Lady marmalade

by Patricia on May 5, 2009 · 15 comments

If someone gave you seven homegrown, fresh-picked grapefruit, what would you do?  Thank them of course, but after that?  If you were me, you would make marmalade.  Not because marmalade is your favorite jam-like substance.  Not because grapefruit is your favoritest citrus fruit.  No.  You would make marmalade because you’ve been obsessed over home-canning and thought it would be a perfect gateway drug.  Yes!  I’m weird, I can’t help it.  I’ve had it in my mind that I wanted to make jam and pickles and can them myself.  I want to have a shelf lined with homey jars filled with homemade preserves made from fresh fruits from the farmers market and friends’ fruit trees.

Grapefruit marmalade
Thanks to this bounty of grapefruit, I have a modest start to filling that shelf.  One of Dan’s coworkers has a grapefruit tree and bestowed upon him a bag full of grapefruit.  This is what is left after round 1 of marmalade-ing…


That’s dirt on them. I scrubbed them clean before using them.  Can you imagine finding dirt on fruit at a grocery store?  All of the fruit and veggies are so *clean*.  I am generally a fan of clean, but dirt is natural and its nice to sometimes have fruit with a little dirt on it to remind me it really is from the earth and not manufactured somewhere.

Grapefruit marmalade

If you take a close look at those jars, you’ll see dark specs.  That’s not dirt.  No, that’s the seeds scraped from a vanilla bean.  When I decided to make marmalade, I did a search for grapefruit marmalade.  I found several recipes, but this one on Desert Candy caught my eye.  “Pink Grapefruit Marmalade with Vanilla”.  The combination of tart and the heady vanilla sweetness piqued my curiosity.  And I just love the way vanilla beans speckle everything.


I have to say, the flavor did not disappoint.  It’s tart.  It’s sweet. It’s bright.  Is bright a flavor? I don’t like bitter marmalades and this one has a tang without the bitter bite.  I blanched the grapefruit peel twice to remove the bitterness and it actually worked!

Grapefruit marmalade

While I don’t think I could improve the flavor, the consistency is a bit runny.  I’m not sure if that is because I did not cook it long enough to get to the gel point or if the grapefruit didn’t have enough pectin?  I may try to cook it again to see if I can get it to gel.  Even if it doesn’t, all of this marmalade will be eaten… most likely with a spoon.  Or on toast, if you insist.

Grapefruit marmalade

I had toast with grapefruit marmalade for dinner tonight. And while it was not the most balanced of meals, it was delicious.

Something that is decidedly not delicious though: lime marmalade.  At least not the stuff I made.  I got so excited about the whole popping sounds that the lids made when sealing shut on the grapefruit marmalade that I wanted more.  More! So those poor helpless limes on my counter got chopped and boiled into a “marmalade”.  Maybe someone else would like it but it is too bitter for me.  And limey.  Yes, I know. Duh, it’s lime marmalade.   I do like lime, just maybe not in my marmalade.  Margarita? Yes. Marmalade? Not so much.  Maybe the peel needed to be blanched to remove the bitterness?  It looks pretty in the jars at least…

Lime marmalade

Grapefruit Marmalade with Vanilla Bean
(adapted from Desert Candy)
3 large grapefruits
3 cups water
4 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1. Cut the peel from the grapefruit leaving most (but not all) of the white pith on the fruit. Slice the peel into thin strips.

2. Place peel in a pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Once it starts to boil, remove from the heat and cover.  Let it sit for about 20 minutes. Drain and repeat.

3. Cut off all of the white pith from the fruit.  Working over a bowl or a large pot, cut the sections of the fruit (cutting between the membranes to only take the fleshy fruit).  Squeeze as much juice from the membranes as you can. (Discard all seeds).

4. Add the peel and sectioned fruit (with juice) to a large pot.  Add the water and sugar.  Bring to a boil and stir to combine.

