My sister, Robyn, asked me to make Key Lime Jelly, so I saw some key limes at the store and thought that I would surprise her with a nice jar of marmalade. I have never made marmalade, but I was confident that I would be just as successful with making IT as I was with my jellies and jams. Yeah...right.
Have you ever tried to peel a key lime with a paring knife? First of all, they are slightly larger than a silver dollar. Even my small hands were gigantic, compared to the lime I was struggling with. I finally decided to score the skin and try to peel it that way. That worked, thank goodness.
Julienning that tiny little piece of skin while trying not to slice off the tip of my finger was interesting. Clearly, I need to work on my knife skills. After the ninth lime, I just took my butcher knife and hacked the rest of the skin into pieces and decided to make only half of the batch.
Next came the fun part of separating the fruit from the membrane and the seeds. Remember when I said it was a little larger than the size of a silver dollar? Yeah...envision that. I had to take out my reading glasses to see the sections! So out came the tiniest knife I had and I slowly began to scrape out the fruit. I kept thinking to myself that there had to be a better way. Pulp was everywhere. I had juice running down my arm, it was all over the countertop and cabinets. I think I even had some pulp on my face. It was a mess.
Two hours had passed since I peeled my first key lime and I was tired. I finally sectioned out the last key lime, combined it with the cut up skin and some water, and left it to sit overnight. Then I cleaned up the mess.
The next day, I awoke to cheerfully get started on the marmalade. It was a new day, right? Things would be better, right? Ummm...no.
I combined the fruit and skins with more water and sugar and set it to boil on the stove while I set out the jars that I would need. The recipe called for medium heat, so I set the stove on that and got a spoon to taste the soupy mixture.
I dipped my spoon in and got some of the liquid, then tasted it. Now I love lime...my favorite drink is a mojito...but this was really bitter. It made me realize why I am not fond of marmalade! I added a little salt to try to cut the bitterness, but it only helped a little. I hoped that the cooking process would take off the edge.
So I waited for the marmalade to gel up. And waited. And waited. I turned up the heat a little and finally, it began to look like it was thickening up. I did the plate test and it passed, so I took it off the burner. I stirred down the foam and the marmalade looked bad. Really bad. I knew that there was no way this was making it out of my house.
While everything else that I have made has been wonderful and smooth tasting, this stuff is...ummm...inedible. Sticky and thick, with strips of brown skin that resembled caramelized onions, it looked more like key lime caramel than it did the wonderful, smooth limey blend that I pictured.
Needless to say, it will not be in my product list.