Without a doubt, February is the time for marmalade. Not only is it the height of the citrus season, when fresh, quality fruit is widely shipped and easily available, but the sunny nature of this yellow-orange spread is bound to bring on a bit of a smile during this often cold and bleak month.
I like most any kind of marmalade, but Lemon Marmalade is probably my favorite. I find it's extra-sour nature an ideal complement to the slight bitterness of the peels when rounded out with a bit of sweetener. Standard, full-acid lemons – what you'll generally find in the lemon section of the grocery store – are ideal for the Lemon Marmalade recipe. Eureka and Lisbon lemons are the commonly available varieties.
Meyer lemons are a popular alternative, and many people enjoy using them as they are not as acidic as standard lemons, and are a bit sweeter. They are native to China, and are believed to be a cross between a lemon and a Mandarin orange.
Despite their name, I find that Meyer lemons look and taste more like oranges than they do like lemons. They are typically rounder and slightly smaller than regular lemons, and while they are yellow when less ripe, they become increasingly orange as they ripen.
Both types of lemons are great for marmalade, but, as you might expect, the marmalades they yield are a bit different from each other. Likewise, the recipes are slightly different, to account for differences in acidity and bitterness, and to highlight each fruit's best qualities.
So, should you make the Lemon Marmalade, or the Meyer Lemon Marmalade? If you like assertive flavors and are a fan of sweet and sour, go for the Lemon Marmalade.
If, on the other hand, you prefer a marmalade that's less sour and a bit orange-y, with a touch of bitterness, then you'll likely love the Meyer Lemon Marmalade.
Or, give them both a try! Both have a delightful sunny-yellow color, and a soft-set consistency. Any way you go, these marmalades are delicious served alongside scones, or swirled into vanilla yogurt. Enjoy!
Recipes and photos by Allison Carroll Duffy