Lemon Vanilla Jam


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes about

    1.3 litres

Appears in

Falling Cloudberries

By Tessa Kiros

Published 2004

  • About

You must use good lemons here — I like the thin-skinned, bright ones that don’t have much white pith. This is delicious spread on toast, brioche or pancakes. I love it spooned into tiny sweet pastry cases (like the ones opposite) and served as part of a lemon platter. You could also serve a little dish of this and a dish of mascarpone cheese next to a simple sponge cake for afternoon tea. Use the jam immediately or seal it in jars where it should keep, unopened, for many months. It is best to use a lot of smaller jars because, once opened, the jam should be eaten fairly quickly.


  • 6 thin-skinned lemons, rinsed well
  • 1.25 kg (2 lb 12 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways


Cut the ends off the lemons, then slice them thinly. Remove all pips and then quarter the slices. Put them in a large, tall, heavy-based saucepan and add 1.25 litres (5 cups) water. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes–1 hour or until the lemons are soft (this may take longer if you don’t have a heavy-based pan). Make sure you cook on low heat as the water tends to splash up a bit and threaten to boil over. Watch it carefully towards the end and stir often. Add the sugar and vanilla bean and simmer uncovered for another 45 minutes–1 hour (you can add more water if it seems necessary). To test if the jam is ready, spoon a little onto a plate and tilt it. It should slide down with resistance and not just run down. If necessary, cook for longer.

If you are storing this, pour the warm jam into your sterilised jars (use a wide-necked funnel if you have one). Close the lids and turn the jars upside down, then cover them with a tea towel. Leave to cool completely before turning them upright. A vacuum should have formed on the lid. Store in a cool place and keep in the fridge once opened.