There is a romantic name for jam. It’s a little old English, a little Jane Austin. Can you guess what it is? Marmalade. Isn’t that such a lovely word? It brings to my mind visions of Mr. Darcy and croquet and luncheons immediately.
This marmalade is such a winner because you can make it any time of year. And if canning (because, guess what!? This is a canning recipe) is a little intimidating to you right now, you can just skip that and store your marmalade in the fridge in 3 or 4 larger jars. It’s a completely graceful way to make this elegant jam. You can still share it with your friends, just instruct them to refrigerate.
So what is marmalade? It’s a tart and sweet kind of jam that includes pieces of actual peel from the citrus fruit. The peel gets soft and is sweetened by the sugar and adds the perfect amount of structure to this jam.
This lemon ginger and mint marmalade is marvelous on scones, biscuits or toast, but other ideas have crossed my mind such as: grilled lamb or a sticky lemon chicken. Can you imagine this on charcoal grilled chicken? Shut up, right now. (oops, Jane Austin probably doesn’t say shut up. What would she say? “Surely you jest?”)
So here’s how you enter the land of marmalade:
If you are going to can this recipe, you’ll want to prepare your work area and make sure you have the following on hand:
4 – 4oz jelly jars
canning jar lids (new with an un-used seal)
a large pot or water canner
canning rack or dish towel to lay on the bottom of the canner or pot
- 4 lemons, plus one or two extra lemons just in case
- 1 (1 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 1/4 cups natural cane or granulated sugar
- Small handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- 8 (4-oz) jars, lids and bands
- Slice the lemons in half lengthwise and use a pairing knife to remove the center pith. Pick out the seeds and discard. Cut the lemon halves into thin slices, roughly 1/16 of an inch. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of lemon slices.
- Place the lemon slices, ginger and 1 1/2 cups water in a small sauce pan. Bring it to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes, or until the rinds feel very soft. You can test them by piercing with a fork. Add more water if needed.
- Meanwhile, prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
- Stir in the sugar and bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat right after it comes to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture has thickened and it measures 220° on a candy thermometer.
- To test for doneness, put a teaspoon or two on a cold saucer. Place the saucer in the freezer for 5 minutes. Take it out and drag your thumb across the marmalade. If it wrinkles, it’s done.
- Let the marmalade stand in the saucepan for 5 minutes and then add the mint.
- Ladle hot marmalade into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
- Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.