There's nothing like the satisfaction of harvesting fruit straight from a tree and transforming it into something delicious.
Right at the moment, especially all around Auckland, Northland, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay, there are citrus trees dropping fruit on the ground, and oftentimes people won't mind if you knock on the door and ask if you can pick some – especially if you come back the next day with a jar of marmalade to say thanks. It's a lovely neighbourly kind of a thing to do and helps stop all that wonderful fruit going to waste.
In my case my neighbours had a bounty of fabulous grapefruit this spring, so I spent a few happy hours last week preparing the fruit, then cooking it down into a golden mass of delicious marmalade.
Part of the trick is cooking it for long enough so that it has almost caramelised and the flavour is rich and full – of course the addition of a little whiskey doesn’t go astray either!
Now I have a wonderful array of jars lined up on the kitchen shelves, some of which I will delve into for my morning toast, and many of which I will be able to give away to friends as a special homemade treat. And of course I've already taken a jar across to the neighbours, complete with some home-baked cookies.
Grapefruit Marmalade Recipe
Prep time: 30 mins Cook time: 1 hour 40 mins Makes: about 4 litres
- 2kg grapefruit
- 2kg sugar
- 1/2 cup whiskey
Cut the unpeeled grapefruit into quarters, then slice finely by hand or using the slicing attachment of a food processor. Place in a wide, non-corrosive preserving pan and cover with 2 litres of water. Cover and leave to soak overnight.
The next day, place the pot over a high heat, bring to the boil and boil for 40 minutes. Lower the heat and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then return to the boil and boil for an hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so to prevent the grapefruit from catching on the bottom – you want it to almost catch, but not burn. If you feel it starting to catch, remove it from the heat for a couple of minutes, giving it a gentle stir to stop it burning on the bottom, then continue boiling.
After 55 minutes do a ‘set test’ to check if your marmalade is ready. Chill a saucer in the fridge for a few minutes, then drop a teaspoonful of marmalade onto it. The marmalade is ready when it forms a skin that wrinkles when you hold the plate on an angle. At this point add the whiskey and boil for couple of minutes more to burn off the alcohol.
Pour straight into sterilised jars and seal with sterilised lids. If properly sealed Grapefruit Marmalade will last indefinitely.
To prepare your jars for preserving: For this recipe you will need a selection of jars that will hold just over 4 litres of marmalade. This is a great way of recycling, as the jars and their metal lids can be used over and over again. Wash the jars as usual, then remove the lids and place the lids and jars in the sink. Cover them well with boiling water then drain off the water. Pre-heat the oven to 100°C then pop the jars and lids in for 15 minutes to sterilise. Once removed from the oven, put the lids on the jars immediately so they remain sterile until you are ready to fill them.