I’m trying to get ahead with my edible gift making, so I used the weekend to make a batch of lime marmalade, but thought a naughty slug of gin would be a marvellous match! Gin is everywhere these days, so why not in marmalade?!
What gin to use though? Well there’s so much choice these days it’s mind blowing. We took a trip to the Gin Festival which popped up in Newcastle this month for some ginspiration…
One side of the hall in Castle Gate was dedicated to a huge bar rammed with a myriad of varieties of gin. We were given a voluminous branded glass and a guidebook to peruse the tasting notes before selecting which gin to try. To pay you bought vouchers which got stamped with each purchase. Fever-tree tonic was unlimited all night.
Among the many varieties we tried the most memorable were:
A slug of Edinburgh Gin’s Rhubarb and Ginger – sweet and tangy enough to knock back straight.
Bloom‘s floral blend was delicious with plenty of tonic, ice and some strawberries. This will make a great gin for summer barbecues, when we emerge out of winter next year.
We burnt our tummies with the strongest blend of the night – Sipsmith VJOP which had a fiery 57.7% proof!
Bathtub Gin tasted a little of parma violets, but I really loved it and have made a mental note to buy some for the Christmas drinks season.
For the marmalade I opted for Poetic License‘s Northern Dry Gin – who have a distillery in Sunderland. The tasting notes really sold it to me: ‘Expect a big punch of juniper that is finely balanced with green cardamom for a warm spicy flavour. With undertones of lemon and eucalyptus, the inclusion of Persian imd intensifies the citrus feel while adding a note of perfume.’ Sounded like the perfect partner in crime for my lime preserve.
So the gin was decided… and now to make some marmalade.
Be warned. Making marmalade is not a quick process. You’ll need a good sharp knife and a lot of patience. If there’s a podcast you’ve been meaning to catch up on, or some new music you want to get into then this is the time to clear an afternoon and get down to business.
It’s definitely worth the effort, because you’ll be rewarded with a jewel-bright jar of tangy zingy sticky spread to spread on hot-buttered toast that has a naughty little grown up kick. Who wouldn’t want a jar of this in their Christmas stocking this year?!
Kit you’ll need
Large stainless steel lidded pan
Pretty jam jars – mine are Ball Preserving
A jewel-bright boozy marmalade, perfect for gifting
- 675 g limes
- 1.75 litres water
- 1.4 kg granulated sugar
- 70 ml gin
Cut the limes in half and juice them all. Pour the juice along with the water into a large stainless steel plan. Scrape the membrane and pips out of the remaining lime halves and save it in a bowl.
Chop the membranes up either by hand or in a small food processor, then sit on top of a square of muslin and then gather up the edges and tie securely with string and pop it into the pan, tying it to the handle so it doesn’t bob about too much.
Next finely slice the lime halves into the thinnest strips you can manage and pop them into the pan to soak overnight – they’re pretty tough so it’s worth doing this to make your marmalade softer to eat.
The next day bring the pan to the boil with the lid on, then turn the hob down to the lowest setting and allow to simmer for two hours. Your kitchen will smell of zesty citrus.
Meanwhile, pop your sugar into an ovenproof bowl and warm up in a low oven. Wash your jam jars in hot soapy water, rinse with hot water then air dry in the oven.
Remove the muslin wrapped lime innards from the pan, squeezing gently to remove any excess juice. Add the warmed sugar and dissolve over a low heat, then turn the heat up until the liquid churns up into a rolling boil. Take your jars out of the oven and place onto a wooden board. Pour approx one teaspoon of gin into the bottom of each jar.
Keep the rolling boil up until you reach setting point. This can take 5 minutes, but always seems to take me more like 20 mins. Keep checking by plunging a wooden spoon into the marmalade, lifting out and twisting until the liquid runs off. If you’re left with a droplet that hangs stubbornly from the spoon like a flake without dripping, then you’ve reached setting point. Don’t fret, just keep boiling until it happens. Turn the heat off and push any scum that’s formed on the surface to the side with a metal spoon and then lift out and into a dish. (I like to spread this on toast later)
Ladle the marmalade into a jug and pour into the jars and fill to just under the brim and then seal with lids. Allow to cool completely before labelling.
It’s much easier to process the limes if they’re room temperature. If they’re straight out of the fridge they’ll be tougher and won’t yield as much juice. You can pop them in a bowl of warm water to soften them if you’re in a hurry.
If you want a more detailed breakdown of how to make marmalade read my post: Seville Orange Marmalade