Winter, meet spring.
I recently discovered two large freezer bags full of chopped pink rhubarb in my deep freeze, and decided I should get rid of them to make room for a new haul, which considering the weather we’ve been having, is imminent. I haven’t been without a bag of Meyer lemons in my fridge since they became available earlier in the winter, and so was happy to find a recipe for marmalade combining the two in Marisa’s latest book, Preserving by the Pint.
You take your lemons and slice off the nubbly ends, cut them in sixths, then cut the pointy edge off the wedges, bringing the seeds along with them – these go into a tea ball or cheesecloth to simmer along with the fruit and provide pectin. My candy thermometer was lost to dishwater eons ago, but the marmalade still turned out perfectly-sweet and citrusy, not too acidic, with a slightly floral undertone.
I’ll be honest – the straight-up Meyer lemon marmalade is pretty fab on its own. But the rhubarb brings its own tartness, and a beautiful shade of pink. Because mine was frozen it added a bit of water in the form of ice crystals, but all turned out well.
I’ve chipped away at a chunk of the block of frozen rhubarb. At this rate, everyone I know will be getting a jar of marmalade. I think a batch of rhubarb chutney is next on the list.
Speaking of pretty in pink, I’m heading out to Jasper to an 80s pyjama party with MOLLY RINGWALD. My 15 year old self is DYING. Maybe I’ll bring her a jar of pink marmalade and we’ll wind up being besties. I’ll keep you posted!
Meyer Lemon + Rhubarb Marmalade
from Preserving by the Pint by Marisa McClellan.
1 lb Meyer lemons
3 cups sugar
1/2 lb rhubarb, finely chopped (about a cup)
Scrub the lemons, slice off both nubbly ends, and cut each into 6 wedges. Lay each wedge on its side and slice off the thick piece of membrane that runs down the middle of each lemon, along with any seeds. Place these bits into a square of cheesecloth, gather it into a bundle and tie with kitchen screen. (This will provide pectin to help your marmalade gel.) Put the lemon slices and the bundle into a bowl with 2 cups of water and pop into the fridge overnight.
When you’re ready to make marmalade, put the lemon mixture (including the bundle and water) into a pot along with the sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20-25 minutes. If you have a candy thermometer, it should reach 220F – but I’ve been without one for awhile, and mine set beautifully. To be honest, I didn’t even time it that accurately.
Add the rhubarb and simmer for 5 minutes until it softens and turns your marmalade a pretty pink. Divide into clean, hot jars and process if you like for long-term storage; otherwise, the marmalade will last in the fridge for at least a couple months, and can be frozen.
Makes about 3 cups.