I created this recipe by combining a few different recipes, but the main inspiration came from Liana Krissoff and Rachel Saunders. The pectin in this recipe comes from the lemons, which are blanched once to remove some of the bitterness, and then soaked to leach the pectin out of the rinds. You will need to use the cold plate test to determine when the marmalade is finished cooking - I have included instructions on how to do this below. This spread makes a nice change from the usual citrus-only marmalades. It is an old fashioned recipe which takes at least 2 days, due to the soaking. It is not quick, but I feel that the outcome is worth the time spent.
- Day 1, Morning: Take the 1/2 pound of lemons and cut them into eighths. Place these in a non-reactive saucepan where they will fit snugly in a single layer. Add enough cold water for the fruit to bob freely. Cover tightly and let rest for 8 hours at room temperature.
- Day 1, Afternoon: After 8 hours have passed, bring the pan with the lemon eighths and water to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium-low. Cook the fruit at a lively simmer, covered, for 2 hours - the lemons will become very soft and the liquid will become slightly syrupy. As the lemons cook, press down on them gently with a spoon every 30 minutes or so, adding a little more water if necessary. The water level should remain consistently high enough for the fruit to remain fully submerged as it cooks.
- When the lemons are finished cooking, strain their juice by pouring the hot fruit and liquid into a fine mesh strainer or jelly bag set over a medium bowl. Cover the whole setup with plastic wrap and let drip overnight at room temperature.
- Meanwhile, prepare the Meyer lemon slices.
- To prepare the Meyer lemon slices: take the pound of Meyer lemons and halve them lengthwise, then cut each half into quarters (each lemon will be cut into 8 pieces at this point). Take each lemon slice and pry out any seeds from it. You can place these seeds in the pot with the lemon eighths and water which is currently simmering - this will add more pectin.
- Slice each Meyer lemon slice thinly crosswise - how thick you slice is a personal preference. I prefer to slice very thinly, making each slice 1/8th of an inch or less. But if you like you could make your slices thicker. I wouldn't recommend going much thicker than 1/4 of an inch.
- Place these Meyer lemon slices (they will look like a lot of little triangles) in a stainless steel pot and cover with water, covering the slices by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain, discarding the liquid. Return the lemon slices to the pot and cover with 1 inch of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, decrease the heat to medium-low, and cook at a lively simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. As the fruit cooks, stir it gently every 10 minutes or so, adding a little more water if necessary. The water level should stay consistently high enough for the fruit to remain submerged as it cooks. After 20 minutes, remove the pan from the heat, cover tightly, and let rest overnight at room temperature.
- Day 2, Morning: Remove the plastic wrap from the lemon eighths and their liquid and discard the lemons remaining in the strainer or jelly bag. Do not squeeze the bag or press down on the lemons if you want a clear jelly in your marmalade. Set this liquid aside.
- Pour the Meyer lemon slices and their liquid through a fine mesh strainer (or a jelly bag), and let this mixture drip for about 15 minutes. Remove the Meyer lemon slices from the strainer - DO NOT DISCARD - set them aside. Mix the cooked liquid you have strained from the lemon eighths and the Meyer lemons, mixing well, and set aside. You will need 4 1/2 cups of this liquid. If you do not have 4 1/2 cups, add water to the mixture until it equals 4 1/2 cups.
- In a large preserving pan, combine the blueberries with 1 1/2 cups of sugar. I use a potato masher to mash up some of the blueberries, about a third of them, but you don't have to do this. I just feel that it gets the juices flowing quicker. Bring the blueberries and sugar to a simmer, stirring frequently, and then continue to cook until the juices are just deep enough to cover the berries, about 5 minutes.
- Pour the berries into a colander set over a large bowl, and stir the berries gently to drain off the juice. Set the colander of berries on a plate (to catch any remaining juice) and set them aside.
- In a large preserving pan, combine the 4 1/2 cups of mixed liquid from the lemons, the juice from the blueberries, and the Meyer lemon slices. If you do not have a preserving pan, use the widest pan you have. The wider the pan, the more quickly moisture will evaporate from the mixture, and this is what you want when you are making jelly, jam, or marmalade.
- Place 4 saucers or small plates in the freezer. You will use these later to check the set of the marmalade.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, and cook at a rapid boil over high heat until the mixture is reduced by half, stirring occasionally. It will take about 35 minutes for the mixture to reduce by half.
- Once the mixture is reduced by half, add in the blueberries and any accumulated juice, the strained lemon juice, and the remaining 4 cups sugar, stirring well over high heat to help dissolve the sugar.
- Cook at a boil over high heat, stirring every 2 minutes or so, until the set point is reached. Check the set after 5 minutes of cooking.
- To check the set: take the pot of marmalade off the heat (if you don't remove the marmalade from the heat while you check the set it could over-cook and become rubbery or hard, if the marmalade is indeed already set).
- Place a drop of the marmalade mixture (try to get the "jelly" part of the mixture, avoiding the rind and the berries; I use a 1/4 teaspoon measure to dip out the drop) on one of the saucers you've kept in the freezer, & place the saucer back in the freezer for 1 minute. After 1 minute, take the saucer out of the freezer and nudge the drop of jelly with your finger. If it "wrinkles" when you nudge it with your finger it is done. If the jelly is not set, continue cooking over medium-high heat, checking the set again every 5 minutes.
- I make this marmalade using an 11 quart copper preserving pan, over highest heat on my second largest burner. After the sugar has been added and has dissolved, it usually takes 10 minutes of cooking for the marmalade to reach the set point for me.
- When the marmalade is set, ladle it into sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with damp paper towels to remove any marmalade which got on the rims or the threads. Place the lids and the bands on the jars, just tightening the bands fingertip tight.
- Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes, then remove and let sit, undisturbed, for at least 12 hours before checking seals. It is important to let them sit undisturbed for 12 hours because the sealing compound on the lids is still cooling and hardening, completing the seal. While the jars cool, you will hear a "plink" type sound from each jar - this is the jars completing the vacuum seal as the final air escapes the jar. After 12 hours have passed, remove the bands and check the lids - press down in the center of the lid. If you cannot push the lid down any further, the jar is sealed. If the lid "gives" a bit, and you can push it down, the jar did not seal. You can either put the band back on the jar, and reprocess it for another 5 minutes, or you can just put it in the fridge and use it within 3 months.
Lots of steps, but well worth the effort. This was GREAT!
I used my Japanese mandolin to slice the lemon into thin strips, like I do for my Meyer Lemon Marmalade.