Thursday, March 10, 2011

Red: Grapefruit Cranberry Marmalade

I have always loved grapefruits. But grapefruits also play a small part in our love story, so Nathanael and I enjoy them a little bit extra. 

Remember how the first installment of the story ended with me not jumping to conclusions, and then Nathanael calling my Dad? That was the beginning of the fall semester of my senior year of college, and in my strong efforts to not jump to conclusions about him liking me or not, I hadn't mentioned Nathanael or his letters to my Dad didn't actually know he existed until he called that day and asked to pursue me in a relationship headed the direction of marriage. Needless to say, my Dad was a little surprised. He told him he'd get back to him.

 That night my Dad called me to make sure I knew who Nathanael was, and that I wanted my Dad to give him permission. Since I did, my Mom was very excited and my Dad was still rather surprised. After talking to my parents on the phone I told my roommates, who were also very excited, but unfortunately one of them just couldn't quite keep the secret...

About an hour later, with our apartment full of friends, she answered the phone,"Why, HELLO Nathanael. Would you like to talk to Sarah?" Nathanael was calling to come over and do Physics II homework with me, nothing unusual considering 4 other friends were already drinking tea and studying in our living room. But since my roommate had answered in so sugary a voice, he knew I knew he had called my Dad, but he still didn't have an answer. And I knew he knew I working through that set of Physics problems made for the most silent and awkward evening (though the rest of the room was oblivious to it).

The next day, I called my parents and discovered they had not called him back...they didn't have his phone number. So I asked if I could tell him they were giving a yes, and they said I could. So, after classes I paced the apartment trying to think of what to do, and I couldn't really think of anything. I saw my bag of grapefruits sitting there and figured a snack might help me think, so I asked my roommates if either of them wanted to split one with me, but neither one liked grapefruits (what an atrocity). So that was it, I called Nathanael up right then and asked, "Do you want to come over and split a grapefruit with me?"

He did.


And after he asked me what he'd asked my parents, and I told him I would move toward marriage with him, my roommate shouted from the other room,
"It's about time!"


My Grapefruit Cranberry Marmalade is a beautiful red-orange jam which captures the distinct flavor of grapefruit without the bitterness. And unlike typical marmalade, it uses some pectin and cranberries for thickening instead of being thickened by high amounts of sugar. I altered a recipe I found on Kitchen Simplicity to get it just right.

Grapefruit Cranberry Marmalade yield ~10 cups
8 ruby red grapefruits
4 of the grapefruit peels (four of the peels will go to this recipe and four to candied peels)
3 cups water
1 lemon
2 cups cranberries
1 package of low sugar pectin
5-6 cups of sugar (depending on your grapefruits, and your preference)

1. Wash your grapefruits well, without soap, and buff dry with a coarse towel.

2. Peel each grapefruit with a very sharp knife, removing just the zest. The easiest way to do this is to slice the peel off one end,

then work your way around in ~1/2inch wide strips. Getting a tiny bit of white is ok, because you do want to get below the oil bubbles to capture the flavor.



 3. Once you have peeled 4 of the grapefruits, set the peels aside to be used for candying. 
Peel four more grapefruits and one lemon, and then cut those strips into narrow pieces of zest (mine were 1/2in long by 1/8 wide or smaller).

Just to reiterate, the peels going into the marmalade should be small like this
and amount to around 1/2 cup from four grapefruits, but the peels you're saving to candy should not be cut into tiny slivers, but left 1/2 wide and around 3 inches long.

4. Set peels aside and remove the grapefruit sections from the pith and membrane. Open the grapefruit as if you just peeled it to eat it, pull it in half, then remove the first layer of membrane by sliding your sharp knife behind it. Wiggle your thumb behind that section to free the back of it from the stiff pith, and drop it into a bowl. This process is a little messy, but it goes more quickly after you have removed a few sections. Just make sure you do the whole thing over a bowl, and don't worry about breaking an occasional section.

5.  Place the grapefruit peel, grapefruit sections, lemon peel, and 3 cups of water in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. (If you want you can squeeze your lemon, and use it to replace an equal amount of juice.)

6. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

7. The mixture will turn a beautiful shade of orange. Add the cranberries (fresh, or frozen not defrosted). Bring to a boil a second time, reduce the heat and simmer for another 10 minutes.

8. Add the 5 cups of sugar, mixed with the pectin (or according to pectin instructions), and simmer for 30 more minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken. (Carefully taste a cooled teaspoon full and decide if you want to add the last 1 cup of sugar.)

9. Can your marmalade in hot jars using your preferred method. My canning is similar to this, and your box of pectin will also have instructions.

Since the recipe is large, I gave some of my jars as gifts and added a few of them to my shop.

Enjoy your marmalade on toast, scones, or your favorite hot cereal. 
I think it pairs very nicely with millet.

This is the last post in the Red series.
Because I ran out of cranberries, of course!

I also am eager to move on to yellow and orange...I was trying to decide between the two, but since I have had a hard time determining what color my foods actually are, I am going to go with Golden and encompass both colors and all the inbetweens. The Golden series begins tomorrow with Candied Grapefruit Peel, so it's really a double feature for the grapefruit lovers! (And I know at least four of my readers are serious grapefruit lovers.)

What do you guys think?
Will you try this?


  1. Great story, and the recipe looks fantastic!! Thank you for sharing :) I'd like to try making it, although I know it won't be in the very near future. I'll just email myself your recipe :)

  2. this looks very yummy!! I think I might have to try this.

  3. Oh! The color is so lovely. I'll have to try this next time my in-laws have a million grapefruits all ripe at once. I also love the way you packaged them with the cute paper... very sweet.

  4. hmm was the "sugary" response from me?? i don't recall speaking in sugar haha. but i do have a correction to the story because I knew about your and Nathanael's letter writing romance before he even asked your dad anything, so i suspected things were going to move along for quite some time ;^) i thought i should also inform you that i do enjoy a good grapefruit every now and then these days, as long as it's not top bitter. progress!

  5. No Jen, it wasn't you : )
    And you know, while I was writing that sentence I had, "(except my roommates)" in there, but then I got rid of it and thought I would figure out how to re-word it. Guess I forgot :-p
    I miss you! Glad to hear you're enjoying grapefruits! They're so good!

  6. Ummm...this looks so delicious! I am going to try this!! I also tweeted it :) :) :) i love that story too.

    i want to add a zillion !!! because I am so excited to make some marmalade :)

  7. Wow... just the picture made my mouth water! Yuuum!


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