Red, Ruby Red

When my husband brought home several kilos of grapefruit, marmalade was inevitable. As he was handing one to a neighbour child with the testing question, “Do you know what this is?” I was thinking, “Oh no, will I have enough left?”

I couldn’t find the recipe I used years ago, so trawled through the array of marmalade recipes available online. Grapefruit can be labour intensive, with it’s bitter pith and random pips. There was cutting and paring and chopping and peeling, zesting and blitzing. Muslin bags tied up with string and strainers were called for. Overnight soaking, rapid boiling for 50 minutes (do I need to stir it the whole time? the first thought in my lazy head) featured. I started thinking about calling the neighbourhood child back: “Now that you know this is a grapefruit, do you want six more?”

However, one recipe did catch my eye (Link here).

What appealed was the lack of overnight prep and the absence of painfully separating pith from zest, membrane from fruit. As always, the comments made the process easier. I doubled the recipe (which I rarely do for jam) but needed to boil the fruit only one hour. I stuck with the brown sugar as someone said it added to the taste (and it does!), and I put in some of my homemade vanilla at the end of cooking time. It took longer than 15 minutes to jell – maybe 20 or 25, but that could be because of the greater volume; I’m not sure. I also pureed about 3/4 of the mix as it just seemed a bit too chunky. The result: eight jars of auburn deliciousness, just bitter enough to satisfy both the marmalade lovers and the not-too-keeners.

Here is my version of the recipe:

Ruby Red Marmalade


  • 2 grapefruit (about 800g)
  • 500 g  sugar
  • 500 g brown sugar
  • juice of 2 lemons or 6 tablespoons  bottled lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla


  1. In a large pot, place the two grapefruit in just enough water to make them float freely. I was surprised at how much water it took to make the grapefruit float.
  2. Bring to a boil, and let boil for one hour. Add water from a kettle if too much boils away and the grapefruit touch the bottom.
  3. Drain the grapefruit, discard water and let fruit cool slightly.
  4. Slice the grapefruit as finely as possible, and chop it all up, as randomly as you wish.
  5. Put the grapefruit, sugars and lemon juice back into the pot, and dissolve the sugars on low heat.
  6. Bring to a boil and let bubble until you reach the jell point, about 20 minutes. Stir frequently.
  7. If you like a smoother consistency, blitz in a blender for a bit until you like what you see.
  8. Ladle into clean, sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for ten minutes.




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