Key Lime Clove Hibiscus Marmalade
2 lbs prepared Key Limes
4 c filtered water or equal to the prepared limes
1.5-2lbs organic evaporated cane sugar (depending on how tart you like it)
1 TSBP Whole cloves
1/4 cup Dried culinary hibiscus
reserved seeds from limes
1 tsp Kosher salt
Day 1. Scrub limes well, cut ends off top and bottom and slice lengthwise into 4 sections. Remove center pith and discard. Remove seeds and reserve in a small bowl. Thinly slice sections, cross-wise, and transfer to a quart measuring cup, trying to save as much juice as possible. (I use a cutting board for carving roasts with a juice channel.) Measure amount of limes and juice.
Measure out an equal amount of filtered water into a medium saucepan. Make a packet of seeds, dried culinary hibiscus and cloves tied in a gauze bag and add to pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let steep for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours.
Strain water into a measuring cup, squeezing all of the liquid from the gauze bag, then discard. (Be careful. Hibiscus is a natural dye and will turn anything it comes in contact with pink, including your clothes and fingers.) Add additional filtered water to bring volume back up to original amount if necessary. Return water to the saucepan, add limes and juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, skimming foam if necessary. Turn off heat, allow to come to room temperature, then cover and allow to sit at room temperature overnight.
Day 2. If canning, prepare canner, jars and lids
Put a plate in the freezer. Measure lime mixture. Transfer mixture to a large saucepan or small stockpot. Add salt. Measure an equal amount of sugar unless you find that too sweet. Add sugar 1/2 cup at a time, allowing the marmalade to come to a boil in between additions. Once all the sugar is added, boil, stirring frequently until the marmalade reaches the gel point, or 8 degrees higher than boiling water on your thermometer for your altitude (220 degrees F at sea level). Test a sample by putting a bit on the frozen plate and return it to the freezer just long enough for it to cool. Then push it with your finger. If you get ripples or wrinkles it has reached the gel point. Taste a cooled sample of marmalade during cooking to adjust sugar, if desired. Boil one extra minute once you have reached the gel point, then remove from heat.
Allow marmalade to sit, cooling, for a few minutes. It should start gelling quite quickly. Stir down the pieces of fruit. Fill hot, sterilized jars to 1/4-inch headspace, wipe rims, affix lids, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Be aware that your marmalade will be pink because of the hibiscus. Yep. Pink Lime Marmalade.