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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

grapefruit marmalade

Sometimes I wonder how much I am eating the fresh produce each week, and how much I am just moving around, cooking, freezing, and canning to eat later. I feel like the little kid who keeps pushing food into new places on his plate so it will look like he has eaten something. I haven't thrown out any lately... barely. I have given some to friends in the form of dinners. I doled out quite a few jars of jam during teacher appreciation week. I have also fully stocked my freezer with lasagnas, casseroles, and potatoes. I think I will be glad to have these things when the long winter months bring me more and more squashes, turnips, and parsnips. It will be nice to open a jar of strawberry jam when the only fruit I have seen for weeks is an orange. It will make things easy when I can pull a veggie lasagna out of the freezer while my kids are staging a mid-winter cabbage revolution. But if we are eating the strawberry jam and veggie casseroles next January, who will eat the acorn squash and the beets? Am I going to end up with enough prepared food to feed an army, but only a family of three reluctant kids?

At any rate, for now I am having a blast canning my jams and marmalades. Let's leave the worrying about who is going to eat it all for another time.

This week, I got some big beautiful grapefruits in my box. I decided to try them out in a grapefruit marmalade.

The result is a delicious, slightly  bitter, beautiful orange-colored marmalade! I am so happy to have this on hand.

It is made much like an orange marmalade. However, unlike with oranges, you don't use the whole grapefruit. Because the pith is so much more plentiful and more bitter, it needs to be removed. This is done by first peeling the outer skin off with a vegetable peeler (to use),  and then peeling the inner pith layer by hand (to throw away).

Once you have your peeled zest, you chop it up very finely. Do this for both your grapefruits and a lemon. Then you cut the remaining fruit into smallish chunks, saving as much of the juice as you can. From here on out, it can be treated just like orange marmalade.

I made this recipe with 4 large grapefruits and one lemon.

First, combine the grapefruit zest, the chopped up fruit, reserved juice, and 5 cups of water. Bring it all to a boil and then remove from heat. While it is still hot, stir in 5 cups of sugar. Leave this all on the counter overnight, to soften the fruit and the zest.

The next day, return the pot to the stove and cook over medium heat. Stir it occasionally, and bring it to a boil that reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer. This will take at least half an hour.

When it reaches 220 degrees, remove from heat. Skim off any foam that has formed, and ladle into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe clean the rims and screw lids on until they are finger-tip tight.  Process the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes (15 minutes for altitudes above 1,000 feet and 20 minutes above 1500 feet). Remove jars from the boiling water and let them sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours. You will know if they are properly sealed if the lid doesn't give at all when you press on the center.

This makes 6 half-pint jars of delicious marmalade.