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The other day my in-laws came home with a big bag full of these huge lemons, freshly picked from some friend’s garden. And obviously they offered me as many as I wanted. So what do you do with kilos of lemons? Why, make limoncello, of course!
First you need to wash about 10 lemons (fewer if they’re big ones) very well with a vegetable brush and let them dry completely. Put 1/2 liter of pure alcohol in a 1 1/2 liter container that seals hermetically. With a potato peeler peel off the peel, trying not to get much of the white part underneath, and put it in, being careful to keep all the peels covered by alcohol. Leave it closed for about 15 days in a cool dark place.
And here people have their variations. I don’t like sweet limoncello, but I honestly can’t remember if the recipe I have written is the one I changed for my tastes or the original. In any case, after the 15 days of infusion, you make a syrup, boiling 1 liter of water and 800 gr. (28 oz) of sugar for 15 minutes. Let it cool.
Filter the infusione with the peels with a gauze pad and put it with the syrup in that hermetical container (see, there was a reason for using that huge container!) and leave it for about 5 days to let it deposit residue. Then pour it into a bottle with a funnel, filtering it again with gauze. You can use it after just a month, but it will be less cloudy and much tastier if you let it sit for a year or more before drinking it. You might see a bit of black residue floating on top after a while. It doesn’t alter the flavor, but can pick it out directly with a bit of rolled-up gauze.
Another variation is to make creamy limoncello, using whole milk instead of water. If you do this, be sure to always leave it in the freezer and to use it sooner. And in both cases, make sure you use just picked lemons, or else it won’t have any flavor.
Great! But after preparing the infusion for limoncello, you have a ton of lemons, way more than you could possibly need. What to do? I decided to make a lemon and orange marmalade. Let me say first off, though, that I’ve never in my life made marmalade or been anywhere near anyone doing so. My mother-in-law gave me her recipe for orange marmalade. And reckless cook that I am, I decided to change it completely and make lemon ginger marmalade with the organic brown cane sugar Dulcita (from the CTM, not the regular brown sugar you find in the supermarket in the United States) instead of refined sugar. And I had to change the first part about soaking the fruit in water because their peels were already busy soaking for my limoncello. And I am very proud to tell you that it is so good! Here’s how I did it:
For 4 jars you need:
6 big lemons without peels (about 1200 g./42 oz.), fresh ginger root (about 30 g./1 oz.), 700 g./25 oz. brown cane sugar Dulcita (if you use another type, the amount will probably be different)
- Cut the lemons into thin strips and mince the ginger. Put it all in a pot and boil for 5-10 minutes, until there’s a good amount of liquid.
- Add the sugar and let it boil uncovered 60-80 minutes, stirring every so often, until is starts gelling a little and it doesn’t slip off the spoon as easily. It will still be liquidy, don’t worry.
- In the meantime, put your jars and caps in boiling water to sterilize them. When the marmalade is ready, put it in the jars while it’s still hot.
- When it cools, it will thicken and if you cook it too long it’ll get a bit hard. I put a bit of wax paper between the jar and the top, but it’s really not necessary.