Double Meyer Marmalade || Hitchhiking to Heaven

Double Meyer Marmalade (Lemons & Rum)

2010 Marin County Fair First Place Winner!

So I was looking in the liquor cabinet, because that’s where I keep my canning supplies. (Honest.) Right up front was a bottle of Myers’s Rum. And sitting on my kitchen counter were a couple dozen Meyer lemons, of which I am blessed with a year-round supply. Myers’s Rum, Meyer lemons? Double Meyer Marmalade. True, it would be even better if the Misters Myers and Meyer — Fred and Frank, respectively — had gotten it together on the spelling of their surnames, but I tried a bunch of different names (“Fred and Frank’s Fabulous Fruit?” asked Stewart) and came back around to this one. Make mine a double.

I had no idea how much rum to add to my regular Meyer Lemon Marmalade recipe to get the right mix. I poked around on the Internet and saw folks adding a tablespoon of rum to this and a splash of rum to that, but what has a tablespoon of rum ever done for anyone, really? So I got scientific about it and added the amount that first popped into my head, which was half a cup — plus an extra tablespoon at the very end, which seemed to make a nice difference. By some divine grace, perhaps by the will of Fred and Frank, it turned out well. Half a cup gave the fruit a mild but discernible rum flavor. You could certainly bump it up a little if you wanted to, and next time around I may do just that. Might throw in some nutmeg, too. Also, if you prefer, you could go the other direction and make a basic, luscious Meyer Lemon Marmalade by leaving out the rum and vanilla bean — keepin’ it simple.

For inspiring this recipe and for introducing me to the following method of cutting fruit, I am indebted to Melinda at One Green Generation. Note that this is a two-day process; the mixture needs to sit in the fridge overnight.

Double Meyer Marmalade (Lemons & Rum)

2 1/2 pounds Meyer lemons
7 cups water
6 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup Myers’s Rum, plus 1 tablespoon to add at the end
1 vanilla bean

Day One

1. Wash the lemons and then chill them for at least an hour. Chilling is optional, but it’s so much easier to thinly slice a cold lemon.

2. Slice each lemon along the stem and then cut a notch from the center to remove the pith, like so . . .

3. Hold each lemon over a bowl and run your thumb along the inside of the notch to remove the seeds. (This is my favorite part. I don’t know why; it’s just fun.) The bowl will catch the seeds and the juice, which you should set aside until Step 5.

4. Slice the lemons as thin as you like . . .

5. Put the lemon slices and the 7 cups of water into your heavy-bottomed, nonreactive pot. Strain the set-aside juice and seeds and add the juice to the pot, too . . .

6. Simmer for five minutes, then transfer the mixture to a large bowl, cover it, and let it stand in the fridge overnight.

Day Two

1. Sterilize your jars.

2. Prepare the vanilla bean. (I used only one bean, but if you want a more intense vanilla flavor, I think two would work.) Slice the bean lengthwise and separate the seeds by running your thumb along the inside. I followed a tip I read that suggested mixing the seeds with about a cup of the recipe’s sugar, to ensure they’re evenly distributed when you add them to the mixture. It worked well for me, though I couldn’t say whether or not it’s really necessary to go to the extra trouble.

3. Simmer the lemons and water in your big pot until the peels are soft. (If they come apart easily when you try to separate them with a wooden spoon, they’re done.)

4. Add the sugar, 1/2 cup of rum, and the vanilla bean and seeds.

5. Boil the mixture until it reaches the jelling point. Be patient, because this takes some time — usually 30-40 minutes for me. I usually remove the mix from the heat as soon as it reaches 220F on my candy thermometer. I test it for jelling on a cold surface and then boil it a little longer only if I need to. I really don’t like overcooked Meyer Lemon Marmalade, so I always try to remove it just when it hits the jelling point, no later.

6. When the mixture is ready, stir in 1 tablespoon of rum. Remove the vanilla bean from the pot. I rinsed the bean and cut it up into smaller slices, then put one piece into each jar when I filled it.

7. Ladle the mixture into the sterilized jars and process. I left 1/4 inch head space and processed for ten minutes in a water bath canner.

Yields about 9 half-pints.

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  • Reply Julia April 5, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Wonder what it would taste like with dark rum? Or with ginger instead of vanilla–isn't that a Dark and Stormy?

  • Reply Shae April 5, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Dark and Stormy Marmalade. Yes, yes! Let's do that! I've got my cocktail book right here and it says golden rum (or dark if you want it really stormy), lime juice, sugar, and ginger beer. Translate that to ginger in a marmalade recipe and I think we're in business.

