Lemon Vanilla Jam

FallingCloudberries We are thrilled that Tessa Kiros has shared some of her recipes from her wonderful cookbook/memoir, Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes (recipes reprinted with permission from Andrews McMeel Publishing).


From Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes by Tessa Kiros
Makes about 5 cups

6 thin-skinned lemons, rinsed well
6 cups superfine sugar
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise

You must use good lemons here—I like the thin-skinned, bright ones that don’t have much white pith. This is delicious spread on toast, brioche, or pancakes. I love it spooned into tiny sweet pastry cases and served as part of a lemon platter. You could also serve a little dish of this and a dish of mascarpone cheese next to a simple sponge cake for afternoon tea. Use the jam immediately or seal it in jars where it should keep, unopened, for many months. It is best to use a lot of smaller jars because once opened, the jam should be eaten fairly quickly.

Cut the ends off the lemons, then slice them thinly. Remove all seeds and then quarter the slices. Put them in a large, tall, heavy-bottomed saucepan and add 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the lemons are soft (this may take longer if you don’t have a heavy-bottomed pan). Make sure you cook on low heat as the water tends to splash up a bit and threaten to boil over. Watch it carefully toward the end and stir it often. Add the sugar and vanilla bean and simmer, uncovered, for another 45 minutes to 1 hour (you can add more water if it seems necessary). To test if the jam is ready, spoon a little onto a plate and tilt it. It should slide down with resistance and not just run down. If necessary, cook for longer.

If you are storing this, pour the warm jam into your sterilized jars (use a wide-necked funnel if you have one). Close the lids and turn the jars upside down, then cover them with a dishtowel. Let cool completely before turning them upright. A vacuum should have formed on the lid. Store in a cool place and keep in the fridge once opened.

Editor’s note: This recipe uses the HOT FILL and FLIP method of sealing. Fruit jams that have added acid (lemon juice) and fall well within a pH of 4.3 or below can be done with the hot fill and flip method. You can hot fill jams (acid fruit jams only) at home but you need to be sure your jam seals. You must fill jars with HOT jam that has just come off the stove boiling! To get a seal, the jam must be ladled into jars at no less than 190°F, the lid placed IMMEDIATELY, and the jar turned upside down. This sanitizes the underside of the lids and creates a seal. Please note the Hot Fill and Flip method is no longer approved by the USDA for home canners, although it is widely used in Europe. To be aligned with current USDA canning methods, you should either store this jam in the refrigerator or water bath process in boiling water for 10 minutes to ensure a safe seal.

Comments (3)

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    Marcy: we haven’t. We recommend that you stick with the recipe as written unless you are an experienced canner.

    I’m curious, have you tried limes? I was just given several limes and thought I’d try it.

    Easy to make and delicious! The jam can get slightly runny, but it adds to the fun. I have used it on toast, but would make a nice marinade for shrimp w/ lime as well.