Every Christmas for more than the last decade I have made marmalade as a giveaway. a few years ago I started making special batches of intense jams that contained only the zest and juice of the oranges. This Christmas I managed to give away all of my orange marmalade with more people needing gifts. I decided to make a small batch of lemon marmalade to fill the gap. For some of my marmalades, I thought to add ginger to the oranges. This turned out to be quite popular. While I have made plain lemon marmalade, this time I decided to add ginger to the lemons.
Karl’s Micro Lemon Ginger Marmalade
8 cups fresh lemon juice (about 30 lemons)
¾ cup lemon zest
6 cups sugar
2 Tbs. fresh ginger, finely grated
1. Zest and juice the lemons.
Tip: These are minimalist instructions. If you want more detailed instructions on jam making, please go to my post on Karl’s Christmas Marmalade, where I have covered this topic step by step.
Note: I originally used the entire peel in making my marmalades. In the years past, I started using only the microplane zest—with just enough of the pith for the pectin it contained. This fine shread jam is much better for using in dressings, sauces, and glazes.
2. Put the fruit in 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: This heating and rest allows the bitter compounds in the rinds to break down into the complex flavor compounds that you associate with “real” orange and lemon 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.
Note: I have gradually reduce the water I add to may marmalades over the years. At this pint I have eliminated adding water at all. If you wish to “stretch” your batch to produce more you may add as much as much as one cup of water per cup of juice and zest, but it will not end up as intensely “lemon-y” as following this recipe.
5. Put the fruit mixture (about 8 cups) into a large pot and bring it 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 6 cups of sugar and stir until dissolved.
7. Add the grated ginger and cook the jam until it starts to jell.
Tip: This can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and fifteen 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 sterilized jars and seal the lids, not quite tight.
Tip: A wide mouth canning funnel is the cheapest and best purchase you can make if you do more than a few jars of jam. Nothing is worse that splashing scalding hot jam on your hand.
Note: 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 jars in a hot water bath and boil for ten minutes.
10. Remove and seal the lid tightly.