My mom has always produced industrial quantities of limoncello. A set of tiny crystal tumblers and a lovely bohemian bottle full of the golden liqueur was a permanent installation in her living room. She did not make it for herself, she hardly ever consumed alcoholic drinks, but proudly offered it to all guests at all times of the day. Ok almost, a guest was allowed a cup of espresso if it was earlier than 11:00 a.m.
Of course I also make it for my own guests. This is the right time of the year as the best quality lemons, juicy and aromatic are available. It’s an end-of winter tradition: every year I zest, infuse and bottle. Then, I am left with lots of peeled lemons I don’t know what to do with. They sit there, naked in the fridge and eventually they go to waste.
There is only so much lemon juice one can use in March in rural Umbria. It’ is not really granita time, we’ve had snow 3 days ago. After several experiments however, I have created this naked lemons jam which is delicious on toast but also on vanilla ice cream, crostata and pannacotta
- Bring to the boil a pan of water large enough to hold all the lemons under water. Add 1 tablespoon salt per litre/quart
- Drop the whole peeled lemons in the salted water and let them boil 15 min. This will remove the bitter taste from the pith
- Strain and refresh under cold water.
- [UPDATE] Another method to remove the bitter taste is to soak the lemons in water for three days like I do for oranges. However note that because the lemons have no peel, there is obviously no need to score it. This method is a bit more work than salt-boiling but the jam is a less sharp.
- Place lemons over a cutting board and cut into small dice, pulp, pith and all. Discard seeds. Place a saucer in the freezer.
- Transfer lemons and their juice in a tall pan, add equal weight of sugar and slowly bring to the boil stirring from time to time.
- After about 30 min test for setting point. To do this, place 1/2 tsp jam on the cold saucer. If after half a minute a skin has formed, and it wrinkles, the jam is ready
- Pour the boiling hot jam into warm, sterilized jars. Seal immediately with lids and place the jars upside down on a table until cold. You can actually eat it after a couple of days but it can be stored for a year.