Farm To Table | Sauces / Dips / Dressings

Lemon Marmalade | Canning Instructions Included

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This easy Lemon Marmalade is a delicious addition to your pantry. Step by step canning and freezing instructions included.

Woman's hand scooping marmalade out jar.Pin
Scooping out some marmalade

This recipe is incredibly easy. There is no two day cook, no cheesecloth bags full of pith and seeds no soaking and it has a short cook time. You can have a batch done from start to finish in less than an hour.

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What is marmalade?

Marmalade is a fruit preserve that can be traced back to at least Ancient Rome. It is usually made with citrus fruits. The most common is orange marmalade which was traditionally made with slightly bitter Seville oranges.

There are many different types of citrus or combinations thereof, such as; lemon, Meyer lemon, lime, key lime, grapefruit, pink grapefruit, tangerine, tangelo, kumquat, mandarins and the like.

It is also made in combination with non citrus fruits, such as; strawberries, rhubarb, pineapple, quince, blueberry, carrot, zucchini, green tomatoes and others, in concert with the citrus. Additional ingredients like ginger and lavender can also be included.

Jars of lemon marmalade on black background.Pin

What’s the difference between lemon curd and lemon marmalade?

To put it simply, lemon curd is more like a pudding. It is made with eggs, butter and less sugar than lemon marmalade.

Lemon marmalade is more like a jam. It is a spreadable, sweet / tart topping for lots of different things. See section below for uses.

Lemon curd has a shorter life span and must be refrigerated. Lemon marmalade can be water bath canned and is shelf stable for a minimum of a year.

Should I use commercial pectin?

Lemons and citrus fruits, in general contain high concentrations of pectin. They can be canned using just three ingredients, namely lemon, sugar and water.

The pectin is extracted from the seeds and pith which need to be cooked for a longer period of time or even refrigerated overnight. Using commercial pectin also eliminates the use of a candy thermometer and freezing plates to check for set.

Using commercial pectin shortens the cook time and is generally less labor intensive. You can use either liquid pectin or powdered pectin.

I have done it both ways but prefer to use the pectin because it is so fast to make a batch.

The first time I made it without pectin, the color got dark because I had to cook it so long for it to reach set temperature. The sugar got caramelized, so the color wasn’t that beautiful yellow that it should be. It was still delish just not as pretty. See below photo.

Comparison of 2 types of lemon marmalade.Pin
Comparison of 2 types of lemon marmalade.

Ingredients you need

  • lemons -I suggest using organic lemons since we are using the peel. The peel can absorb chemicals used for insect and disease prevention.
  • pectin – use regular liquid or powdered pectin if canning but use freezer pectin if you want to freeze the marmalade, instead of canning.
  • sugar – use regular white sugar, demerara sugar, raw sugar, or honey
  • water
Ingredients for lemon marmalade. See recipe below for details.Pin
Ingredients for lemon marmalade

How to make it

  1. Add powdered pectin and about ¼ cup of the sugar to a small bowl. ( If using liquid pectin, refer to package instructions for quantity.)
  2. Mix well.
  3. Wash and dry lemons well. Peel the lemons using a sharp paring knife or a good, sharp vegetable peeler.
  4. Stack sliced peels on top of themselves.
  5. Slice lemon peels very into thin strips about 1 inch long with a sharp chef’s knife.
  6. Cut off both ends of the lemons.Step by step photos of how to prepare lemons for marmalade.Pin
  7. With a sharp paring knife, slice off a strip of the pith (the white stuff left after peeling) Coming very close to the flesh of the fruit.
  8. With you knife at an angle, scrap against the fruit and pull up the pith. Remove as much of the pith as you can.
  9. After getting most of the pith, just scrape any areas that are thicker.
  10. When you’ve gotten most of it off, you can see the yellow of the flesh below.
  11. Slice lemons crosswise. Remove the membrane in between the pieces of flesh.
  12. Rough chop the lemon flesh.
Step by step photos for preparing the pulp.Pin

To make and can the jam

  1. Place the skin slices in a small saucepan with 2/3 cup of water.
  2. Place lemon pulp and collected lemon juice in a large saucepan with the rest of the water. Turn the burner to low to start to soften the pulp.
  3. Cook the skin for about 5 minutes to soften.
  4. Combine the zest , along with the water is was cooked in, with the pulp.
  5. Slowly stir in pectin. Bring to a boil that can not be stirred down, stirring constantly.
  6. Once boiling, add the remainder of the sugar all at once. Stir constantly until it comes to another full rolling boil (one that can’t be stirred down). Boil one full minute. Remove from heat. Skim foam if needed. Most of the time, if you keep stirring for a couple minutes after you remove the pot from the heat, you can stir the foam down.
  7. Heat your jars, lids and canning pot before starting with the jam. For more information on how to easily do this, see our canning for beginners article here. Ladle hot jam into hot canning jars using a canning funnel and ladle, leaving ½ inch headspace. (the space between the marmalade and the rim of the jar.)
  8. Remove air bubbles with wooden or plastic chop stick or similar tool.
  9. Wipe rims of all debris with a clean, damp cloth or towel.
  10. Center lids on jars. Screw on bands fingertip tight.
Step by step photos for making the jam.Pin

Place jars on the rack in your boiling water bath canning pot. Bring to a boil. Process jars for 10 minutes. Set timer after water has come to a boil.

