 sweet limes, juiced (about 1¼ cups)
¼ cup lime zest
½ cup sugar
Note: This recipe produces a bit more than a cup of jam.
1. Zest and juice the sweet limes.
2. Put the fruit and zest into a non-reactive pot and bring the juice mixture just to a boil.
3. As soon as the juice mixture comes to a full boil, remove it from the heat and cover the pot.
4. Set the pot aside and let it sit for at least 12 hours.
Tip: You may skip this step if you are in a hurry, but this heating and resting allows the bitter compounds in the rinds to break down into the complex flavor compounds that you associate with “real” citrus flavors. This resting period is one of the secrets to my jam’s intense, but smooth taste. Twelve hours is a minimum, but I have let the mix meld for as much as two days, with a second heating after 24 hours.
5. Bring the fruit mixture to a gentle boil.
Tip: You will have had some lost of the volume to evaporation from the heating and resting of the mixture.
6. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
7. Cook the jam until it starts to jell.
Tip: This can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes. How long it takes depends a lot on how close to a full boil you are cooking the mix. A low boil takes a bit longer, but a high boil must be constantly watched and stirred to prevent boil-over and scorching.
Note: Testing for jelling: 1) Take a teaspoon and scoop out about half a teaspoon of the jam. 2) Let it cool for two minutes and then pour it back into the pot. 3) If the mix pours in a single stream then it has not started to jell. 3) If the mix slides off of the spoon in a wide sheet it has started to jell.
8. Pour the marmalade into a sterilized jar and seal the lid, not quite tight.
Tip: You want the lids tight enough that the water does not leak into the jar, but loose enough that the heated air can escape. This is about an eight of a turn short of completely tight. The easiest way to do this is to tighten the lid completely and then unscrew the lid an eight of a turn.
9. Put the jar in a hot water bath and boil for ten minutes.’
10. Remove the jar and seal the lid tightly.