Marmalades and Jams are the spreads of choice on the French breakfast table, for topping a classic baguette with butter. And in the Winter, I do love a good citrus marmalade that packs a punch of bold and bright flavors. This Honey Lemon Marmalade recipe is a great Winter project, if you’re looking for that kind of spread. It has a great balance of sweetness and bitterness, with the fresh acidity from the lemon and the mellowness from the honey. It’s the perfect way to preserve citrus season and bring sunshine to your breakfast table.
A no pectin added, natural marmalade recipe
This Honey Lemon Marmalade recipe requires only 4 ingredients: lemon, honey, sugar, water – with no pectin added. It is a very simple recipe that leans on lemons to bring a punch of bright and zesty flavors.
Of course, I see how a lemon marmalade could be a little hard to come by, since lemons are too sour to eat on their own, but the addition of honey here cuts the bitterness of the fruit and brings a nice smoothness all around. It makes for a sticky spread that is zesty, just sweet enough, still a little sour, with no unpleasant bitterness. Try it on toasts, crêpes, or even as a sauce with chicken or duck.
- Regular lemons or Meyer Lemons? I love marmalades with a punch, and this one, made with regular lemons, is one of them! It is sweet and sticky like a marmalade should be, but also has a pleasing light bitterness/sourness to it. If you aren’t fond -or scared of- bitter/sour marmalades, you can switch regular lemons for Meyer lemons. Meyer lemons are milder and less sour, so they will make a marmalade that is less tart – and likely more approachable for kids or shy palates.
- This recipe uses everything: lemon flesh, pith and rind. You don’t need to separate or discard of the rind or pith (white tissue lining the lemon rinds). As mentioned above, this makes for a Marmalade that is slightly bitter/sour. If you want a smoother taste, you can discard of the lemon pith, or use Meyer lemons.
- With 2 cup (400g) of sugar, I know it can be tempting to lower the amount of sugar is this recipe. But if you do so, you won’t be able to cook the jam to the desired thickness. You will end up with a marmalade that is runny, and hence not spreadable. The sugar balances the acidity of the lemons and acts as a thickener.
- Using a Candy Thermometer will make this recipe easier, especially if you’re a first time marmalade maker. We need to reach at least 220F(106C) and you’ll know for certain that the marmalade is ready. But if you don’t have one, don’t worry: you can use the plate test (see in the recipe).
- For jarring, you can simply pour the marmalade into 3 x 8oz jars (ie. mason jars), and keep it in the refrigerator to enjoy for up to 2 weeks. Once the jam is jarred, it is best to wait at least 1 day before enjoying. This allows for the flavors to develop further and the texture to set entirely. If you wish to keep the jam for longer, use a can-sealed method (this article covers it all).
I hope you’ll love this Honey Lemon Marmalade as much as I do!
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4 medium-sized organic lemons
2 cups sugar (400g)
4 tbsp (about 60ml) honey
3 cups (750ml) water
Make sure you read the cooking notes before you start.
Step 1 – Scrub and wash the lemons clean. Place the four whole lemons in a large pot filled with water over medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 30 minutes, until you can easily poke a fork into the skin of the lemons. Strain the water and transfer the lemons to cool on a chopping board.
Step 2 – When cool enough to handle, slice the lemons in half and remove any seeds. Cut each lemon half in four (so you get 8 wedges/lemon) and finely chop the lemon peels and flesh. For the thickness of the strips, do as you prefer: thicker strips (3-4mm) will make for a chunkier and more bitter marmalade. Thinner strips will make for a looser and sweeter spread.
Step 3 – Return the lemon to a pot/saucepan with the sugar, honey and water. Stir to combine and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes (lid off), until a candy thermometer reads exactly 223°F (106°C).
If you do not have a candy thermometer - place a small plate in your freezer. When chilled, take the plate out of the freezer and drop a little spoonful of marmalade on it. Wait 1 minute and check the consistency: it should have thickened significantly to a jelly consistency. If it still looks too liquidy, keep the mixture at a simmer and try again later.
Step 4 – Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature before pouring into jars or airtight containers. The marmalade can keep for up to 14 days in the fridge in non-sterilized containers or jars and up to 3 months in sterilized jars.
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I’d love to know how it turned out! Please let me know by leaving a comment below, rate the recipe and/or share a photo on Instagram: tag @pardonyourfrench and hashtag it #pardonyourfrench. Bon Appetit!