5. Lower the heat to a low simmer.  Cook until the marmalade is thick and translucent (about one hour? I’m not too sure about the timing since my marmalade is still runny.  I’ll update the recipe if/when I figure it out).

6. Add the vanilla bean seeds and simmer another five minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.

7.  Ladle this into jars, wipe the rims clean, and tighten the lids.  You could store this in the refrigerator like this and eat it. Or process the jars in a hot water canner for 10 minutes.


1 kyndra March 21, 2012 at 9:25 am

Ok, great! Thank you…Im gonna can some this weekend :0) Cant wait!!

2 kyndra March 20, 2012 at 1:06 pm

ok great! Thank you…I also meant to tell & ask….my recipe calls for red grapefruit but I have a yellow grapefruit tree…those will do right? & taste just fine right? :)

3 Patricia March 21, 2012 at 9:23 am

I think it should be fine. The red grapefruit are sometimes sweeter so maybe do a taste test when you add the sugar? That’s what I’d do anyway :)

4 kyndra March 20, 2012 at 11:37 am

So i have almost the same exact recipe but the one I have calls for 1/2 pkg of pectin…thats the only difference. I see you dont have pectin listed….Im new at this….so should I use the pectin or not?

5 Patricia March 20, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Without the pectin the marmalade was a little runny so maybe try the 1/2 pkg of pectin? It should make it firmer. Hope that helps and look forward to hearing out it turns out!

6 kyndra March 20, 2012 at 11:35 am

about four 8oz jars

7 Karen January 16, 2012 at 9:58 pm

How many jars does this recipe make??

8 Miko April 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Hi’ya! I’m a recent marmalade convert and have decided that this year I’m going to make my own batch that’s none too sweet and will hopefully have the right texture. Your recipe sounds delish, so I’ll give it a go!

In reading numerous pages on web and in books, they all state that the membranes and seeds should be cooked with the juice since citrus naturally has high amounts of pectin. The seeds and membranes should be placed in a small muslin bags or 3 or 4 layers of cheesecloth and placed in the cooking pot. Once it jells to the consistency of your liking, you can easily discard the pectin producing bits by removing the bag.
…but who knows how helpful this info is since this recipe was posted almost 2 years ago!

Buon Appetito!

9 Adrienne July 14, 2009 at 11:48 am

What’s a fried biscuit? I’m Australian and we call cookies biscuits. I can’t imagine what a fried biscuit could be.

10 pixen May 11, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Ooo goodie, I haven’t try making any marmalade or jams,etc. I think this is a good start to learn from. Thank you for sharing this interesting recipe. Do you think is there any difference taste between the usual White Grapefruit and Pink Grapefruit? My family preferred Pink Grapefruit.

11 Bread and Jam May 6, 2009 at 4:42 pm

I am so excited to try this! I’m going to pass this on to my sister as well. I always say I’m going to make my own marmalade but never have. Your post has me sold. I am picturing it on some scones…..

12 Patricia May 6, 2009 at 5:46 am

@yakayaka – I’m looking forward to the summer berries. I hope to make some strawberry jam, maybe raspberry too :) I’ll let you know if I figure out how to get the marmalade from coming out runny.

@Melissa – Marmalade was never my favorite but somehow in the last year I’ve started to like it more. I still don’t like the really bitter ones though. It’s still not my favorite but I do like it now. Maybe it was that trip to London last summer? ;)

13 Melissa May 5, 2009 at 10:23 am

I’m not a big fan of marmalade, but I do love canning. It is certainly a labor of love. Being a midwest girl, you’ll find me canning apple butter in the fall. Nothing says fall like apple butter on a fried biscuit!

14 yakayaka May 5, 2009 at 10:10 am

I tried jam making last year, and the raspberry ones came out perfect, but when i tried lime marmalade it was runny too, so then i cooked it a bit more and then it became hard and really quite nasty, i had to throw it all out. So i think it’s probably the amount of pectine that’s the issue.

your bottles look far nicer than mine!

can’t wait to try this maramalade recipe out.

keep up the great posts!

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