On the weekly farmer’s market here, you can now buy lemons from this year’s harvest. They come in a treated and untreated variety from a small holder farmer in Perpignan – his daughter who runs the stall claims even “in the middle of Perpignan” – at the same price.
For jams and marmalades, the untreated version is better because you will be using the skin and the rind that can hold traces of chemicals with the treated variety.
The area around Menton, near Italy, is better known for its lemons, but Perpignan is a lot closer to here.
For this recipe you need 12 lemons, two kilo of sugar, two litres of water and two days.
First you wash all the lemons and slide ten of them. Take out the piths but collect then for later. Squeeze the other two lemons and put it all together in a big bowl and add the water – I used flat mineral water. Put the collected piths into a small muslin bag and add that to the lemons and water. Marinate for at least one day, or even two. Turn occasionally.
Put the contents of the bowl into a jam-making copper basin and add the sugar. Bring it to the boil on the top of the stove while stirring, then turn the heat lower and continue for one to two hours depending on the consistency you are after. I let it cook for two hours the second time I made the jam and it was a bit darker than the first batch I had done for 90 minutes. These were such a success that I received repeat orders, so I made more as long as the lemons are available.
Take out the little muslin bad with the pits and ladle the hot jam into clean jars. Close the lid and turn the jars to cool – this way you create a vacuum
in the jar and prevent any bacteria from slipping in. Cool for at least a day before using.
The stages of jam making.