This grown-up marmalade is bittersweet, wonderful on toast, great served with meat or cooked with chicken wings. Citrus fruits are, of course, high in acidity (which is why you need so much sugar), and because bacteria cannot grow in a high acid environment, they can be safely water bath canned. The processing time in this recipe is based on USDA data.
Makes 3 half-pints
2 large grapefruit
3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (optional)
- Peel the skin off the fruit in as big pieces as you can. Cut most of the white pith off the peels by scraping away with a pairing knife. If lots of pith is stuck to the fruit, you must pick it off. It’s okay if you don’t get all the pith off the fruit and the rind.
- Cut the rinds into little matchsticks. Select about 1 cup. Save the remaining rinds to flavor other foods.
- Remove the seeds from the fruit if there are any (there are seedless varieties of grapefruit.) Leaving the seeds in will give the marmalade a bitter though not unpleasant taste. It’s one of the attributes of Scottish-style marmalade. To remove seeds, cut the fruit in half along the equator and pop the seeds out with the tip of a pairing knife. Grind the fruit in a food processor to a chunky pulp. There should be about 3 cups. But measure the pulp you have, as there can be some variation in the amount of pulp a piece of fruit produces, and you will have to adjust the amount of sugar you add accordingly: 1 cup of sugar for every 1 cup of pulp.
- In a medium sized pot add the rinds and 3 cups of water. Cook over a medium heat until the rinds are tender, about 25 minutes. Cool, then add the pulp and let it rest overnight, covered, in the fridge.
- In a large wide heavy bottomed pot add the pulp, the rinds and their cooking water, the sugar, and the ginger, if using. You can also add a teaspoon of butter. The butter helps keep the marmalade from foaming up. Nonetheless it will foam up some. The marmalade will thicken quicker in a wide pot than a deep one. Be sure the pot is not filled more than halfway, to lessen the opportunity of a messy foam-up. Bring the marmalade to a boil over a high heat, then turn the heat down to medium and boil the marmalade hot enough so that you can’t stir down the bubbles for about 20 minutes. Watch carefully: the marmalade can burn easily. When the bubbles take on color, the marmalade is most likely done.
- But do a set test to be sure. Put a bit of the marmalade on a spoon and allowing it to cool in the fridge. If the marmalade wrinkles when you push it with your finger, it is ready to can. Depending on humidity, the juiciness of the fruit, or what’s happening on Mount Olympus, your marmalade may be a little looser or stiffer. As long as you are within the realm of spreadability on toast, you’ve succeeded.
- Have ready 3 sterilized half-pint jars and bands, and new lids that have been simmered in hot water to soften the rubberized flange. To sterilize the jars and bands, boil them in water for 10 minutes (at sea level; see below for altitude adjustments). Pour in the marmalade, leaving about 1/4 inch of headroom at the top of each jar. Wipe the rims, place on the lids, and screw on the bands fingertip tight.
- Place the jars in a deep pot with a rack so the water can circulate around the jars. The pot must be deep enough to cover the jars with 2 inches of water and then still have an additional couple of inches so the boiling water doesn’t erupt all over your stove. Cover the jars with hot tap water and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Boil the jars for the prescribed amount of time. Process the jars for 5 minutes (see below for altitude adjustments). Pints are processed for the same amount of time. Boiling water, whether it is boiling violently or mellowly, is still boiling at the same temperature, so you can reduce the heat as long as the water continues to boil. If at any time the water is no longer covering the jars, add additional boiling water. If the water stops boiling at any time, you need to bring the water back up to a boil and start your timing over from the beginning. Turn off the heat and let the jars rest in the water for about 5 minutes. Remove the jars and place them on a towel or rack.
- Allow the jars to rest untouched for 12 to 24 hours. The cooling stage in water bath processing is important because the rubber seal will be soft coming out of the water bath and needs to stiffen to complete the seal. Once cool, check the seals. You can check a seal by unscrewing the band and lifting the jar by the edges of the lid. If you can lift the jar, the seal is good. If the lid comes off, the seal has failed and you must refrigerate and eat the product, or reprocess the jars with new lids following the same procedure. Label the jars and store them in a cool dark place for up to a year. You do not need to store the jars with the bands on. Refrigerate after opening.
To sterilize jars: For every 1,000 feet in altitude, boil an additional 1 minute (it takes 10 minutes at sea level).
For water bath canning: If the processing time at sea level is 20 minutes or less, add 1 minute of processing time for each 1,000 feet above sea level: add 2 minutes for every 1,000 feet if the processing time is more than 20 minutes. If you live at 3,500 feet, round up to 4,000.