Lemon jam

We’ve got heaps of lemons:

Somewhere along the line I got the idea that it’d be a pretty good way of getting rid of them by making lemon jam. Or lemon marmalade. Or lemon jelly.

Turns out you only need like six lemons to make enough jam for a couple of months. So the long term goal of actually using those lemons is still a little way off. (I’ve started squeezing them into ice cube trays, but I’m dubious if we’ll need kilos of the stuff.) But the process of making the jam, which I now highly recommend, was a bit of fun, and the recipes I found for it were a little confusing in their variety. I just sort of interpolated on the easiest ones.

I think the fact I chose the easier recipes makes what I made lemon jam, rather than marmalade, which seems to be more complicated. Don’t even talk to me about glass jars; I just use a recycled plastic honey container.

First step in the process was to pick the lemons and wash them. And try and remember that boiling the things for an hour would kill all the germs from bird poo. Gross. So, I started off with about a kilogram of lemons:

The first time I made lemon jam, I peeled them and cut the rind into little pieces. This time, it was much easier just using a grater. I chucked this in a huge pot with about 1.4 litres of water.

Since the white stuff on the outsides ("pith") of these lemons was so thick, I didn’t want to use any of it in the jam. (Last time, I added a little and it became a little bitter; add to taste, I suppose.) After taking off all the peel, I realised that I’d lost fully half of the mass of my lemons. So I put in two more just for luck.

Since the lemons are boiled for ages, it didn’t matter that I cut them into fairly coarse pieces to add to the pot.

Then it’s just a matter of waiting. This time ‘round, I boiled the lemons for an hour with the lid on, then took the pot off the heat. (I’m wary of burning the sugar in the next step after an unfortunate housemate incident.) At this stage, the whole house smells like lemon. Yum. But not too good to eat. Now we need sugar. I added about 1.25 kilograms of it, stirring it in as I went.

Finally, I boiled the mixture and left it simmering for about another hour. Apparently I was supposed to be skimming off the foam, but I didn’t. You can tell it’s done when a little jam left on a spoon to cool sets to a jammy consistency.

So, 8 lemons down, 92 to go. To summarise:

  • Wash eight thick-skinned lemons
  • Grate the rind
  • Peel the lemons, discard most or all of the pith
  • Cut the flesh into pieces
  • Boil the rind and the lemon flesh for an hour in 1.4 litres of water, or thereabouts
  • Slowly dissolve in 1–1.5 kg of sugar
  • Boil for another hour
  • Yum!