This blood orange and grapefruit marmalade is sweetened with honey and is sure to brighten up the coldest of winter days.
If I had to pick my favorite fruits, I don’t know that citrus would come close to topping the list. Yet my feelings on the matter change about this time each year. The dreary days have me craving foods that pack a punch of flavor. I’ll take anything to help me get out of my winter rut, and fresh citrus seems to do the trick.
Sometimes I get too enthusiastic and bring home a few more citruses than necessary. It’s that fear of missing out. Because the next time I make it to the grocery store, they just might be gone. But what to do with all the citrus? The options may seem limited. You can eat many citrus fruits as is, of course. And buttery fruit curds are well worth making with key limes and Meyer lemons.
What is marmalade?
But let’s not forget marmalade. Marmalade is the citrusy winter equivalent to jam. Marmalade is essentially jam made with the peels, juice, and flesh of citrus. Yet marmalade is refreshingly tart, a little bitter, and a welcome pop of brightness for the dead of winter.
Where did marmalade come from?
Marmalade has its origins in Portugal, where bitter quince fruits were cooked with honey to create a solid fruit paste that was cut up and served for dessert. This kind of fruit preserve was called marmelada, from the Portuguese word for quince, marmelo. The quince paste became a popular British import for the wealthy. Outside of Portugal, marmalade was often used as a generic term to describe fruit preserves. It wasn’t until the late 1600s that we have our first recorded citrus marmalade recipe from Eliza Cholmondeley in England.
Seville oranges are one of the most common citrus fruits used for marmalade today. But they're not the only ones. I’ve seen nearly every kind of citrus used to make marmalade, and there’s no reason not to combine fruits to make your own flavors. In my recipe, I use blood orange and grapefruit. I like the sweet and tart flavor of the blood orange paired with the grapefruit's sharp bitterness.
The local ingredient in my marmalade is honey. If used to make the original form of Portuguese marmalade, then there’s no reason why it can’t work in modern marmalade. I replace half of the sugar recommended in traditional recipes with honey.
Why you should make marmalade
Making a homemade marmalade may not be on the top of your to-do list right now, but here are a few reasons why you should give it a try.
- In my experience, marmalade sets easier and more reliably than jelly or jam. I think that’s due to the high pectin content of the included peels. It doesn’t need added pectin, either.
- You also don’t have to worry about canning a bunch of jars of marmalade and having this be a long, drawn-out process. You can just put the marmalade in the fridge where it will keep for at least three months. This recipe makes just three cups worth. Give a jar or two away to friends and it won’t last you long.
what to do with marmalade
There are also plenty of good ways to use marmalade aside from enjoying it on your morning toast. You can stir some into a muffin, pancake, waffle or cake batter. You can also use it as a filling or topping on a cake. Stir some into your oatmeal or yogurt. Or use it to make a fruit tart.
A few thoughts on this recipe.
- I chopped up the peels into small pieces instead of making the traditional thin strands. I don’t love chewing a mouthful of peel, and I think chopping is less effort than making strips. But I think that's just me. You do you.
- You can use a different combination of citrus fruits if blood orange and grapefruit marmalade doesn't appeal to you. I would suggest keeping the lemon, though.
- You can double this recipe if you want to make more, but you’ll have to cook it longer to reach the setting point.
Blood Orange and Grapefruit Marmalade
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 3 cups 1x
A honey-sweetened citrus marmalade that will brighten up the coldest winter days.
- 2 blood oranges
- 1 large pink grapefruit
- 1 lemon
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 ½ cups honey
Scrub the oranges, grapefruit, and lemon clean. Use a peeler to remove the outer peel from the fruits. You can include a little of the white bitter pith but stick mostly to the outer layer. Chop the peels.
In a small pot, add the chopped peels and cover with three cups of water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the pith and any remaining peel from the citrus fruits and set them aside. Remove any tough membranes and seeds and set these aside as well.
Combine most of the discarded peels, seeds, and membranes. Wrap them up in a piece of cheesecloth and tie them in a small bundle. You’ll include this in the pot while cooking the marmalade, as it will help add pectin and make your marmalade achieve a thicker consistency.
Roughly chop the citrus flesh. Add it to a large, heavy-duty pot for making the marmalade. Mash this up some more with your hands or a masher. Add the sugar, honey, and cheesecloth bundle. Drain the peels, but don’t discard the water. Add the peels to the marmalade pot with 2 cups of water. Put a couple of small plates in your freezer.
Bring the pot to a steady simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes, keeping an eye on things and stirring every once in a while. After 25 minutes, put a spoonful of marmalade on one of your cold plates. Return the plate to the freezer for a minute, then run your finger through it. If it doesn’t move or run around the plate, it’s done. If it’s runny, keep cooking another five minutes or so and test again until it’s set.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Preserves
- Cuisine: English
Keywords: blood oranges, grapefruit, honey, sugar, lemon, citrus
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