By Jan Bilton
Is this the year of the lemon? My tree is laden and so are the trees of all our neighbours. Gifts of our lemons are being refused — for the first time in my lemon-growing life.
Mine are the Meyer variety which do not have the same tartness as the firmer Lisbon lemons. However, they do juice easily. Store these beauties in the fridge to keep them firm but return the lemons to room temperature before use so they juice more readily. Pop them briefly in the microwave or warm them in hot water.
Lemon juice is an excellent substitute for vinegar in dressings. Many people swear by a squeeze of lemon in warm water first thing in the morning to aid digestion and others wipe juice on their faces to enhance their skin. Lemon juice is high in vitamin C and combined with warm water sweetened with honey is the old-fashioned remedy to keep colds at bay.
LEMON, GIN & GINGER MARMALADE
2 litres water
2 tablespoons finely grated root ginger
1/3 cup gin
Wash the lemons and remove any stalks and blemishes.
Halve the lemons and remove the pips. Roughly chop. Place the lemons in batches in a food processor adding about 3/4 of a cup of water each time. Process until evenly chopped. Repeat until all the fruit is chopped.
Pour all the water and fruit into a large saucepan. Bring to boiling point and simmer for 1 hour. Scoop out any elusive pips when they rise to the top.
Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, until well dissolved. Add the gin and ginger. Boil rapidly for about 10 minutes or until the marmalade reaches setting point — 104°C. Ensure it does not stick on the base by stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Scoop off any foam from the top and place in a bowl to use on your toast the next day.
Remove the marmalade from the heat and pour into hot sterilised jars then seal. Makes about 9 cups.
- Jan Bilton is a Cambridge-based, professional food writer. For more of her recipes visit her website here.