Bubbly Meyer Marmalade

Tonight is the last episode of Season 2 of Downton Abbey. I know: I’m sad too. It went by so fast! Alas, the war, and the season, is over my friends, and we have nothing to do but contemplate the long, dreary, Downton-less months until Season 3 (with Shirley MacLaine! Shirley and Maggie, throwing down 1920’s style. I can hardly wait.) So what do I, a lowly food blogger with neither manor house, liveried servants, nor fabulous peacock-feathered hats, have to offer you as consolation for this terrible loss? Why, marmalade, of course!

Meyer lemon champagne marmalade, to be exact. Meyer lemons, because only the most cheerful, sunshiny and exotically flavored fruit will suffice to haul us out of the Downton Abbey doldrums. Champagne, because only the most bubbly, crisp, and celebratory of libations can convince us that one day, in the not-too-distant future, good things will happen. Gowns will be donned. Intrigue will abound. Eyes will be rolled. Oh yes, they will.

This, however, is not the Dowager Countess’ marmalade: “Champagne? In marmalade? Good heavens. And what is this fruit? An orange? A lemon? Why doesn’t it make up its mind?” Oh no, give Violet good old British marmalade (made with Spanish Seville oranges, naturally) every time. No, this one strikes me as right up Lady Mary’s alley: “Convention be damned! If I want to make passionate love to a beautiful Turkish gentleman drink my bubbly and eat it too, what you have to say on the subject certainly won’t stop me.” But make no mistake: this marmalade is Downton-worthy. Sweet, but not overly so, perfectly set, lemony and bright, and just ever so bubbly. Mrs. Patmore would be appalled but Sybil would remind us that the world is changing: and any world that includes Bubbly Meyer Marmalade is one worth living in.

So enjoy the last episode this evening, fellow Downton lovers. Then brew up a strong pot of tea, break out the bubbly meyer marm, and invite some friends over. September will be here before you know it!


Bubbly Meyer Marmalade


  • 1 lb Meyer lemons, preferably organic
  • filtered water
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp champagne or other crisp white wine, divided
  • 12 oz (1 and 1/2 cups) sugar (organic white beet sugar)


  1. Day 1. Scrub fruit well. Slice into quarters, remove the middle, pithy seam and seeds (reserve pith & seeds). Slice each section cross-wise into thin strips, transferring fruit to a large measuring cup as you go, trying to capture all of the juice. Measure out an equal volume of filtered water. Transfer sliced fruit to a wide stockpot or preserving pan. Collect the seeds and pith into a tea ball or cheesecloth bag and add to the pan. Add the water, cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, and stir in champagne. Transfer fruit mixture to a bowl, cover and store in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Day 2. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
  3. Bring fruit mixture to a boil over high heat. Add sugar, stirring until it dissolves. Allow to boil vigorously, stirring minimally, until the marmalade reaches the set point: 220 degrees F on an accurate thermometer (or 8 degrees above the temperature of boiling water), about 20 minutes. Allow to boil at 220 degrees for 1 minute. Remove from heat, ball/bag of seeds + pith, and stir in 2 tbsp champagne (slightly flat champagne may be best here). Allow foam to subside, then ladle hot marmalade into hot jars to 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe rims, affix lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Yields 2 and 1/2 cups.


  1. While you’re waiting for Downton Abbey’s third season, you may just have to content yourself with Pride & Prejudice. Oh, Mr. Darcy!


Canned, in a cool dark spot, for up to 1 year.




  1. Photos are stunning and this marmalade looks really, really good. I have NEVER done marmalade–this really makes me want to try it. I will be picking citrus today for an Orange and Sour Sop Jam, just maybe I will put some aside and try this!

  2. Someone I know may or may not have watched the last episode pirate-style last week because she couldn’t wait. Not ME, or course. I’ll watch it again tonight…er, I mean for the first time. Speaking of bubbly wine, have you tried vinho verde (Portuguese green wine)? Trader Joe’s carries it, and I bet it would go well with quince. Can you make quince jam?

  3. How charming! And the marmalade looks so delicious. As the minutes until the finale/Christmas special count down… and, good heavens, I made marmalade all weekend myself!

