• Posted by Califia Suntree on February 3rd, 2012, 5:00 PM

    Just as I was lamenting the many long months until my next summer-harvest canning spree, my dad’s lime trees start exploding with more fruit that seems reasonable. Yes! Winter canning commences. In SoCal, we get just magnificent displays on our citrus trees, so now’s the time to dive in and start preserving the lemons, limes and grapefruits, however you can. Try your hand at lemon curd–or lime curd, which is essentially lime pie in a jar–or limoncello, which might also be delicious  made with grapefruit? Try it and send me some. Or, go traditional and make enough marmalade to put Paddington on a bender. I made mine with ginger and my dad’s limes, with just enough sugar to set the gel, but it’s still tart as can be. Delicious on a crumpet, but also works well as a glaze for chicken or fish. It’s good to be canning again. Next up: pickled beets!

    I don’t have a specific recipe for the marmalade, since I’m partial to the “throw it in a pot and see” school of canning. But here’s what I did:

    Wash your limes well and halve them lengthwise. Juice the limes and slice the rind very thinly. Put it all into a big measuring cup until you have a volume that is about half as much as you’d like to end up with. (So, to make about four 8-ounce jars, juice and slice about 2 cups of limes. This is woefully approximate.) Peel and grate a tidy pile of fresh ginger.

    Pour the limes and ginger into a sturdy stainless steel or enameled pot along with a roughly equal amount of sugar (maybe a tad bit less) and just a splash of water. Bring the mixture to a boil then turn off the heat and let it sit for several hours or overnight.

    When you are ready to can, bring the mixture back to a boil and then let it simmer until it “gels.” This should take at least 15-20 minutes, depending on the volume. Keep stirring, and keep it from boiling, or you will end up with burned marmalade. To test for gel, chill a teaspoon in the freezer, scoop out a little from the pot and stick it in the fridge. If it sets up into a nice jamlike consistency within a few minutes, it’s ready.

    While the marmalade is cooking, sterilize your jars and get your hot-water-bath canner ready as per these instructions. Essentially, you want your jars to be clean and hot, and your lids simmering so they will weld with the jars. Fill the hot jars with hot marmalade, leaving 1/2 inch “headspace” at the top. Seal tightly and process them in your boiling water bath for at least 10 minutes, but no more than 15. Remove the jars and let cool. The lids should pop when the seal is complete, and your marmalade is shelf-stable.

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