You may remember when I posted about Earl Grey’s nectarine preserves way back when (a.k.a. two weeks ago, haha). Well, I’d been thinking of those preserves, the reception they received when opened, and how good they smelled while cooking. I had also been itching to make something new involving tea. So inspired by all that, this time I made a femme version for the Earl’s (I’m sure) lovely wife; Lady Grey’s lemon marmalade. So named after the tea used to make it, Lady Grey by Twinings.
Mary Elizabeth Ponsonby Grey, a.k.a. Lady Grey
Lady Grey tea was named after Mary Elizabeth Grey, the wife of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, for whom Earl Grey tea is named. Mary Elizabeth was the only daughter of William Ponsonby, 1st Baron Ponsonby of Imokilly.
The tea is very similar to Earl Grey, except with more of a citrus-y punch because of the lemon & orange peel additions. I personally require a little more sugar in Lady Grey than in Earl Grey. But I figured it’d make a terrific compliment to a lemon marmalade because of that very reason. Lemon marmalade, is, by it’s very nature, bitter.
I have no use for large batches of things. I make things in little increments, usually give them away, and then get back empty jars (and more requests). So whenever I see a recipe that makes 8-12 pint jars full of wonderment, I groan a little bit inside. I mean, 12 jars!? Unless you’re seriously putting up for the winter, or you live in a place with a huge root cellar/pantry/storage area, how in the hell can you make (and store) 12 jars of everything? Maybe that’s just the New York in me talking. Even us New York suburbanites have a space-issue- we want all the space to be ours but yet always feel we don’t have enough. Like for instance my neighbors & their wacky ideas on property lines. But I digress. When I make my own recipes, I start small. First off, I’m not sure how it’ll turn out, so why waste good product & time on it. Second, like I said, I don’t have unlimited space for my jam experiments. Even though most of my creations are passed on to family/friends, I still couldn’t possibly house a dozen each of every idea I’ve had. So when this little idea came to me, I knew I’d have to make a small batch of it, and lucky for me I had these cute little quilted jelly jars. Cue the “awww” sound…
I was also inspired by this little still life; comprised of my grandmother’s vintage jadeite bowl filled with lemons, and her vintage Pyrex measuring cup.
Marmalade is a fruit preserve made from the juice and peel of citrus fruits, boiled with sugar and water. The benchmark citrus fruit for marmalade production in Britain is the “Seville orange” from Spain, Citrus aurantium var. aurantium, thus called because it was originally only grown in Seville in Spain; it is higher in pectin than sweet oranges, and therefore gives a good set. The peel has a distinctive bitter taste which it imparts to the marmalade. Marmalade can be made from lemons, limes, grapefruits, mandarins and sweet oranges or any combinations thereof. For example, California-style marmalade is made from the peel of sweet oranges and consequently lacks the bitter taste of Seville orange marmalade.
In languages other than English, “marmalade” can mean preserves made with fruit other than citrus. For example, in Spanish the term usually refers to what in English is called jam (and “jalea” is similar to the English jelly). In Portuguese “marmelada” applies chiefly to quince marmalade (from “marmelo”, quince). In Italian too, marmellata means every jam and marmalade.
Marmalade recipes include sliced or chopped fruit peel simmered in sugar, fruit juice and water until soft. Marmalade is sometimes described as jam containing fruit peel but manufacturers also produce peel-free marmalade. Marmalade is often eaten on toast for breakfast.
The set on this marmalade is amazing. As soon as I took it off the heat, it started to “wrinkle” when stirred. However, I did use really large-sized lemons that had a lot of thick white pith. But really, in general, marmalade is very easy to make, especially with lemons, because of the super crazy high pectin content. No extra pectin is needed at all, and it comes together really quick. And the smaller the batch, the quicker it does. So this small-batch recipe is done really really fast. Although it can also be doubled, tripled or quadrupled with excellent results… just remember to factor that into your blanching/cooking/boiling/etc time. Each time frame I give in this recipe will have to be extended as per the amount of marmalade you’re making. People seem to have a hard time with marmalade’s, I don’t know why. There are tons of websites & forums that talk about how it can take up to three weeks to set, etc, etc. Didn’t have a problem myself, & I’m really new to all of this. Who knows!? Maybe it’s like the mystery of where your socks disappear to in the dryer; totally unexplainable.
Also, clearly, one of my tea bags had a little hole in it. Heh. Tiny little bitty tea leaves snuck out into my marmalade. Oh well, no biggie. If that bothers you, check them first or strain your tea before mixing it with the rinds & pulp.
LADY GREY’S LEMON MARMALADE
Makes one 16-ounce (1 pint) or two 8-ounce (half-pint) jars
- 3 large lemons
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Lady Grey tea bags
- Pour the water into a small saucepan. Place the tea bags in and boil. After it boils, wiggle the tea bags around to get the tea flowing, the water should get darker. Allow it to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, slice the ends off the lemons, scoop out the pulp, and remove the seeds, careful not to lose all the juice (do it over a bowl). Place the seeds (or pips) in a small pouch of cheesecloth or a muslin bag and set aside. Slice the lemon rind into thin strips, removing large chunks of pith but not removing it all (unless you like a sweeter & less “set” marmalade).
- Place the lemon juice, the pulp and the rind into a medium saucepan, along with the bag of pips. Pour the cooled tea over all the lemon and squeeze the tea bags gently over the lemon mixture to get any remaining tea out. Throw away the used bags.
- Allow the mixture to sit for 10-20 minutes. Then heat to medium-high and simmer until the rind is soft (mine took around a half hour). Once it’s soft, remove the bag of pips and add sugar, stirring and cooking until it’s dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved, heat to a boil and then reduce just so the mixure gently simmers. Boil this way, uncovered & stirring frequently, until a candy thermometer says the mixture has reached the magical 220° degrees (anywhere from 20-25 minutes, perhaps even less). Once it’s reached that point, boil for one full minute. Check for set.
- While that’s going on, sterilize your jars and place lids in a bowl of hot water to soften sealant. If set, remove from heat. Ladle into jars, leaving ¼” headspace, wipe rims, and place lids/bands. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Remove & cool. Should be eaten within 12 months of making.
So easy. SO EASY. I used some of it in another capacity (which you’ll read about soon!) and it’s deliciousness translated so well. Excellent on toast, a scone, or even just bread or a roll. Also excellent spread on a warm slice of pound cake, served with a cup of tea. Cheerio!