Grapefruit Marmalade

This is Marie, contributing an article about grapefruit marmalade. I first ran across the recipe at a blog called Food in Jars. This reminds me, incidentally, that my husband has been on a tear trying to get out the message that people should not delete their blogs if they happen to lose interest in writing them, as they are a resource to others; while I have no expectation that a site as popular as this one will go down, it is nevertheless a good idea to print out any recipes you happen to run across online just in case.

I am the lone hold-out in my family in the marmalade category; it just doesn’t work well for me but the others all love the stuff as much as I love all the non-citrus jams. So when I got this obsession last summer with making jam, I had to make an honest attempt to do the marmalade thing, with all the frustrations and failed batches that entails. It’s a finicky product! This particular recipe, however, has been done three times and been successful and consistent each time; even if it weren’t one of the more popular of my attempts, I’d be making it again just because of that!

You will need the following:
8-9 sweet red grapefruit, the deeper in hue the better
2 1/2 cups sugar
reserve in case of need: one lemon
a filter of some kind, either a piece of gauze or a teabag (I have a box of empty tea filters used for loose-leaf tea that are just the perfect size)

You start with a lot of grapefruit. As the original writer mentions, because you are not using the rind in this recipe, you don’t have to worry about sourcing your fruit as carefully as you might otherwise. But before you go about cutting up your giant pile of grapefruit, make sure to have a backup source of seeds. Since most of the pectin in this recipe comes from the grapefruit seeds, you will want to save each and every one. If by chance you get a batch that is less seedy than most, you will also want to have a lemon nearby to scavenge the seeds from and add to your pile.

The really wonderful thing about grapefruit is that it is very forgiving. Unlike, say, ripe peaches which will turn into squishy, fruit-fly covered messes if you don’t tackle them right away, grapefruit can wait until you have a convenient moment. So if you have purchased a 30-lb box from your friend’s neighbor’s cousin’s school fundraiser, this is what you can do with them after you’ve had lovely fresh grapefruit for breakfast 4 days running and no longer want any!

Set up your canner with 4 half pint or 2 pint jars.Make sure your jars and lids are clean, as always.

The first thing to do is to cut off the peel from the main body of the fruit with a very sharp knife, working from a large cutting board so you don’t lose any of the juice or seeds. Don’t worry too much about cutting precisely at the edge of the rind, as you can very easily squeeze juice out of the bits on the rind into your bowl. Make sure to get every drop! Slice along the membranes and drop the sections into your bowl, pulling out any seeds.Supplement with a lemon if needed. I didn’t add the lemon juice but you can if you wish (the photo shows only the grapefruit seeds, before supplementation). Put the seeds into a teabag (without tea!) or tie them into a patch of gauze or cheesecloth. Don’t worry about cutting up or mashing the segments, as they will entirely fall apart during the cooking process.

Pour all the segments, juice and the packet of seeds into a large flat-bottomed pot. You will want some of the water to cook off, so pick a pan that is wider than it is tall. On medium heat, stir in the sugar until it dissolves, then turn the heat to high. Keep stirring until the liquid gets to 220 degrees, and use your favorite wrinkle test. The larger the number of seeds in the packet, the less time it takes to pass the wrinkle test. Make sure to pull the pot from the heat to prevent scorching while you test. Pour the mixture into your jars and process 10 minutes normally, then allow to cool. remove your rings to dry. You may not fill all the jars, depending on how long the mixture had to cook to get to a steady 220 degrees.

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