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Spring Mornings and Bush Lemon Marmalade

Spring is here with bright, clear mornings and sun-drenched afternoons. It is bliss to wake up in the morning without shivering, to see sunlight dancing on the gum trees outside the window, to see sparrows, finches, grass parrots, kookaburras, miner birds, magpies, princess parrots, and innumerable other birds flitting about building nests and eating nectar out of the flowers.

Our breakfasts reflect the change in seasons. Gone are hearty bowls of oatmeal and frittatas stuffed with ham, cheese, and veggies. Now it’s asparagus picked from the garden and roasted with Parmesan cheese, a couple of soft boiled eggs gathered from our chooks.

We’ve just started getting nice ruby red tomatoes from the farmer’s market, and they’re a beautiful addition lightly roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and a few glittering shards of Himalayan pink salt.

When I’m not working on my book, “Freestone: A Mostly True History”, I’m busy picking veggies from the garden and figuring out ways to use them up. This week I’ve been processing bush lemons, absolutely loving the citrus fragrance imbedded in my hands and wafting through the house.

The weather is so wondrous that I try to do as much of my work outside as I can, shelling peas in the breezeway, trimming lemons on the shady back veranda.

I made my first batch of whole lemon marmalade, an idea inspired by my friend Oma’s whole orange marmalade. The name refers to the process, not the end product. I can’t imagine attempting to spread a whole lemon on my toast.

The process is simple and labor-saving. Just dump clean, un-waxed, whole or halved lemons into a pan, fill with enough water to cover by two inches, bring to the boil, then simmer for an hour and a half until the skins are soft and easily pierced with a fork. Remove the lemons, take out the pips (save them!!), then chop up the lemons and return them to the pan. Put the pips in a cheesecloth bundle and add it to the pan. Bring the whole mixture to the boil, add twice as much sugar as you have lemons, stir until dissolved, then boil for twenty minutes or until the jam sets. Pour into sterilized jars, seal, and turn upside down overnight until marmalade has cooled and lids have sealed.

I’m thoroughly enjoying it, loving the bright cheery color and sweet lemony jam with just a hint of a bite.

What is your favorite thing to do with lemons? xo

Bush Lemon Marmalade


1 part lemons (whole or cut in quarters)
2 parts white sugar
Enough water to cover by two inches


  1. Place small saucer in freezer for testing the set of the marmalade.
  2. Sterilize glass jars and lids and set on counter to cool and air dry.
  3. Put lemons in large saucepan and fill with enough water to cover by two inches. Bring to boil then lower heat and simmer uncovered for 1.5 hours.
  4. Drain well. Return liquid to pan and set aside. Put lemons on large cutting board to cool.
  5. When lemons are cool enough to handle, remove pips (save them) and, if you don’t like your marmalade too bitter, scrape out pith as well. Put pips and pith into loose weave tea towel or piece of muslin and tie to form a bundle. Place bundle in pan with liquid.
  6. Slice lemons into strips as thick or thin as you like, then add to the liquid and stir.
  7. Place on stove and return to the boil. Add sugar and stir gently until all sugar is dissolved. Boil for about twenty minutes. Remove saucer from freezer and pour a bit of liquid on it. Leave for one minute and push your finger against it from the side. If it wrinkles up, it’s ready, if not, keep boiling mixture for a few more minutes and test again until it’s ready.
  8. When done, remove marmalade from heat, remove pip bundle, and let mixture cool for 2-3 minutes. Ladle into sterilized jars, seal well, and turn upside down overnight. This gives you the best chance of a good seal.
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TuulaR - You are so talented Krista, always discovering more things to try and make on your blog… and yes, happy spring to you! Feels funny to say that as the leaves start to change here in Provence 🙂 That asparagus looks divine, many more months to wait until it come back around 🙂 hope you have a lovely week!

MyCustardPie - You’ve just reminded me that I meant to make lemon or lime marmalade. We can’t get Seville oranges here so I thought some other citrus would be good. Love big pieces of rind. How gorgeous your golden jars are.

Turkey's For Life - Oh wow, this looks lovely. A friend made us some lemon marmalade recently and we loved it. I wasn’t sure at first but loved it by the time we were half way through the jar and then I didn’t want it to end. 🙂

Liz Posmyk - Loving the home grown asparagus, Krista! Awesome! And that marmalade… yum!

Anna Johnston - Oooooo… The asparagus council sent me some of the seasons first spears, holy bajinkas they were tasty. 🙂
Def saving your recipe, lemon marmalade. #drool
I do hope you are having a wonderful fun filled week my friend. Bring on the long weekend. xox

Jackie Smith - Oh my what a lovely breakfast to start the day; that plate almost screams, “Springtime!!!”

Joanne (eats well with others) - What gorgeous simple meals! I’m sure the marmalade is full of vibrant fresh flavor.

budgetjan - I don’t pour the whole jug on one bottle,lol – I move it around so each bottle gets a dose, then refill jug, boil and repeat.

budgetjan - I’ve not heard of the turning upside down overnight trick. I have developed my own way of ensuring a good seal. I tighten the lids immediately after bottling and place the filled bottles on the kitchen sink. I usually have about 20 bottles. I boil the jug and pour boiling water over each lid till the water runs out. I boil the jug twice more and do the same thing. As the bottles cool you can hear the lids sealing with a pop. The only thing is they are quite hard to open. 🙂 To open I run them under hot water then tap the side of the lid against a hard timber surface (best not to let husband see me doing this against the timber kitchen bench, lol.)

Hotly Spiced - How lovely to be able to go outside and harvest some eggs and asparagus and make yourself a wonderful, nutritious lunch. I do love asparagus at this time of year and we eat it almost daily but I have to go to the shops and buy mine! I love the look of your bush lemon marmalade and love how this is a simple recipe xx

mlleparadis - you make it sound so easy. i’m intimidated by the sterilizing jars part tho i know i’ve done it at least once in the very distant past. the pic of of the asparagus in the roasting pan is just stunning. can’t wait for the book!


Rosa - Delicious food and wonderful marmalade!

Have a great spring!



Krista - I think you would like it very much, @kimlivlife:disqus It’s so bright and cheery both in color and flavor. 🙂

Kim - Liv Life - Oh my goodness… I can only imagine the beautiful lemonyness!! I love everything lemon, but I’ve never actually had a marmalade. Our tree produces nearly year round. I need to do this!

Krista - Hooray for cooler air, Velva. 🙂 I am basking in warmer air, so happy to not be cold anymore. 🙂 A 3-day process sounds exhausting! I hope this one works well for you next season. 🙂

Velva-Tomatoes on the Vine - I am going to save this recipe. I made marmalade last seasonw ith my Meyer lemons and it was a 3-day process. I like this one so much better. As you know, we are working opposite seasons and I am getting ready o ring in some cooler air-so ready!

Happy spring to you!

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