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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Grapefruit Marmalade

Well, considering I dislike both marmalade and grapefruit this was an unusual choice for me. But, as I've mentioned earlier, winter in southern Australia equates to a citrus glut. We have lemons and oranges coming out our ears, and when someone came to rehearsal with a box of grapefruit from her tree, for the second week in a row, we were a bit meh about it. However, always with an eye to how I can contribute to our church market stall, I considered making grapefruit marmalade. Even though I don't like it, it's the sort of thing the old dearies love, and it should walk off the table. I hope.

I looked around for a grapefruit marmalade recipe but couldn't really find one that sounded 'right'. In the end I decided to adapt the recipe for Seville orange marmalade from Stephanie Alexander's Cook's Companion. Seville oranges are bitter, right? Grapefruits are bitter. Yeah, it'll work.
Hmmmm, but I dunno. I ended up having to use nearly double the amount of sugar (nearly 3 kilos!!!!) just to take away the awful, awful bitter taste. I think a problem was that the instructions tell you to boil the fruit and cool overnight, but due to general disorganisation and laziness on my part, it was near a week before I got to the next stage. Perhaps I should have discarded the water, and replaced it with some fresh stuff, because I'm pretty sure the water absorbed some seriously nasty bitterness over a week.

My very full pot of marmalade boiling away. It took decent skill to stir this without spillage!

In the end, there was enough sugar added that the marmalade has a fair balance between bitterness and sweetness, but it does err on the bitter side. Being a non-fan of grapefruit and marmalade, I don't know if that is a desirable attribute and something grapefruit marmalade lovers look for, or if it's just vile and nasty.
But, I suppose all will be revealed at the market stall. And with about 12 jars of the stuff, it's either taking it there or.......well....I'm not sure!
I've included the recipe below, for anyone interested in making their own orange marmalade, or playing around with a grapefruit one, like I did. Just make sure you have extra sugar laying around, just in case!
Read on for the recipe:

Seville orange marmalade
Stephanie Alexander "The Cook's Companion"

Seville oranges

Thinly slice fruit, having first removed all pips and central membrane. For every 500g perpared fruit, allow 1.8 litres water and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Simmer fruit, salt and water until peel is soft and easily squashed. Allow to rest for 24 hours in a ceramic or stainless steel bowl.
Next day, measure fruit and water into a preserving pan or large stockpot using a cup. Bring to a boil and for every cup of fruit and water allow an equal measure of sugar. Return to a boil and cook for 25-30 minutes until setting or jelly stage (remember to increase this time when using more fruit). Bottle into hot, sterilised jars.


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