Once time is up, remove canning pot from burner. Allow jars to sit in the hot water for at least 5-10 minutes so they can start to cool down slowly. This will minimize siphoning.

Remove the jars from the water and place on counter. Leave them for 12-24 hours and then test the lids for a seal. Press the lid in the center. If it flexes up or down, jar is not sealed and should be stored in the refrigerator and used first.

Instructions for freezing lemon marmalade

If you would like freeze it instead of canning it, use the the instructions above for making lemon marmalade BUT use special freezer pectin, instead of regular pectin.

Once the jam is made, remove it from heat and let it cool slightly, when using plastic storage containers. If you are using freezer jars, ladle hot jam into hot jars, this time leaving 1- inch headspace.

Let it come to room temperature on the counter. Then freeze for at least 6 months.

How to use it

Lemon marmalade is so versatile.

  • One of our favorite uses is this lemon marmalade dipping sauce for coconut shrimp.
  • Make a great glaze for pork, ham, fish and chicken.
  • It is great on peanut butter sandwiches.
  • Mix with powdered sugar and water for a delicious glaze for shortbread cookies, cakes and quick breads.
  • Mix it into oatmeal, cottage cheese or yogurt for a delicious treat.
  • Use it in cocktails.
  • Add a spoonful to your iced tea to make it a lemon tea.
  • Makes a tangy topping for vanilla ice cream.
  • Use it like jam for scones or toast.
  • Make crostini appetizers with cream cheese, brie or goat cheese topped with jam.
Close up of jars of lemon marmalade.Pin
Jars of lemon marmalade

How to store marmalade

Store processed, sealed jars in a cool dark place, like a basement. Small batches can be made and refrigerated.

Opened jars will last at least a month, refrigerated.

If you make it with freezer pectin, it can also be frozen.

How long will marmalade last?

Sealed jam jars will last at least one year in a cool dark place. If using the new Ball brand lids that are guaranteed for 18 months then they will be good for at least that long.

Jars that are not processed will store in the refrigerator for a couple months, if they are unopened. Opened jars will last at least a month.

Frozen jam can be stored in the freezer for about 6 months. Be sure to use freezer pectin.

What tools do you need?

Technically not all of the tools below are required but they make the job faster and easier.

Close up of jars of lemon marmalade.Pin

This is the best lemon marmalade you will ever eat. So much better than store bought. It’s also incredibly easy and fast.

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If you have any questions or comments, please ask in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.

I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

Binky's signature
Close up of jar of lemon marmalade.Pin

Lemon Marmalade

This easy Lemon Marmalade is a delicious addition to your pantry. Step by step canning and freezing instructions included.
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
4.34 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment, jam
Cuisine: European
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
processing time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 32 tablespoons
Calories: 45kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: 8

Ingredients

  • 1⅓ cups fresh lemons
  • cups water
  • tablespoons classic pectin
  • 1⅔ cups sugar

Instructions

  • Wash lemons well with soap. Rinse very well. Dry.
  • Peel the lemons using a sharp paring knife or a good, sharp vegetable peeler.
  • Stack some of peels on top of each other. Slice lemon peels very into thin strips about 1 inch long.
  • Remove as much of the pith (the white stuff left after peeling) as you can.
  • Slice lemons crosswise. Remove the membranes between the lemon segments. Discard seeds.
  • Rough chop the lemon flesh.
  • Place lemon peels in a small saucepan with 2/3 cups water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Cook for five minutes to soften peels.
  • Place lemon pulp and collected lemon juice in a large saucepan with the water. Add softened peels.
  • Mix powdered pectin with about ¼ cup of the sugar well. (If using liquid pectin, refer to package instructions for quantity.) Add to lemon juice and peel in the large saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil that can not be stirred down, stirring constantly.
  • Once boiling, add the remainder of the sugar all at once. Stir constantly until it comes to another full rolling boil (one that can’t be stirred down). Boil one full minute.
  • Remove from heat. Skim foam if needed. Most of the time, if you keep stirring for a couple minutes after you remove the pot from the heat, you can stir the foam down.

