Grapefruit marmalade

July 29, 2010 § 1 Comment

Grapefruits are probably my favorite fruit, and I’ve always loved marmalade. I remember once for the holidays someone gave us mixed-citrus marmalade (not even homemade, from a store) and I was so impressed because I’d never heard of marmalade made from anything other than Seville oranges. I guess I was a weird child. Anyways, because I’m an adult now and that means spending time making stuff I like to eat, I decided to make grapefruit marmalade. The last two grapefruit from the last bag in the grocery store

have become delicious marmalade. This recipe makes very rich, very thick, and exceptionally sticky marmalade that captures the essence of grapefruit. However, if you prefer a looser marmalade, you can either loosen it with a bit of water when serving, or (riskier) don’t cook the marmalade quite to the gelling stage, i.e. canning it before that point. It should still set up a bit.

Of course, as promised, here’s a pictorial step-by-step of canning.

First, slice up the grapefruits. I used pink ones.

Separate pulp and peel, and chop up the former and thinly slice the latter. Any juice should be reserved and added to the pulp mixture. By the way, my idea of thinly sliced is not nearly as thin as you can make it, but I love grapefuits and I also love chunky marmalade so please feel free to slice way thinner than I did.

Place into two separate containers. Though obviously this was taken at the beginning of the process…and actually, now that I think about it, you can simply place the peel directly into a large stockpot (at least a five-quart-size).

To the thinly sliced peels, add four cups of water. Bring to the boil, and cook for fifteen minutes.

The peel mysteriously turns orange. I admit I was kind of hoping for pink-ish marmalade.

Anyways, drain out the water and discard. Put the peels back into the stockpot, add the pulp and juice, and then eight cups of water.

Boil the mixture for twenty minutes, and then put a lid on top of it, and set aside for eighteen to twenty-four hours. (As you can see, I was using my smaller pasta pot. I then switched to the larger stockpot because boiling something in a pot that small was not going to happen.)

On day two, gather together a really large stockpot, as big as you can find, and some canning supplies. On the far left we have the canning tongs, which are sized to pick up jars from the pot. The blue stick magnetically attached to the stockpot is the lid lifter: it’s magnetic, so it picks up the lids from the boiling water, though you can also just use some ordinary tongs. A funnel helps too, and then the green basket-thing allows all the cans to go into and out of the water at the same time. The translucent tool with the stepladder edging is used to both press away air bubbles inside a just-filled jar, in addition to measuring the space between the top edge of the jar and the contents (called headspace). If you don’t have this tool (I got it in a canning kit) use a knife to press away air bubbles, and – you guessed it – a ruler to measure the headspace.

Now, wash the jars, ring-shaped lid fasteners, and jar tops. You can either keep the jars warm in simmering water in the stockpot/canner, or keep them warm in a 250 degree Fahrenheit oven. I find it easier to keep them heated in the stockpot, since it needs to be at a simmer anyways. So, fill the stockpot with water and a few of the empty jars, and then set it to simmer (you can keep the lid on to prevent too much water from evaporating). You will also need a small saucepan for the lids – do not boil the lids, but keep just below a simmer.

Now, reboil the marmalade mixture until tender: this is the third time, for those of you keeping count at home! This takes about twenty minutes or so.

Once the peel is tender, measure the total liquid volume in the pot, and then add that many cups (using dry measure for the sugar and wet measure for the pulp/peel/water) of sugar. In this case, for about two quarts of fruit, add four cups of sugar.

Keep boiling the mixture (you may need to turn down the heat to prevent burning), as well as constantly stirring to prevent sticking. As you can see here, there’s still too much liquid, so we are not at the gelling point.

The gelling point is reached when the mixture “sheets” across the surface of the spoon, like so.

Now, remove a jar from the simmering stockpot/canner. Shake off any water. Place the funnel into the mouth of the jar, and fill with marmalade. I keep the marmalade on low heat, just to keep it warm.

Take a knife, or this handy tool from the Bell Ball (clearly, the company is missing that marketing niche of literature students) kit, and press the mixture against the sides of the jar to remove any air bubbles. Make sure that the marmalade is within 1/4 inch of the TOP lip of the jar.

Use the magnet tool or some kitchen tongs and place the canning lid shiny-side up. Using a potholder or a tea towel to hold the jar, gently twist on the canning jar-lid ring thing until fingertip tight – this means, twist until it just catches, and no more. Repeat with jars, placing filled jars into the canner (which should still be at a bare simmer) until either there’s no more space left in the canner, in which case you’ll need to do another batch and keep the marmalade warm, or you run out of marmalade. Or jars. Hopefully not that though.

Once the canner is full of filled jars, top with a lid, and let it reach a boil. Once it’s boiling, set a timer for thirteen minutes. Remove the jars and move to a place where they won’t be disturbed for at least twelve hours. As the jar lids seal, you’ll hear popping noises. Sometimes it is as soon as right away, as it was for me, but occasionally it can take longer. Once the jars have sat undisturbed for the minimum twelve hours, check for a seal by gently tapping or pressing on the center of the lid after the jar ring has been untwisted. If it has sealed properly, there should be no give.

Any extra marmalade that doesn’t fill a jar to 1/4 inch headspace can be refrigerated for two to three weeks.

Congratulations, you’ve successfully canned! Wipe off any residue around the jar if you have hard water as I do (grumble), and make sure to label the jar with the date and the contents. Enjoy within one year.

Grapefruit marmalade

Adapted from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving

Makes about three and a half to four and a half half-pints


  • One and one third cup thinly sliced grapefruit peel (from two medium grapefruit)
  • Two and two thirds cups pulp (from two medium grapefruit)
  • Twelve cups of water, divided

1. Separate pulp and peel. Chop up pulp and add juice, and then set aside in a bowl. Slice peel thinly, place in a large stockpot with four cups of water, and boil for about fifteen minutes.

2. Drain away the water. Place the peel back in the stockpot, add chopped pulp, eight cups of water, and boil for twenty minutes.

3. Replace lid on stockpot and store in a cool place for eighteen to twenty-four hours.

4. Return stockpot’s contents to the boil, and keep boiling until tender, approximately twenty minutes. Add one dry measure cup of sugar per one liquid cup of pulp and peel mixture.

5. Stir over high heat continuously until gelling point (check to see that the marmalade “sheets” on a spoon and doesn’t slide off). If you prefer, remove foam from marmalade.

6. Once the marmalade is ready, pour jam into jars, removing air-bubbles with a clean knife. Top off jars to a 1/4 inch headspace, wipe off the rim of the jar with a paper towel or tea towel, place the warmed lid on top, place a canning ring around it, and tighten until just closed, a.k.a. “fingertip tight.” Place jars into the stockpot-canner and bring to a boil. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, place the lid on the pot and set a timer for thirteen minutes.

7. Remove the jars from the canner and let sit in a cool spot for at least twelve hours. The jar lids will make a popping noise as they seal (mine popped right as I removed them from the canner). Once twelve hours have passed, check to see if the lids are sealed tightly – they should not wobble or move if a finger is pressed on the top. You can remove the rings at this point too. Rings and jars are reusable, whereas the canning lids are not. Label the jars, store in a cool, dark spot, and enjoy within one year.

8. For any extra that doesn’t fill a jar to headspace requirements, marmalade can be refrigerated. It will keep at least two to three weeks.

Note 1: not all brands of sugar are vegan, so check first to make sure that animal products are not used in processing the sugar.

Note 2: for more information on canning safety, check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation.


Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. Daleville, Indiana: Hearthmark LLC d/b/a Jarden Home Brands, 2010 (37).


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