How to Make Grapefruit Marmalade

About a month or two ago, a friend posted a link on her facebook wall to a blog that had a recipe for grapefruit marmalade. Being me, I did not bookmark it. Nor did I remember the exact recipe. (Nor can I find it now on google... maybe she will help me out! Chelsea?) Instead, I waited awhile to buy some grapefruit (Costco, yay!), then let them sit for another while (to get ripe, right? Right!). Then out of the blue I decided on Monday that I should totally make some grapefruit marmalade. Without google searching for a recipe. And without pectin. Because that is how I do things. Sometimes they turn out, sometimes they don't. I figured if I took pictures, I'd be able to post a tutorial, either way.

Luckily for me, this is the "Oh, yay, my grapefruit marmalade experiment worked! YUMMY!" tutorial.
(Did I mention I went to Costco for the grapefruit? And I was only going to make enough marmalade for one jar? I had grapefruit to spare! And still do... five left over! Enough for my next batch... mmmm....)

Anyway, here is my fly by the seat of my pants, DIY, totally winging it, grapefruit marmalade recipe. And it is GOOD, y'all. Like, eat it by the spoonful good!

I may be biased. But my husband ate it, too, so I don't think so...

I took 4 yellow grapefruit and peeled them. (Ruby red grapefruit would be awesome, too, but Costco had yellow, so that's what I used.)

I like the way they look all curled up like roses... maybe because I used to watch Yan Can Cook every Saturday morning on PBS as a teenager? He always made pretty embellishments like this. Pretty!

Curling them up also made it easy for me to cut the peels into strips. Next time I might cut them into matchstick pieces, though. I wanted a rustic marmalade so I went bigger, but I think I'd like them a bit smaller next time... Put the strips in a pot. Add about a half a cup of water and a cup of sugar and start it boiling. (Adjust your levels of water and sugar according to how much peel you ended up with. This is a Lexielicious recipe, I don't do exact amounts, really.)

If you add extra water, you'll just have to boil longer. If you add extra sugar it'll just be sweeter. Too little sugar is not going to caramalize. Too little water? I have no idea.You'll figure it out. I did. I actually ended up adding more sugar while it was boiling down because it didn't seem/ taste right. (I think I started with a half of a cup.) Let it come to a boil, then turn the heat down til it's boiling but not boiling over...

While your grapefruit peels are caramalizing (boiling down), start removing the flesh from the pith of your grapefruits. The pith (white part) is super bitter, so you want to get it all off! I like to eat grapefruit like oranges (removing the pith while I eat), so I'm pretty experienced in the process. Unfortunately, it's also messy as heck, so i didn't get pictures. I trust you'll be able to figure it out.

Keep stirring your peels while you're depithing the grapefruit! See how it looks at the end there? That's some caramelized peel! (I tasted it during process, which is why I added more sugar eventually. To taste, people! That's important in cooking!)

Once your peels are caramelized, you can turn the heat off them. You may still be peeling grapefruit. That's cool. The sugary peels will harden up, but once you get them warm they'll soften up again.

You can see here that I got about 3 1/2 cups of liquid and fruit from 3 of my grapefruit (and I ate the other one, in case you're wondering). It just looked right to me. (I "pureed" the grapefruit in the picture above by sticking my clean hands in and mushing the fruit up. I do not recommend doing that if you have any paper cuts. OUCH. But it's a fun sensory experience. And smells DELISH!) My grapefruit were extra juicy, I think, so I didn't need to add extra juice. (Letting them sit for a few weeks, totally a great idea!)

OK, the apple. I mentioned I didn't have any pectin, right? (And how I didn't google anything? I do not actually recommend that, btw. It's just what happened.) I somehow remembered that apple contains a lot of natural pectin. So, I thought, "Hey, I'll just add an apple, that should work, and if it doesn't I can write a "why not to be like me and use an apple in your marmalading..." Well, it turns out I was totally right! Apple contains pectin! (And actually, so does citrus peels... so I don't know why I didn't think they did. I think the original link I saw two months ago mentioned it. Though my memory is not the greatest, people...)

I couldn't remember if it was the peel or the fruit that had the most pectin, so I decided to use both. I chopped up some of the apple, used some of it whole and added it to the grapefruit juice/ fruit and peels. And then let it boil down. Eventually the apple disintegrated into the grapefruit and I pulled the peels out and ate them. YUM!

Also, add some more sugar to taste. My marmalade ended up being on the less-sweet side of things (because I like it that way, but next time I'll go for a tad bit sweeter...) and I added probably another cup or cup and a half of sugar. (I used organic sugar, btw. Which has a different consistency than regular sugar. But I don't think it matters here, though it does in cookies.)

I've now seen recipes that call for as much as five cups total for this much fruit, but that seems WAY overly sweet to me. At the most, I used three cups of sugar, and I'm guessing it was closer to two cups. I wish I'd written it down. Sorry.

So, while this is boiling, you may need to skim some foam off the top. I did (see the black bowl). It was delicious. (That was another "hmmm... how much more sugar should I add" tasting, btw. Keep tasting! I cannot stress that enough.)

I also was thinking about adding some extra flavor at this point. I didn't consider ginger, but next time I totally will add some! YUM. I adore ginger. I did add a packet of True Lime because I thought it would nicely compliment the grapefruit. (I can't really taste it in the final marmalade. Maybe next time I'll add more. Or skip it.)

These pictures show the boiling down process nicely... the marmalade takes on a richer color, sets up and gets to the right consistency. Mmmm...

And there it is. I removed the apple peels (though you don't have to. I wanted to eat them. So yummy!). If you're going to can this marmalade, you'll have boiled your jars and blah blah blah... I'm not into canning. I just wanted enough to keep in the fridge and eat. And I ended up with the perfect amount for this jar! YAY! (I had a variety of old jar sizes, I just went by what looked like the right size. I dunno. I just can figure this stuff out sometimes. Not all the time, though. I wish! And I wish this skill applied to being able to load the dishwasher so well...)

I did wash and dry this jar, though. Safety first! And I wanted to warm it up before I put the rather hot marmalade in it (I did let the marmalade cool down some, though).

And then I let it cool down some more and stuck it in my fridge. I tried to wait til it was cold to taste it, but I couldn't wait. So, I had some on a roll. Then the next morning, I had some more.

It also tastes fabulous with Pepper Jack cheese. And I think I'll go have some more right now! Mmmmm....