For canning

  • Heat your jars, lids and canning pot before starting with the jam. For more information on how to easily do this, see our canning for beginners article here.
  • Ladle hot jam into hot canning jars using a canning funnel and ladle, leaving ½ inch headspace. (the space between the marmalade and the rim of the jar.)
  • Remove air bubbles with wooden or plastic chop stick or similar tool.
  • Wipe rims of all debris with a clean, damp cloth or towel.
  • Center lids on jars.
  • Screw on bands fingertip tight.
  • Place jars on the rack in your boiling water bath canning pot. Bring to a boil. Process jars for 10 minutes. Set timer after water has come to a boil.
  • Once time is up, remove canning pot from burner. Allow jars to sit in the hot water for at least 5-10 minutes so they can start to cool down slowly. This will minimize siphoning.
  • Remove the jars from the water and place on counter. Leave them for 12-24 hours and then test the lids for a seal. Press the lid in the center. If it flexes up or down, jar is not sealed and should be stored in the refrigerator and used first.
See all of my favorite tools and gift ideas on my New Amazon Store!Check out Binky’s Amazon Store!

Notes

Makes 2 half pint jars
You need 3/4 to 1 pound of lemons
  • Remove as much of the fruit pith as possible.
  • Slice the lemon peel very thin. No more than 1/8 ” (3 mm) thick. 
  • Adjust your processing time for altitude.  See below.
  • Recipe can be multiplied but do not do more than 5 times the recipe as written.
Altitude adjustment
 
0-1000 feet – 10 minutes
 
1000-3000 feet – 15 minutes
 
3000-6000 feet – 20 minutes
 
above 6000 feet – 25 minutes

Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 45kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 12mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg
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18 Comments

  1. 1 star
    This is the worst recipe I have EVER TRIED. totally confusing and incomplete. The directions in the blog part are different from the recipe part. It never says when to remove seeds. The recipe part at the bottom never says what to do with the skin pieces. The part at the top says what to do with the skin but doesn’t make any sense with the water amounts compared to the recipe part at the bottom.
    I ended up with what I assume is too much water because the marmalade never set up after canning and now I just have little jars of soupy disaster. What am I supposed to do with this now? Also it took 3 hours to make and can from start to finish. So it was apparently a huge waste of time as well. I am THOROUGHLY disappointed and have no idea how to fix it so it doesn’t go to waste.

    1. We apologize that you had a difficult time with the recipe as written. We’ve reworded some of the recipe instructions to make it more clear, with your above suggestions. Hopefully it’s more clear now.

      As to what to do with it now, try cooking it down before using it. Let it cool and top soft cheeses, like brie and serve with bread or crackers. It should thicken up nicely.

      Another suggestion when I have a batch that doesn’t set properly, I use it for cake or ice cream topping and syrup. Since this is so lemony, you can make this delicious lemon marmalade dipping sauce which is a huge hit.

      Again, sorry you had a hard time.

      1. Thank you for clarifying the recipe. I’m going to try it again. The last time I ended up adding a little more pectin and a little more sugar and it came out okay.
        This time around- How much should I increase the recipe in order to use a full box of sure jell?

        1. So last time, you said it didn’t set. Right? The recipe is written for regular pectin. If your sure jel is regular pectin, then just add 1½ tablespoons to 1 and a third cups of fruit and one third cup water and 1 and two thirds cups of sugar.

  2. So this is my first time making marmalade and I’m not sure what I’ve done wrong – I’m to the point of the first boiling and all my water has boiled off. I never got to a point of, “…Bring to a boil that can not be stirred down, stirring constantly…” all the fluid just dissipated.

    My temporary fix is to attempt to slowly add additional almost boiling water, but since I’m totally outside the recipe now I don’t k ow how that will go.

    Suggestions?

    1. Additional note – adding hot water seems to have the lord with the consistency issue, however I waited too long and the marmalade was scorched so the batch ended up being no good (sadness) – I’ve set it aside to cool so I can verify the consistency for my adaptation.

      I ended up adding 1 cup of water in 1/3 cup increments; the recipe I printed out calculated 2 jars with only 1/3 cup of water originally.

      Again, I’m not sure if there was a glitch somewhere or if I did something wrong and my water addition works as a coverup but not fix – I would love to hear feedback on correcting this before I try again.

      Thanks!

      1. My best advice is to always read the entire recipe before starting a recipe. Especially one for canning. Adding additional water after all the water cooked out would have probably messed up the liquid to pectin ratio so it probably wouldn’t have set well anyway. Did you have the burner on high and it didn’t come to a boil? Is that what you were saying in the first comment? We’ve made this recipe for years and never had any problem. You want to get it to a boil over the highest heat you have. I hope this helps.

    2. If you follow the recipe and stir for one minute the second time, after adding the sugar, it should work fine without adding extra water. Remove from heat immediately.

      Thanks for trying the recipe. I like using the pectin because you don’t have to cook it as long.

  3. 5 stars
    This is wonderful! So many tasty ways to use this – guess I’ll just start at the top of the list, with the coconut shrimp and work my way down!

    1. The coconut shrimp is awesome with the lemon marmalade dipping sauce. Great place to start. Thanks Beth

  4. 5 stars
    Never thought that canning marmalade would last for almost a year! Thought it would last for a few months. I’ll try this soon!

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve always been a little intimidated by the process of making marmalade, but this post makes it seem do-able! Can’t wait to try this for myself!

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