Lemon season is drawing to a close [here in Nova Scotia], but If you are lucky enough to have some straggly lemons in your neck of the woods that you're looking to use up, I have just the recipe for you. Since this recipe only uses the juice, these lemons don't need to be picture perfect. I used Meyer lemons, but any variety will do nicely.
This jelly is ideal if you (like my husband and I) aren't really a fan of the bitterness of marmalades or other preserves which include citrus peels. It uses only the lemon juice, leaving the jelly with a bright lemon flavour and none of the bitterness. It is perfect on toast or crackers, and it's also amazing stirred into plain yogourt or spread on a crepe. The vanilla part was kind of a happy accident; the only sugar I had on hand (as I realized once I had already started and was too far in to quit) was some vanilla sugar (sugar which had vanilla beans sitting in it for a few months) In it went. The jelly would also be delicious without the vanilla.
Even if they're not used in the jelly, there are a few things you can do with those rinds! After juicing the halves, cut the little nubs off of each half so they will lay flat like a little bowl, and start some seedlings in them. Use them to scrub your cutting boards or pots on their own or with a bit of salt; they work especially well on stainless steel. Or pop them in a small pot with a bit of water and a cinnamon stick and simmer for a little while to make your kitchen smell amazing.
Meyer Lemon Vanilla Jelly
15 oz lemon juice (12 lemons for me; this may vary, depending on the size of your lemons)
3 ½ c vanilla sugar (or 3 ½ cups sugar with scraped seeds from one vanilla bean added)
1 pouch liquid pectin
Yield: 5 8oz jars
Juice the lemons and strain the juice to remove any pulp or seeds. Place juice in a pan with the sugar and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Using a small metal sieve or spoon, remove the foam on the top of the mixture and add the pectin. Stir. Pour it into sterilized jars and lids. Process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes.
I'm Sherrie Graham, an urban homesteader of sorts in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. I'm a mother, teacher, and soapmaker, and I blog about it all at www.twentytwopleasant.blogspot.com.