Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Lime Bonanza: Marmalade, Jam, Syrup, Juice...

Forward: Thank you all so much for your resounding encouragement to publish some of the blog posts I wrote last year but somehow never hit "publish." This is the first of several! I wrote this last year, but it's well-timed because our lime tree is going full throttle at this very moment. I've given away huge boxes of limes, and plan to start another batch of marmalade this afternoon. I hope you enjoy the post! 

We have a really lovely lime tree, and it goes through these phases where it just pumps out SO MANY LIMES. In the "olden days," I used to bring huge boxes of limes into my yoga classes and share them with my students. But this year, everything was shut down.. and there were literally limes raining down upon us. I can't stand watching good food go to waste, so I got busy! I did lots of new things that I'd never done before, and made a few old favorites. 

First up, Lime Marmalade!

One project I did make time for was a big batch of my Lime Marmalade - ripe fruit waits for no man, and pandemic-or-not, it was time to get cookin'. I use two different varieties of limes from our trees: Bearrs Limes (which look like lemons) and Calamondin Limes (which look like tiny tangerines). Together they make a really wonderful marmalade! I use this recipe every time, but I reduce the sugar quite a bit, and just boil a bit longer to get a good set. This was a late-night project, and it was so fun to set out all the jars in the backyard for their big photoshoot and see how beautiful they are. Marmalade tastes amazing and is also so beautiful.

All in a day's work. 

For a while there, I could pick up at least this many limes (and a few oranges) every couple days. These are just the ones that fell off the tree onto the ground! 

lime juice ice cubes!

One easy thing I did was make two batches of lime juice cubes. The funny thing about our lime tree is that it goes through these phases of overwhelming abundance, and then long stretches where the tree is busy making a new batch of limes. So, these ice cubes will be good to have when the limes are gone, whenever a recipe calls for fresh lime juice. 

Juicing up the Wazoo

The first couple batches I did, I didn't even bother doing anything productive with these lime peels. Later, I learned that I could have dried them in the dehydrator and made lime powder!! I really look forward to doing that NEXT TIME. 

I filled several large jars full of juice... and then I had to put it all to use! 


So, I went on a serious canning rampage!  I made:

~ Straight-Up Canned Lime Juice: I had never done this before. I just brought the lime juice to a boil, canned it (in tiny jars), and boiled the jars for 5-10 minutes. So easy! This is cool because they're shelf-stable and won't take up value covid-hoarding space in the freezer like the lime juice cubes. 

~ Lime Syrup: This was another new one for me! I looked at a few recipes online and ended up doing 3 cups lime juice to 2 cups sugar. Bring to a boil, simmer until the sugar is totally dissolved, can it up, and boil the jars for 10 minutes. I love this stuff! Limeade on demand, all year long! I've been adding a little teaspoon or two to my fizzy water, and it's great. The limes are finally slowing down, but I think I'll make another batch of this before they stop entirely, because it's really nice! 

~ Blueberry Lime Jam: Yet another new-to-me recipe! There are several blueberry-lime jam recipes out there, and in the end I used this recipe. I recently found a cool neighbor who sells blueberries - (and honestly this jam doesn't use that many limes) - so this was really a fun project. I'll probably keep 1 jar for use and give some away for xmas gifts. 

~ and ... I made another HUGE double batch of marmalade! This time I used the Bearrs Limes, the Calamondin limes, and about a half pound of Meyer lemons. Oh my gosh, just look at all those beautiful jars of goodness. I've already given several jars away, and some will be xmas gifties too. I could seriously look deep into the eyes of marmalade forever. It's so pretty.

Dried Limes!!!

Huge props to my friend and yoga student Carol for suggesting that since I love Persian food so much, I might try my hand at making dried limes! I can't believe it had never occurred to me to make these. I just assumed they would be made with some special limes or something. NOPE! I watched a few youtube videos - and they were easy to make. Blanch the limes in salted water for 90 seconds. Cool in freezer or ice water. Set outside until shriveled and blackened. We were having a little heat spell, so my limes spent the first couple days outside drying. For better or for worse, Coastal California isn't quite as dry and toasty as the desert climate of Iran, so the fog rolled in and I finished drying my limes in two overnight stints at 170F in the oven. So cool! 

I love the funky flavor that dried limes impart, and I'm pretty thrilled to have my own homemade batch on hand. I have a couple recipes bookmarked to put them to use soon. 

Candied Citrus Peel!

I also made a big batch of candied peels - mostly limes, a few oranges from our orange tree, a grapefruit, and a couple pomelos too. It was a fun project and I canned the syrup from boiling the peels afterwards too. You can't really tell, but this is a BIG ziplock full of candied peels. I'll be able to munch on these, and also use them in baked goods. Yum.

So, there you have it! There are just a few limes left now... so I'll use them wisely, and get to work on other culinary projects in the meantime. All this canning and lime-ing was a nice duty to have during the most stressful shelter-in-place days... but I'm also a little relieved to be done with all those limes coming out of my ears!!! 


  1. Oh I love all the things you have done! And the different type of limes! We have exactly one type of lime available here. (Well, I guess sometimes you can also get finger limes, but they are their own thing). Our neighbour has a lime tree and when it is flourishing will bring us bags and bags of limes. I can't get through them all! I mostly use them in baking, freezing as ice cubes like you have, and also I will just freeze more of the juice in jars and some of the zest in a zip lock bag. I'd love to do projects like you do, I am just so scared of canning, I am convinced I will kill everyone with botulism.

    I am just totally inviting myself to your house when the world is an open place again for some canning fun times.

  2. Wow, I'm super impressed at all of the ways you used the limes! I agree that I'd just hate to see them go to waste. You got really creative, and that marmalade especially looks delicious. How did your dried limes end up doing in dishes? What did you make? I'm really glad you decided to hit publish on these posts!

  3. So the question, is, you wrote this post last year- have you gone through all the marmalade, lime syrup, lime juice, etc. or is there still some left?
    This is a great post, and I agree with Susan- I'll be over to your house soon for a lime feast!


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