Guest recipe from our marmalade guru, Christopher Robbins. He'll be teaching a foraging class in May!
The lime is probably the most distinctive and intense flavour of all citrus and makes a uniquely sharp and fresh-tasting marmalade. It replaces the bracing bitterness of the Seville orange with an intense tang. And lime marmalade has the advantage of wide seasonal availability.
Unlike other citrus, the peel of the lime is very tough. If you are planning to incorporate the peel in your marmalade, you must cook it for much longer than, for example, Seville peel to ensure it is tender. And you must cook the peel before you combine it with the juice and sugar to heat and set the marmalade. I suggest simmering the peel for 2-3 hours, testing for tenderness by squeezing the cut peel between thumb and index finger until it can be severed easily.
To make about 6 x 350g jars of marmalade
1.5 kg limes
1.5 kg white, granulated sugar
500 ml water
- Wash the limes and cut off the stalks and the remaining flower at the other end. Cut the fruits into halves around the equator then juice them. Set the juice aside.
- Cut the juiced halves finely (you can leave the remaining juice membranes or scrape them out of the peel as preferred) and place in a saucepan with the water. If you can leave overnight, it helps the peel to soften. Bring to the boil and then gently simmer, covered with a lid, for 2-3 hours until completely soft when squeezed between thumb and index finger. You can replace some of the liquid if there is a risk it might boil dry.
- When the peel is softened, add the juice and the sugar, stirring to mix and dissolve the sugar before slowly increasing the heat. Stirring as necessary, increase the heat slowly until the mixture boils. Increase the heat to a steady boil, which should soon become an active, rolling boil. It should set in 20-30 min after it starts to boil.
- Put the washed jam jars (not the lids) in the oven and heat to 100C to sterilise them. After 10 minutes at temperature, turn off and leave the jars in the oven until needed.
- The marmalade will set when the temp reaches about 105C. You can most easily test for the setting point by the wrinkle test. Place a small plate in the fridge before you start heating the mixture. Test by placing about half a teaspoon of the boiling mixture on the chilled plate, spread it to a circle about the size of a 50p coil. Pop back in the fridge for a minute or so. Hold the plate to the light so you can see the light reflecting off the jam and push a finger through the jam. If the surface clearly wrinkles, setting point has been reached. If no wrinkling, add another small circle of jam and repeat the test until wrinkling occurs.
- Remove pan from heat (and the jars from the oven). Leave pan to settle for 10-15 min then pour marmalade into jars. Replace lids immediately, leave to cool, then label before putting away for storage.