- 1kg lemons
- A handful of thyme sprigs
- 2½ ltrs water
- 2kg caster sugar
Prep: 30 mins | Cook: 3 hrs 15 mins
1. Pull the buttons off the lemons (the woody bit where the stems were attached to the lemon). Pop the lemons in a large pan and drop in a handful of thyme sprigs – around 3-4 should do it. Pour in 2½ ltrs water. Cover the pan with a lid, place on a medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 2-2½ hrs till the lemons are very soft. Take the pan off the heat and set it aside to cool for 1 hr to overnight.
2. Sterilise your jam or preserving jars - you should make around 2 ltrs marmalade. You can sterilise the jars by putting them through a dishwasher cycle, or washing them in hot, soapy water, rinsing them and then drying them in an oven set to 100°C/Fan 80°C/Gas ½. Put 3-4 side plates into the freezer to chill.
3. Pick the woody thyme sprigs out of the pan and discard them (don't worry about any loose leaves). Lift the lemons out of the pan with a slotted spoon, and set aside in a bowl. Pour out the liquid into a bowl, then measure out 1½ ltrs and pour this back into the pan. Halve the lemons and scoop out the flesh, white pith and pips. Place all this in a sheet of muslin, tie it up tightly to form a bag and drop this back into the pan.
4. Slice the lemon skins as thickly or as thinly as you prefer and return them to the pan. Tip in the caster sugar and gently warm, stirring occasionally, to dissolve the sugar. Turn the heat up and bring the pan to the boil - keep your eye on it as the marmalade will froth and start to boil up. As soon as this happens, turn the heat down to stop it overboiling.
5. Keep the marmalade at a rolling boil for 20 mins, then take it off the heat. Pour a spoonful of marmalade onto a chilled side plate, leave it for 1 min then press it with your finger. If it has set and wrinkles when you press it, it's ready. If not, put the marmalade back on a medium heat and boil for a further 5 mins. Repeat the wrinkle test. The marmalade should be ready within 20-35 mins.
6. Use a tablespoon to skim any scum off the top of the marmalade. Ladle it into the sterilised jars, discarding the bag of pips, seal the jars and label them. The marmalade will keep for up to 1 year in the sealed jars.