Orange and grapefruit marmalade

December 14th, 2010

For someone who doesn’t like marmalade, I’ve certainly made a lot in my time. In previous jobs, for The Breakfast Club (to go with the divine coconut bread) and our Christmas hampers.

I recently made 25 jars for Innocent to go in press packs for their orange juice. Seville oranges are really the best for making marmalade, but as they don’t come into season until January, I went with an orange and grapefruit mixture for the right balance of sweet and sharp. Marmalade makes a really nice Christmas present, so I thought I’d share the recipe here. If like me, you keep all your empty jars, then this is also a really cheap present.


If you’re making this for Christmas presents, here’s a Christmas version of the label above to make them look pretty.


Download marmalade label

If you’ve never made marmalade before, don’t be scared. The recipe isn’t foolproof, but it’s pretty close and I’ve tried to include all my tips to make sure it sets. The trick is to have a big enough pan, the mixture needs to get to a really rolling boil and will almost triple in volume. This also means that the marmalade will reach the setting point more quickly and so stay a vibrant colour.

makes about 6 x 250g jars

1 grapefruit
1 orange
1 lemon
(they should weigh about 700g in total)
1.5 litres water
1.4 kg granulated sugar

  • Wash the fruit and place into a fairly snug saucepan and pour over the water. (The water should completely cover the fruit.)
  • Bring to the boil and boil for two hours, by which time the fruit should be very soft.
  • Remove the fruit from the pan and leave to cool. Reserve the cooking water. (You can do this the day before and leave the oranges, covered on the stove.)
  • Meanwhile sterilise the jars, wash in soapy water, rinse well and then place in a 100C oven, upside down, to dry.
  • Cut the fruit in half and scoop out all of the flesh and pips. Thinly slice the fruit skin.
  • To make the marmalade, you’ll need your widest, deepest pan.
  • Weight the shredded fruit skin and reserved water – it should weigh 1-1.2 kg. If not, boil the mixture for another 5 minutes or until it weighs 1-1.2kg. Stir in the sugar.
  • Place a saucer into the freezer.
  • Bring the sugar, water and fruit peel to a vigorous rolling boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil uncovered for 15mins.
  • Now, here is the tricky bit, you need to test the marmalade to make sure it will set once cooled.
  • Spoon half a teaspoon of marmalade onto the saucer. Allow it to cool for a minute back in the freezer, then push it with your little finger – if a crinkly skin forms, it has reached setting point. If not, continue cooking and do more testing at 5-minute intervals. (Depending on the size of your pan, it can take up to 45 minutes for the marmalade to set.)
  • Once ready, allow to cool for about five minutes so that the skin is dispersed evenly.
  • Remove the jars from the oven and without touching the lip, carefully turn them over.
  • Ladle the marmalade into a jug and pour the marmalade into the jars (use a spoon to push the skin into the jars). Clean up any spillages with a wet cloth.
  • Place the lids into a large bowl and cover with boiling water and leave for five minutes. Remove the lids, dry with a clean tea towel and place onto the jars.
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10 Responses to “Orange and grapefruit marmalade”

  1. batty says:

    what happens when the water boils dry after two hours?

  2. Rachel says:

    Did tihs happen to you? Perhaps try simmering the fruit, rather than vigorously boiling and less water should evaporate.

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  4. AMonk says:

    What do you do with the “parcel” of pips and flesh? Do you discard it or put it into the pot to (re)cook with the shredded skins, reserved water and sugar?

  5. Rachel says:

    Good point! You actually put it into the pot with the skins, water and sugar. However, I think I might edit the recipe to remove this as it doesn’t make that much difference. The idea is that the pips and pulp contain lots of pectin, so help the marmalade set quicker, but actually there’s enough pectin in the skins.

  6. Rob Wiltsher says:

    I have been making home-made jams, marmalades and chutneys for about 2 years now but this recipe for Orange and Grapefruit Marmalade is gorgeous and introduces me to some ways of doing things that I had never tried before. Very, very nice ! Why not pop by and say ‘ hello ‘ ?
    Best wishes – Rob Wiltsher, Bristol, England (RobsPreserves)

  7. Rachel says:

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for saying hello! I’m glad you like the recipe, it’s always nice to have ideas for marmalade outside of the Seville orange season.

  8. Wendy Griffiths says:

    I make my own grapefruit marmalade because the shop-bought varieties are too sweet. Now I’ve come across your orange and grapefruit recipe, I’m going to have a go.

    I always boil the grapefruits whole for 2 hours (like your recipe), then zap them in my food processor to chop the rind up. It works perfectly, doesn’t require much attention and makes DELICIOUS marmalade!

    I’ve just bought some large supermarket oranges and grapefruits so I hope it will work!!

  9. Francis Pym says:

    Kindly email the above Marmalade recipe to me.

    Much appreciated.


  10. John O'Connell says:

    I want to purchase 12 bottles of grapefruit-lemon-orange marmalade combination. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Can’t cook. Thank you.

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