Minute Marmalade

Jam from the microwave.

Want to make jam when you’re, um, in a jam for time?

This no-fuss, no-mess, no-time-at-all recipe allows you to do just that — with help from your microwave.

My good friend and fellow Bay Area food writer Beth Hensperger has just come out with her latest cookbook, “Not Your Mother’s Microwave Cookbook” (Harvard Common Press) that will have you looking at this common appliance in a whole new way.

Let’s face it — most of us use our microwave oven primarily for reheating leftovers. But it can do so much more, as evidenced by Hensperger’s book. Roast peanuts? Yup. Toast coconut? For sure. Dry fresh pasta? You bet. Dry fresh herbs? But, of course.

You’ll even find a microwave version of my Dad’s “Foil-Wrapped Chicken” in the book, of which I just received a review copy. Only, this version is safe for the microwave because it uses parchment paper instead.

All it takes is two Meyer lemons, one orange, some sugar and some corn syrup.

Her microwave “Orange Marmalade” takes just minutes to make. You can even turn it into “Meyer Lemon-Orange Marmalade” as I did, and add fresh chopped thyme for a twist. This easy recipe is a boon to those who have citrus trees in their yards and are trying to find new ways to use that bounty at this time of year.

The sliced fruit — both peel and flesh — gets chopped in a food processor. Pour it into a Pyrex measuring cup, add sugar and a dash of light corn syrup. Zap in the microwave for a couple minutes, transfer to a jar and allow to cool. That’s it.

The lemons and an orange pulverized in a food processor.

Adding the sugar.

Albeit the consistency isn’t exactly like that of a very jelled jam; it’s more like a thick puree, which I kind of like. It’s fab spread on bread, biscuits, scones and toasted pound cake. What I especially adore is the bright, zingy taste. This is one jam where the freshness hasn’t been cooked out of it. You can still taste the lively citrus. And who can resist that?

Meyer Lemon-Orange Marmalade with Thyme

(Makes about 1 cup)

1 navel orange (preferably organic), unpeeled, scrubbed, and quartered

2 Meyer medium-size lemons, washed, cut into sixteenths, and seeded

2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only


Light corn syrup

Place orange, lemon slices and thyme in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until reduced to 1/4-inch pieces.

Transfer to a 2-quart Pyrex measuring cup. Note the amount and add an equal amount of sugar; stir. Note the amount and add 1 tablespoon corn syrup, which will prevent crystallization during cooling, per cup of orange-sugar mixture.

Microwave, uncovered on HIGH for 2 minutes. Microcook on LOW (10 percent power) or DEFROST for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is slightly thickened and the peel is tender. Be careful not to overcook. The mixture should fall from a spoon in thick drops.

Transfer to a storage jar. Let stand to room temperature; the mixture will continue to thicken as it cools. You can store the marmalade in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Variation: Orange Marmalade — Omit the lemons and thyme. Place quartered orange in the bowl of a food processor and follow remaining directions.

Adapted From “Not Your Mother’s Microwave Cookbook” by Beth Hensperger

More: How to Make Potato Chips in the Microwave

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