A neighbor brought over a bag of beautiful homegrown limes. I knew right away I was going to make marmalade with them, but I wanted to add a little something extra to it to make it a bit more exciting. Originally, I was planning on vanilla but I ran into a glitch.
I have been making jams and jellies and butters and marmalades for years. Aside from the jellies (like garlic jelly or red grape jelly) I usually make these spreads without added pectin. For the marmalades I usually put the seeds in a small piece of cheese cloth tied into a bag for extra pectin. But these limes didn’t have any seeds. Without them, the gelling could have been hit or miss and I would have had to cook it just long enough to gel without overcooking the zest and making it tough. Possible, especially for a semi-experienced jelly maker like myself, but I didn’t necessarily feel like fussing over it.
Then, I remembered the Strawberry Fig Jam recipe from my Great Grandmother – gelatin! Some may consider it “cheating”, but I think if it makes a delicious and easy spread then how you got it to gel doesn’t necessarily matter. If you are vegan or want to avoid food coloring, I would suggest using cherry juice instead of the water and cooking the marmalade to gel stage. For more information on testing for the gel stage refer to Fresh Preserving’s FAQ.
I had one box of cherry, one of orange and another of lime that I was planning on using to make Lime Gelatin with Pineapple and Cheddar Cheese. I opted for the cherry and lime because I love love love cherry limeade! You could use 2 boxes of cherry but I am glad I didn’t because I wanted it to be lime with a little cherry and not overpowered by cherry.
You might want to test your limes before you go to the hassle of removing the zest and pith. The last batch of lime marmalade I made was with key limes that I simply sliced and soaked over night. It was horridly bitter and I had to throw out the entire batch! So, I went to the extra effort. If the pith leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, the marmalade will be bitter.
Until next time, happy eating!