Sweet Lemons!


If you have read a cookbook from any restaurant based in California in the last 10 years you have probably heard of the elusive meyer lemon. Sweeter then your regular lemon, smaller, with skin less bitter and an after taste like vanilla. If you don’t live in California you can expect a 1 month window in which you can buy them for an exorbitant price. (try up to 2 dollars a lemon.) But don’t despair, just head to China town.

My local Asian green grocer carries something called sweet limes that taste almost the same as a meyer lemon for $1.69lb. That’s not bad friends, I bought a dozen for just over four dollars. Unfortunately they to have a very short growing season and so I always make marmalade. Now before you you say “gross, I hate marmalade” try me out here. I always thought I hated marmalade until I started making it. There are ways of making it less bitter without making it overwhelmingly sweet. It’s true, I promise!

I not writing a precise recipe here because it think its very subjective, and no two pieces of fruit are the same.

  • Wash your fruit like crazy, citrus fruits have tons of pesticides on them from the assumption that you won’t eat the peel. I wash mine with soap.
  • Slice your fruit in half and then slice as thinly as you can. I find using a serrated knife works best, unless your knives are much much sharper then mine!
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add in a pinch of salt.
  • Add fruit to the pot and bring back to a boil. Drain.
  • Bring the pot back up to a boil and add the fruit, this time without the salt. Bring to a boil and drain again. If your using thick skinned oranges or grapefruit I would blanch it one more time.
  • Put the fruit back in the pot and cook on low heat, stirring regularly. It should seem dry at first and then begin to leach out liquid.
  • If you have a vanilla bean kicking around and scraped the beans out into your beautiful marmalade, you will be very happy you did it.
  • When all this has simmered and it begins to seem dry again add your sugar. For 12 lemons I added about 2 1/2 cups of sugar. Remember, you can always add more but you can’t add less!
  • This should make more liquid leach out of the fruit, so let it simmer until it becomes almost dry again, with just a thick syrup surrounding the pieces. Because of the high sugar content your susceptible to burning so be sure to stir it regularly.
  • And there you have it! Just put in a sterilized jar to keep for months, or into a Rubbermaid container if you’ll finish it in the next couple weeks, which I would reckon you might!