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Strawberry Lemon Marmalade

I based my recipe for Strawberry Lemon Marmalade off of this recipe.  I know that there are people out there who strongly believe you shouldn’t alter recipes when it comes to canning.  If you are not comfortable with canning then I recommend you follow the recipe given by Ball.  Personally, I approach canning the same way I approach all cooking – what doesn’t kill you is edible.  I’m not afraid to experiment and I rarely follow a recipe as it was written.  Sometimes this backfires but I will tell you that with jams and jellies there is so much sugar that it’s not going to go bad.  So it all comes down to taste.

This was actually the second batch of marmalade I made, the first was plan lemon which I will share later this week.  I left the recipe at home so you get this one which is available online.  I actually cooked this recipe in the same pan as the first batch.  My lemon marmalade was a cooked jam with no added pectin so it was nothing to just dump the next batch in without washing.  I used less strawberries than this recipe states.

So what did I do?  Well it started with a good sale on strawberries.  I bought 2 pounds but I wanted to eat some so I cleaned them and dumped about 1 1/2 pounds into my measuring cup.  Uncrushed they made about 4 cups so that worked for me.  It still has amazing strawberry flavor.

I sliced up lemons for both recipes and then let them sit overnight in cold water (in the fridge).  The idea is that they soften.  The lemons I used came from my friend Carol and have a very thin soft skin (terrible for slicing because they are so soft).  Since I used most of the lemons in the first batch, I just used the remainder for this recipe.  It came out to over a cup of lemons with water and juice.

I dumped the lemons, strawberries and a packet of pectin into my pot and brought them to a boil, mashing with a potato masher as I went to break up the fruit.  When it came to a full boil, I added 6 cups sugar and let it boil again.  Using pectin in the recipes means it goes fast.  I let it boil while I quickly made sure I had my jars ready.

To prep my jars, I run them through the dishwasher without any soap.  This disinfects them and gets them warm without taking up space on my stove.  I always time it so that my jars are ready just before the product being canned is ready.  Since this was my second batch, my jars had been ready and sitting in the warm dishwasher.

So from here, I pour the jam into the jars using a ladle and a canning funnel.  You don’t need a canning funnel but I was given one and I love it.  It makes the jars stay cleaner.  Leave 1/4 inch headspace, wipe the top with a clean wet rag and then seal.

From here I put my jars into my big canning pot (you can use a large saucepan, I did for years before finding a canning pot at a garage sale).  I cover them with hot water from the tap and bring to a boil.  I know that the directions say boil for 10 minutes adjusting for altitude.  I bring my jars to a boil and then count the time starting at that time.  More often than not, they boil for a lot longer while I’m cleaning up and doing other things.  This is not a problem.  When I feel like it’s been at least 10 minutes, I turn the heat off – if it’s my last batch to be processed.  Sometimes I let them sit in the water and other times I remove them right away.  It all depends on if I have the counter space to put the jars on.  I like to set my jars on a towel and dry the tops.  We have very hard water which stains the lids if I don’t.

Another thing is sometimes I can’t fill all the jars so the jar that is not full goes into the fridge for eating.  It’s a great way to sample the jams before you give them away.  My family loves this marmalade.  The lemon bits are a little bitter which is traditional to marmalade but not everyone’s favorite.  The strawberry helps smooth that flavor out.  As I said, this had plenty of strawberry flavor, in fact it tastes like strawberry jam with a bit of sour kick to it.

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