    • If you guys were closer, I would totally institute Downton Abbey Night at my place: we could watch all the old episodes, stretching them out every 2 weeks or so would just about bring us to September and Season 3! Of course, at that point we would need to fly to London and watch it on ITV. 🙂

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    • Hi Miranda,

      Thanks for catching that: the seedss + pith should be added to the preserve, in a tea ball or cheesecloth bundle, for a little pectin boost. I guess I got so carried away with Downton Abbey love that I forgot that step! Corrected now.


  5. Amanda

    Question for you – what was the final consistency? I just made this yesterday and mine is definitely runny. I am wondering if its something I did wrong or if there’s just variety in the natural pectin levels. Thanks!

  6. Hi Amanda,

    The set on mine was quite good: about like a commercial jelly, or if anything, a tiny bit on the firm side. So it could be just the varying pectin levels in fruit; also, older/more ripe fruit tends to have lower pectin amounts, so if you caught Meyers at the tail end of the season, that could be it. Let your jars sit for a week or two before you make your final judgement: you may find that they set up over time.

  7. We have this in the canner right now! The last tid-bits that we tasted from the pot are amazing!! I am still grieving the end of Downton (for now!), hopefully this will help get me through until Season 3. 🙂

  8. Theresa

    I made a quadruple batch over the weekend. Processed them yesterday and had wonderful pings on all my jars. But, the jam is not setting! I see your comment above to Amanda. I’m willing to wait a week to see if they set but if they don’t what are my options? Open the jars back up and reprocess with some pectin? And, if so do I need new lids?

    • Hi Theresa,

      Unless you need to use or gift the jars soon, I would wait at least a few weeks, perhaps a month, to really give your jars time to set. (There is no harm in waiting and you may save yourself some work.) If they still are not set to your liking, then yes, I would open the jars, pour all the contents back into the pot, add some pectin (you can see instructions for making homemade citrus pectin from citrus peels here: https://localkitchenblog.com/2012/01/23/what-to-do-with-citrus-peel/) and re-process using clean jars and new lids.

      For future reference, I think you could safely double this batch, but a quadruple batch is a quite large batch of marmalade and batch size does have an effect on not only cooking time and flavor but the set of jams & preserves. My recommendation, were you to attempt this recipe again, would be to try two, double-size batches, instead of one quadruple batch.

      Hope that helps,

      • Theresa

        Thank you for the info! So couple more questions:
        1. Can I move them if I’m going to let them sit for a month after I wait the 24 hour period?
        2. And, If I do open all the jars back up then do you advise separating it into two pots then also? It never crossed my mind that multiplying the recipe would effect the setting!
        3. And, any idea of how much pectin to add? The marmalade that didn’t fit into my jars is in the refrigerator and it is quite liquidy.

        • Yes, you can move them to a storage area. Just try to be careful and not shake them a whole lot as you move them. It might be best, if you have to re-process, to do it in 2 batches. Not only should it reach the set-point more quickly in a smaller batch size, but you can test out a certain amount of pectin and see how that works for you; then adjust if needed for the second batch. As for the amount of pectin… how did you check the set on the first batch? Thermometer, plate test, spoon test? If your leftover amount in the fridge is still quite liquidy, it sounds like it may have been under-cooked. I’m not really used to working with commercial pectin, but if you were to make citrus pectin, I would say to start with a 1/2 cup for 2 lbs of fruit (or half of your large batch).

          • Theresa

            I used a thermometer and took it to 220 degrees and then kept it there for 1 minute. It did take forever to get it to the 220 but I figured because it was such a huge batch. And the membranes definitely dissolved in the cooking liquid and the peels are soft. The stuff in the frig is thinner than honey. I haven’t made jelly in 20 years, and never marmalade, so I didn’t remember about the wrinkle test (plate test) until this morning when I saw things were not set-up and started researching on the internet. Well, lesson definitely learned! I had one of those huge paint buckets full of meyer lemons to use up and got carried away. I’ll definitely spread it across multiple batches instead of one huge one next year.

            • Well, I tend to rely on my thermometer as well, but sometimes I do a couple of tests, just to make sure. And no doubt marmalade can be finicky, and as you saw, another reader had issues with the set as well, so perhaps I just had super-pectin-rich lemons this year. I’m cooking off a double-batch of this myself tomorrow, so I’ll report back on the set once it’s done.

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