Lemon & Rose Petal Marmalade

When a friend told me that his husband, Thom, was a whiz at pickling and canning vegetables & jams, I was eager to finagle a date for a jam making session.  Over the years, I’ve been interested in learning more about canning, but the process has intimidated me.  Botulism worries aside, the idea of working with an enormous pot of scalding water and the thought of the hours in a hot kitchen it might entail curbed my otherwise inquisitive spirit.  But the concept of doing it as a group, with someone who had some experience with it sounded like the perfect afternoon.

My friends picked a new-to-them recipe from Thom’s favorite canning book, Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff.   (The book is not vegan, but this recipe is, of course.  For a sneak peek, the recipe is available here on Google Books.)  The Meyer Lemon and Rose Petal Marmalade is described as the “marmalade to serve with silver spoons at afternoon tea with the queen of a small but important country.”

With a bag of Meyer lemons and a baggy full of rose petals, we began by removing the tiny petals from their stems.  Then we segmented the lemons, cutting the fruit away from the membrane and de-seeding, but leaving the peel on the fruit.  Cutting each fruit apart from its skin wasn’t difficult, but it did take a bit of time to separate each juicy section.  Working as a group, it wasn’t long before we’d finished all of the lemons and were left with leftover seeds and skin in addition to perfectly sectioned lemon pieces and peel.

Instead of using store-bought pectin, this recipe uses the natural pectin in the lemons to gel the jelly.  Thom moved the leftover seeds and membranes to a piece of cheesecloth and tied it with twine.  Then the bag was moved to a preserving pan with the lemon pieces, lemon juice, and water to simmer for a half an hour, until the lemon pieces were tender.

Once they were tender, Thom removed the pectin bag, let it cool, and then we all took turns squeezing every drop of sticky pectin into the pan.  The cheesecloth was now gooey and gelatinous.  Then the remnants were discarded and the dried rose petals and sugar were added to the preserving pan and brought to a boil.

Thom sterilized the jars in boiling water, we filled them with jelly, and then he attached the sterilized metal lids with a magnetic wand to put the hot lids onto each jar.  The filled jars were then boiled for another five minutes.

We had such a fun time working on a project together and making a marmalade that definitely strays from the ordinary.  My friends gave me a show-and-tell of their cupboard and showed off all of the fruits and vegetables they’ve pickled in the past.  It definitely whetted my appetite to explore canning and pickling more in the new year, especially now that I’ve had a helpful introduction from my two kind friends.

With the jelly done, I was excited to try it once I got back home.  I’d made a batch of cashew cream cheese from Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner, and I thought the tart lemon would balance nicely with the tangy cream cheese.  Spread onto crackers, the jelly and cashew cream cheese taste like a combination between lemon meringue pie and lemon bars.  Because the peel is still attached, the marmalade has a beautiful chunkiness about it with faint pink overtones from the rose petals.  The strong taste of lemon would also pair nicely with vanilla soy or coconut yogurt.

As a thank you to my lovely friends who set aside an afternoon to indulge my canning endeavors, I sent them this calendar from The Little Canoe.  It felt like it went along with some other artwork in their kitchen.  Plus, it looks like a watercolor version of their own pantry.  As an added bonus, if the Queen of a Small But Important Country should ever stop by, I can get my silver spoons at the ready, because I know just what I’ll be serving.

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20 thoughts on “Lemon & Rose Petal Marmalade

  1. Girl, you are so brave! I have a couple of friends who are into canning and I really need an afternoon lesson. I even have all the fancy equipment and still can’t bring myself to try it! We love orange marmalade, but this lemon and rose petal one sounds a million times better!

  2. Such nice friends! It’s always more fun to learn as part of a group. I tried to take a canning class at Sur La Table, but when I showed up, it had been canceled. I’ve been just doing really simple pickles, nothing as fancy as the lemon marmalade. :-)

    • I know! It was so sweet of them to gather all of the ingredients and jars and share an afternoon with me. That’s too bad your canning class was canceled! It sounds like it would have been fun!

  3. This seems like the kind of experience I’d definitely want to share with more experienced friends who knew what they were doing. The resulting jam sounds entirely elegant, and I do hope the Queen enjoys it!

    • Yes, it took all of the stress off since I just had to follow along slicing lemons and separating rose petals. And it was nice that when there were breaks in which we were just waiting for things to boil, the three of us could chat and share a glass of champagne. That’s my kind of canning session! :)

  4. That looks beyond fabulous – like both kinds of Turkish delight in one jam. I have a yearning now to make grapefruit marmalade! The only jams I’ve ever made with any success have been savoury ones – red pepper and chilli type thing, but I love the look of that. How awesome to have friends for a jam session!

    • Ooh, grapefruit marmalade sounds delicious! Like lemons, I bet pectin wouldn’t be necessary since there would be plenty of it in the peel. Your savoury jam with red peppers and chilies also sounds like something I’d enjoy!

  5. I’ve also shied away from all things canning because it does seem like an arduous process. But heavens, that marmalade looks fancy and I love fancy. And I love marmalade. I think I need to give this a try…

    • You should find a couple of friends who are also interested in canning and try it out together! It really wasn’t that complicated. It just took some time and involved several steps. Having another person or two there to share the duties definitely made it more of a fun event than a time consuming task.

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