Thriftiness, I’m convinced, lends even the most mediocre fare a flavorful radiance that can only be achieved by repurposing formerly wilting produce. The satisfaction of resourcefully using otherwise neglected ingredients seems to tuck in a particular palatable delight. However, I say this only so far as my experiments in the world of sugared confections go. I have a decidedly less-stellar performance record of savory culinary adaptations in the kitchen (read: pantry stir-fries gone awry). But I was truly ecstatic over my first batch of homemade marmalade, finally making use of a bag of delicious (but seemingly bottomless) Japanese grapefruits given to me by a good friend.
Although I have never envisioned myself as a jam-maker or marmalade brewer (?), thanks to the inspiration from a favorite blogger (thank you She Who Eats) and a Saturday afternoon to while away while my laundry dried outside in the intermittent sunshine, I felt emboldened to give marmalade-making a go.
And in fact, I was very pleasantly surprised by the relative ease of the process. I fastened on my apron, turned on a book-on-cd to listen to, and set to work washing, quartering, juicing, and chopping the peel of the grapefruits. With absolutely nothing to hurry me, stirring the pot of sweet-smelling, tart rinds absentmindedly while the strong wind outside exchanged clouds for bouts of bright sunshine, my mind hastened to daydreams about Emma Woodhouse, charming and gallant Mr. Knightly, and their perambulations around the verdant grounds of Hartfield. Jane Austen, a cup of earl grey, and a slice of toast with my homemade marmalade was about all my senses of earthly delight could handle this weekend! ~*~
2 grapefruits, oranges, lemons, or combination
sugar (amount varies, between 500-600grams)
Wash fruit thoroughly with soap and water; trim any bad spots from the peel. Quarter, separate flesh from the rind, and squeeze out juice into a measuring cup or bowl by hand. Set aside rinds in another bowl.
In a large saucepan, put citrus flesh and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Drain to cool, and chop roughly. Meanwhile, with a sharp knife, slice peel into very thin half-moons, about 1-2 millimeters thick. Place in a large saucepan, fill with water to just cover rinds, bring to boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and set aside. With a measuring scale, place a large bowl and zero out the weight. Measure the weight of the combined fruit flesh, peel, and juice. The amount of sugar can range from half the weight of the fruit for a more bitter marmalade, or equal the weight of the fruit for a thicker, sweeter marmalade.
Place all of the fruit and 1/3 of the measured-out sugar into a large saucepan, and fill with water until just submerged. Boil and then simmer gently for 20-40 minutes, depending on how much fruit and water there is, adding the remaining sugar in two additions. Stir the mixture frequently. When the cooking liquid has reduced to half or 1/3 of the original amount and has thickened slightly, remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes. The marmalade will thicken significantly upon cooling, so be sure to take it off the heat before it reaches the consistency you like. While the marmalade is cooling, boil a pot of water and dip some glass jars and lids in the hot water to clean them. While the jars and marmalade are still hot, ladle in the mixture, cover, and refrigerate. This quick-set method is suitable for marmalade with a high sugar content to last in the refrigerator for about a month.
Fill some jars for you, for your friends, and for your neighbors! Enjoy :)