Lemon jam has a stronger flavor and aroma than any other jam. This delicious and tangy jam can brighten up your breakfast table, or go on top of your favorite desserts (fruit tarts, cheesecakes, classic cakes). This recipe is using the whole lemon (even its seeds).
I don't know why Lemon Jam is not as famous as other jams (at least in Greece). For me, this is one of the tastiest jams out there. But this may be because, for one, I absolutely love the flavor of lemons, and especially on sweets. And for two I think this jam is so amazing because it has the right amount of acidity and bitterness to it, to contrast the excessive sweetness that exists in a jam.
This Lemon Jam Recipe is made with only 2 ingredients. Without counting the water. All you need is lemons and sugar to make it!
And nothing gets wasted out of the lemons. The whole lemon is used. Even its seeds, which release natural pectin and help with the thickening of the jam. So with few lemons, you can make a good amount of this jam.
Wondering how it's done? I will tell you how right away. But first, there are two important things you need to keep in mind, for the absolute success of this lemon jam.
For one, you have to get the right lemons. To make a lemon jam, you need lemons that have thicker skin. Thinner-skinned lemons are better for juicing. While thick-skinned lemons are better used for making sweets like this jam. They do not produce much juice, but enough skin to give the right texture to a jam. The ideal variety is the "Citrons" but "Lemonade" or "Femminello" are two other great varieties you can use. You may check out this article to see how they look like.
For two, the bitterness of the lemons has to be removed before you cook them into a jam. To do this, you cook the lemons for a few minutes in plenty of boiling water and then transfer them into a big bowl with cold water. This process needs to be repeated at least 3 times. At this point, you can proceed with making the jam if you like it to be strong and a bit bitter.
Taste the lemon to see if the flavor is to your liking. If it's too strong then let the lemons soak in plenty of water for about 18 hours. Changing the water they soak in, with some fresh cold one at least 2-3 times. This is the way I prefer to go, as I don't like the flavor of the jam to be too overwhelming.
How To Make Lemon Jam
To make a nice and thick lemon jam, the ratio of sugar has to be 1:1. This means you have to weigh the lemons and the liquid and add the same amount of sugar.
And to keep things precise, I prefer to use a digital food scaler. And also to weigh the lemons after they have been boiled and soaked. As there will be some quantity of water absorbed by the lemons, that needs to be taken into account as well.
So let me explain this in a few simple steps...
- Prepare the lemons by cutting off the bottoms and slicing them in half.
- Squeeze the lemons saving both the juice and the pulp along with the seeds separately.
- Cook the lemons and then soak them in water, a few times to remove their bitterness.
- Weigh the lemons.
- Weigh the lemon juice. Add water to the lemon juice so its weight will be equal to that of the lemons.
- Weigh the sugar. The amount of sugar should be equal to that of the liquid (lemon juice with water) plus the weight of the lemons. Ratio= 1:1.
- Cut the lemons into thin slices or chop them into smaller pieces, depending on how chunky you want your jam to be.
- Add the sugar and liquid into a large cooking pot. Add the seeds and pulp and tie them inside a cheesecloth add to the pot as well. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 2-3 minutes until most sugar dissolves.
- Add the lemons and simmer until jam sets.
- Transfer the jam into sterilized canning glass jars.
Where To Use This Lemon Jam...
- On top of custard cream.
- As a topping over vanilla or strawberry ice cream (or frozen yogurt).
- Inside a tart.
- Inside a cake batter. To make a cake with lemon chunks in it. Soo yummy!
- To decorate a cake or cheesecake on top.
Lemon Jam Recipe (2 Ingredients only!)
- 8-10 large thick-skinned lemons ( "Citrons", "Lemonade", or "Femminello")
- canning jars like these
- Sterilize the canning jars. Wash them well with soap and water. Without letting them dry, place them on a pan that you have covered with a clean tea towel. Then place the pan in a preheated 160°C /320°F oven for 15 minutes.
- Heat a large cooking pot with water over high heat.
- Cut the bottoms of the lemons. And cut the lemons in half.
- Squeeze all the lemons. Add the fresh lemon juice to a bottle and keep it in the fridge. Save all the pulp and seeds from the squeezed lemons tied inside a small cheesecloth.
- Once the water in the pot starts to boil, dip in the squeezed lemons. Cook for 10 minutes and then transfer them into a very large bowl or pot filled with cold water.
- Repeat this process two more times. At this point, you may proceed to the next step and start making the jam, if you want it to be strong-flavored. Otherwise, let the lemons soak in plenty of cold water for about 14-18 hours. Changing the water they soak in at least 3 times. You may taste some of the skin to see if it is to your liking. If you want a real light lemon flavor. Keep changing the water a few times more.
- Transfer the lemons to a strainer. Let the lemons stand for 10 minutes. Then weigh them using a digital food scale and write down that number. Set the lemons aside.
- Weigh the squeezed lemon juice you've been saving in the fridge. Add as much water as needed so it will weigh the same as the lemons. (weight of Lemon juice + water = weight of lemon skins). 1:1 ratio.
- Now weigh the sugar. It should be equal to the amount of the lemon juice + water + the lemon skins. So for example, if your lemon skins weigh 1 kg and the lemon juice and water weigh 1 kg then you need 2 kg of sugar.
- Take the squeezed lemon cups and with a spoon scrape any remaining pulp from the inside. Place it in a large mixing bowl. Then cut the cups in half. Then cut each half into thin slices depending on how chunky you want your jam to be cut into smaller or bigger slices. Place in the bowl as well.
- Place the lemon juice and water along with the sugar inside a large pot. Add the cheesecloth inside as well. Ideally use a tall one or a stockpot, because jam tends to get foamy and rise a lot on the surface. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 minutes until most of the sugar dissolves.
- Add the sliced lemons and cook until the jam sets. Stirring every now and then. Takes about 25 minutes. You will see the surface starting to look glazy. To check if the jam is thick enough, place a little plate in your freezer for 5 minutes. Then take a spoonful of the jam with a teaspoon and add it to the plate. As the jam cools on the cold plate you can see how thick it is.
- So once the jam is set, remove the pot from heat and set it aside. Let it stand for a few minutes until you see the lemons going under the surface of the jam. This will help to distribute the jam equally into the jars, ensuring there is an equal quantity of lemons and "liquid" on each.