The jammy thing about marmalade is you no sooner make it, than it disappears.
We’d cooked up a huge batch and felt rather proud as we eyed up the sparkling jars on the table.
A jar was taken to a friend who received the gift with little interest and ‘oh, I prefer the bought stuff.’ The brother in Auckland said “Don’t like it. But I guess I’ll try a tiny bit.”
Days later both placed orders for more – much more – and the brother wondered if we might give him extra for friends. This was the bestest marmalade they’d ever tasted, they said.
The mother-in-law made magnificent marmers; a touch bitter, a tad sweet, just slightly sour, the perfect combination of flavours, texture and colour. Mine never seemed to measure up.
Then we shifted house and farewelled the grand old grapefruit tree that had served three generations. A new tree was planted, one of those new-fangled seedless varieties.
This year we decided the marmalade would be made from our own grapefruit.
But there are no pips, I noticed, while chopping the fruit up. A quick trip to the supermarket for a couple of packets of jam setting mix saw us right.
We poured it in, stirred and boiled, tested, stirred some more, and lo – glorious marmalade.
Good marmalade should be shared, and it’s an utter piece of cake to make more. This is the easiest recipe I’ve ever followed – you wash ‘em, chop ‘em, and boil away with a bit of sugar and pectin.
(My last word of advice – chop the fruit by hand. Resist the blender, which although easy, doesn’t result in downright gorgeous looking and tasting marmalade.)
A few year’s back my daughter and I, with the help of a very well trained collie who was the best actor, made a small video of us making farmhouse marmalade in Gordonton. To see us in action click this link.
2 kg grapefruit
4 litres cold water
4 70g packets pectin (may not be necessary if using slightly green, seeded fruit)
4 ½ kg sugar
Enough jars for 10-11 kg of marmalade
The recipe can easily be halved. Or quartered – it still makes a good amount.
- Wash grapefruit and chop in half. If fruit has pips, remove and place in muslin bag for later. With a sharp, large knife, chop the fruit as finely as you can. This takes a while but is critical.
- Place in a large pot and pour in the water. Cover and leave over night.
- The next morning add the bag of pips, bring to the boil, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. This takes about 20 or more minutes. Reduce heat, and cook steadily until the rind is tender, about an hour. Stir occasionally.
Wash jars and put in oven, 90ºC.
- Add pectin, stirring constantly. Then pour in the sugar. Continue stirring, and bring to a fast boil. This takes around half an hour.
- Test after 10 minutes from when it starts boiling. Remove some liquid with a teaspoon and place on a saucer. Push it along the saucer – if it wrinkles, it’s ready. If not, keep boiling and test every five minutes.
Let rest about 15 minutes then pour into jars using a jug. Seal with cellophane lids immediately. Wipe jars when they have cooled. You can cut up a pretty circle of fabric if giving to friends, although it’s pretty spectacular as is!