February 2009


After some experimentation, I’ve figured out an excellent grapefruit marmalade recipe. The ingredients to produce just 3 1/2 pint jars, as pictured, are:grapefruit_marmalade_15feb09_small

  • 10-12 grapefruit (1-1/3 c. thinly sliced peel; 2-2/3 c. fruit w/o membranes)
  • 1 qt. water
  • 1-1/2 c. sugar (or, to your taste)
  • Pomona pectin (1 tsp.) + Ca2PO4 (1 tsp. dissolved in water, per package directions, to activate the pectin)

Directions: NB: This’ll take you 2 days!! So, plan ahead.

First, skin the fruit. Save only enough of the skin to yield 1-1/3 cup finely sliced. If it’s a very thick-skinned grapefruit (as the ones off of our tree are) feel free to separate and discard the white portions under the skin.  This part just adds bitter taste. Next, separate each fruit into sections and peel off the transparent membranes.  A sharp knife helps.  Yes, I know it’s a chore, but, if you don’t do this, the result will be so bitter you will not be able to eat it. Stop once you have 2-2/3 cups of de-membraned fruit and juice.

Now, cover the skins in water and boil for 10 minutes. DISCARD the water afterwards.  If you use this water (as I made the mistake of doing), the result will be so bitter, you’ll have to compost it all.

Next, add the fruit to the boiled, drained skins. Add 1 qt. water and boil again, for 10 minutes. Store the cooked peel, fruit, and water 12-18 hours in a cool place (refrigerator’s OK, too).

The next day, you are ready to finish making the marmalade and canning it. Heat the concoction to boiling, and add the sugar. Stir till it dissolves, keep boiling, stirring, and cooking. It’s up to you how long to keep stirring and cooking–I’d give it anywhere from 35 mins. – 1 hr., till it reduces to 3 cups volume. Add the pectin (dissolved in some water, otherwise, it’ll clump up) and the dissolved Calcium Phosphate. Stir, boil a short while (5 mins. or less), and remove from the heat.  The pectin and calcium phosphate are added to thicken the marmalade to the desired consistency (which you’ll only find out after it cools). If you do not add the pectin/Ca2PO4, the texture will be completely runny and water-y, since I add way less sugar than most recipes call for. In order to gel w/o pectin, you’d need to add equal volume of sugar to fruit/water mixture, which to my taste, would make the results inedible. If you do decide to do that, then you’d have to boil the fruit/sugar mixture to the “gelling point”, which is 220 F near sea level. My mixture never makes it past 200 F, no matter how long I boil it.

Canning:  While you’re boiling your marmalade, fill your canner with water, get the water to boil. Set out all of your canning paraphernalia: jars, lids, screwtops. I put the jars in the canner, until the water is at a rolling boil. The lids and screwtops I keep in a separate hot water bath (not above 160F). If the lids are stored in too hot water, it’ll ruin the sealant glue in the lids. Cover your work surface with a kitchen towel. Have your jar gripper ready, to remove the jars from the boiling water. I also use oven gloves. Have a magnetic wand ready to lift the hot lids/screwtops out of their hot water bath without scorching your hands.  Have a funnel ready, to pour the marmalade into your hot jars. Have a sponge ready, to wipe the jar rims clean, should you overfill the jars. Have a little spatula ready, to run around the jar edges to coax air bubbles out of the filled jars.  Fill your hot jars with marmalade to w/in 1/4″ of the tops. Wipe jars clean, if needed. Run spatula around jars to dislodge air bubbles. Place lid on clean, filled jar(s). Screw the screwtops on just finger tight (not too tight, since air bubbles have to be able to come out). Once lids and screwtops are on the filled jars, place jars in the boiling water canner galvanized jar holder with your prongs. Lower the holder, with the filled jars, down into the boiling water.  Cover the canner with its lid.  Boil the jars for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat. Lift up the jar holder. Gingerly, remove the jars from the hot water with your prongs/oven mitts and place on surface covered with a kitchen towel. Now, do not touch your jars for 24 hours. Let them cool, and the seals set.  Next day, you can test if the seals are good by tapping on the lids.  If there is no give when you tap the middle of the lids, you’ve got a good seal.  Feel free to remove the screwtop lids at this point.  These are re-usable, and will last longer if you remove them from the jars–otherwise, they may get rusty. Your marmalade is now ready to be consumed from now, to about a year hence, if you do not open the jars. Once you open a jar, place it in the refrigerator and use within a few weeks.  YUM!!!!

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Well, we do have a magnificent grapefruit tree out back.grapefruit_9feb09_small2 The trouble is, it’s too prolific, and I really do not like grapefruit! However, besides donating them to the nearest Food Bank, I’ve hit upon a way to start to actually use all of these fruit: make grapefruit marmalade!!! So far, I’ve made 3 1/2 pint jars, and have nearly finished all of them in last than 3 weeks. I’ll be canning some more tomorrow. Depending on how it goes, I may post the recipe.  My previous batch was a bit too runny. This time, I’m using half the water (but twice the fruit in a double recipe). I’ll be using 1/2 the sugar, too, since I love the taste.  It’s a matter of whether or not it’ll “gel” without pectin.  If not, I may actually try some Pomona pectin, and see if it turns out with a thick enough consistency.

bed0_north_7feb09_small It was such a beautiful day today, betwen rainstorms (got up to 78F), that I decided to dig up the ancient (3 yr. old) non-productive strawberry plants from this Bed (Bed 0), and single-dug it. It will now be ready for adding compost and amendments, and then for the Spring Planting. We’re planning on putting in broccoli, “Contender” string beans, “Pioneer” sweet peas, and heriloom tomatoes into this bed.bed0_south_7feb09_small

Getting comfy for the night

Getting comfy for the night.