Introduction: Lemon Jamaica Chili Marmalade
Start with 10-12 lemons (I used regular Lemons, bought from Costco in 5# bag; you can use Meyer Lemons. Cut each lemon into quarters; remove all seeds and internal white pith...SAVE aside.
Cut each quarter into thin slices--easiest to do this from flesh side vs. skin side.
Step 1: What to Do With Pith?
Put all pith/seeds/trim into cheesecloth "bag" (if you have large tea ball you can use that also); tie with string, tightly, so that nothing comes out. The pith acts like natural pectin. You'll put this in the pot with the fruit to add the pectin needed for making the jam.
Step 2: Other Ingredients...
Jamaica (Hibiscus) flowers (you can find in health food/natural food stores--OR Mexican markets where they are much cheaper ;) ...I used 2 cups dried flowers; make a "tea" with hot water...using 4 cups water; let steep about 1/2 - 3/4 hour; drain. Add to lemons and 'pith ball' to large pot.
FIVE dried or fresh habanero chilis--DO NOT USE MORE--soak if dried in water until softened; chop fine...this doesn't look like a lot but it packs a fire-hot punch.
Step 3: Prep Steps for Canning
Sterilize canning jars (I used 1/4 and 1/2 pint size); I sterilize in dishwasher and you can just use very hot water--be sure to use soap!; fill water in canning pot, fitted with rack at bottom, 1/2 to 3/4 way up size of pot; bring water to boil--turn off and hold until jam is cooked through.
Step 4: Cooking Marmalade
Cook the lemons, jamaica tea, and chilis in pot for 20-30 minutes (bring to boil and then reduce to rolling simmer); add sugar (6 cups...check for sweetness; jamaica is sour so with lemons you'll need more sugar than you might think) and cook 40-60 minutes at rolling simmer until lemon marmalade reaches soft-jell state (220-225 degrees...use candy thermometer to check OR when small teaspoon of jam "drips" off spoon).
Step 5: Prepare for Canning
Put canning lids and rims into boiling water to bring up to temperature.
Fill jars to 1/2 inch below top. Clean tops of jars. Put lids and rims on jars, tighten just to secure; place into canning pot making sure water is 2 inches above all jars; Bring pot up to boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove jars to rack to cool...check tops; all jars should "pop" indicating they have sealed. IF any jars "flex" when you press on middle of lid this means the jars have not sealed--simply put those into the refrigerator to eat now--I had some leftover which I didn't even bother to seal as I know we'll eat this.
(If you have never water bath canned fruit, preserves or jam, go to the Ball Jar site http://www.freshpreserving.com/tools/waterbath-can... for complete instructions)
Step 6: All Done!
I ended up with 12 - 1/4 pint jars and 8 - 1/2 pint jars...oh and a little leftover for us!!
Lemon Jamaica Chili Marmalade is great with crackers & cream cheese as appetizer; as glaze on chicken or pork or on toast in the morning...a little kick with the chili!
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