For the Tigress Can Jam challenge this month the ingredient was citrus. Since it is impossible to source locally grown citrus in the Pacific Northwest…well, ever… I just chose something that I love- grapefruit- and made a Ruby Red Grapefruit Marmalade with Vanilla.
I tweaked a recipe I found on recipezaar a bit. To be honest, I chose this recipe over other grapefruit marmalade recipes because it sounded easier than the others I had considered. I was a wee bit apprehensive for my first challenge canning. And really, I wanted/needed to get it done & canned while the babylady napped.
No, they weren’t the purdiest looking bunch of grapefruit any of us have ever seen. But let’s get to it.
3 large organic ruby red grapefruit
53 oz. of white sugar
5/8 cup bottled lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
seeds of 1 vanilla bean
Boil whole grapefruit in a large pot with enough water that they can roll around (See! How easy is that?!)
Let boil for up to 2 hours. I took mine off after 1.5 hours as they were very soft at that point. You just want them soft enough to stick a fork in easily.
Allow to cool. Slice in half and remove seeds. I then just ripped the halves into smaller chunks. You could be civilized and use a knife, but I got right in there with my bare (but very clean) hands.
Put all the grapefruit juice & chunks, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice in large pot. I cooked it over medium-ish heat until the sugar was dissolving.
I then gave the pot a run through with my immersion blender to break up the chunks into the consistency I wanted.
Add vanilla bean seeds and bring to mix to a boil. Cook about 10 minutes or so until is at gel point.
Ladle into your hot jars leaving 1/4″ headroom and hot water process for 10 minutes.
Made 9 lovely half-pints
Lessons from the Jam: Part I
*While the immersion blender was awesomely easy and gave the marmalade a consistency that I actually think I prefer, slicing the grapefruit would likely give it a more traditional texture.
*Boiling the whole grapefruit, however, was brilliant. A stroke of genius if you ask me. Who wants to peel and zest and de-pith, blanch and re-blanch? Not me. I am, quite frankly, sucky at all-things-tedious. I just don’t have the attention span.
*I learned that I would likely feel more confident about canning if I could trust things like “gel point.” I never quite believe the test. I want things to come out the consistency in which you end cooking them. In the past I have made some very runny and very sturdy jams due to this. Maybe the larger lesson is to “trust the process.’ Which is unintentionally “punny” now that I think about it.
*Finally, I learned that your tongue will pucker if you eat too much grapefruit marmalade and that a well-timed toddler nap is awesome. ‘Cuz no one likes a accidently scalded toddler.