    Myers's rum is dark, and I like it a lot in this recipe. Next time I'm definitely going to add a little more to see how that goes.

  • Reply Melinda April 16, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Wow, this sounds fabulous! I love that my recipe has taken an outstanding new turn. :) I will have to try this!!

  • Reply Shae April 17, 2010 at 4:17 am

    Melinda, there you are! I should have sought you out long ago to tell you that your MLM recipe changed my life, and to thank you for it. I'm still adventuring with it, but it's absolutely the best basic recipe I've found.

    Don't know if you've seen it, but here's another fan of your method who's put a little spin on it:

  • Reply Cynthe Brush July 14, 2010 at 7:13 am

    Thanks for inviting me to your blog ~ a delight to read and a visual treat. This sounds SO good. Will have to give it a try! Have you seen my "Banana Rum Yum" Ice Cream post?

    Have been wandering all over the jammers blogs this evening inspired by your connections. Glad to see so many of us love to do this.

    Let's get together one of these weekends. We come to Marin fairly often since my in-laws live there. Bill and I prefer driving the back way….which means we go right through your part of west county.

  • Reply Shae | Hitchhiking to Heaven July 14, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Cynthe: I just popped over to your blog to let you know how tempting that ice cream looks! I just love that you've been surfing the ever-growing network of preserving bloggers. I've made some wonderful friends this way. On that note, do let me know when you're coming through! Contact email for me is in the sidebar of this blog . . .

  • Reply 2011 Citrus Season Recipes | grow it cook it can it March 1, 2011 at 9:02 am

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  • Reply Tales and Tips from the County Fair « Hitchhiking to Heaven June 11, 2011 at 8:47 am

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  • Reply Sara March 25, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Yes! I knew I’d find something here. I may end up using whiskey though, just because that’s what I have. I’d start it tonight, but Mad Men is premiering…

  • Reply Trish Downs May 13, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Good morning,
    I’m interested in the Meyer Lemon Marmalade recipe. I have a question…it calls for rum. To my understanding Meyer Rum has a dark and a light rum. Can you please tell me what rum you used in this recipe?
    Thank you so much,

    • Reply Shae May 13, 2012 at 10:21 am

      Hi Trish: I used dark rum, but I think it would be good with either.

  • Reply Katie Albert December 16, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Hi Shae,

    I love these labels that are on your jars….how did you make them?


  • Reply Kerri January 8, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Shae..I am so happy to have found your blog! I’m new to canning this year, and am SO enjoying it!! You have a ton of fun stuff that I can’t wait to try. I have just a few meyers lemons to use up, but hope to find more so I can try this….it looks scrumptious!!
    thanks so much! Oh, and thanks for the labels…very fun!

    • Reply Shae January 9, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      Hey Kerri: Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice note! I wish you the best in your new adventures with fruit, and I hope you’ll let me know if you do try a recipe here. ~ Shae

  • Reply Kerri January 9, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Shae..if I can’t find Meyer lemons, do you think I could mix in some regular ones? I’m assuming I would need to cut them super-thin… Also, what do you think of using peach brandy instead of rum?? I made a cranberry conserve with the brandy, so have some left:):)
    thanks for any help! Kerri

    • Reply Shae January 9, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      Kerri: I think that even if you cut them very fine, the regular lemons will want a longer cooking time to reach the right texture. You’ll have to monitor them. And I wouldn’t cook them together with Meyers, or your Meyers will go to mush by the time the regular lemons have cooked. As to the brandy, it’s really all about the flavors you like. I confess I’m not a brandy fan, so I can’t responsibly advise on that! I will say this, however: Making marmalade can be an exacting business, so you may want to get a handful of solid experiences with exactly following tested recipes before you get too creative with your experiments. Once you start to feel comfortable with the process and the differences in citrus, you can really start to play — with the understanding that surprising things will still sometimes happen!

  • Reply Kerri January 10, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Thanks, Shae, for your expertise! Really appreciate the info. I’m going to search out Meyers…I REALLY want to make this. I have learned that making marmalade is a bit of a challenge. LOL My cran-orange came out a little runny, my mandarin orange came out a little stiff, and hopefully the lemon-orange I made earlier this week is just right:):)

  • Reply Kerri January 10, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Mmmmm….that looks delicious! A little more complicated than the recipe I used. Since I love mandarins/satsumas/clementines, that was the search I did for marmalade. I had also purchased a mondo bag of cranberries, which I needed to finish, as I had made a ton of cranberry conserve. So, this is what I found:
    It seemed a little sweet, but I don’t have the sweet tooth in the family, my husband does, and he loved it!

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