Grapefruit Marmalade

Ignore the jar filled with marmalade for a second and look at the plant behind it. It’s a Kangaroo Paw. I’ve been spending the past week going to work and wondering if today was the day it was going to shine for me. Those used to flowers that open like popcorn should remember that this is a slow and ancient continent (possibly close to 12,000 years!).

Jams are the preserve of those with an abundance of time and fruit. I had 12 grapefruit given to me and told I should make jam with it and so I did.

The Women’s Weekly Cookbook was my first stop but I got to the part where they suggested using kerosene for testing and thought I was falling into home made amphetamine territory. Anyway went for an easier approach.


10 smallish grapefruit, 1 lemon, 2mandarins, 4 cumquats*, 1 kilo of sugar, 150gm palm sugar**, 2 .5 liters of water.

*It’s a very small tree. **Didn’t have any brown sugar so made do.

First job is to slice the grapefruit thinly (peel and all) making sure to keep the pips out. Ditto for the cumquats and the mandarins. The lemon gets halved and the juice without the seeds goes in as do the halves.

Into a large pot they went with the water, brought to a boil, simmered, for thirty minutes, lidded and left for a day and a half.

Then heated up, the sugar added, stirred and then boiled until it reached it’s right jamminess. This took a couple of hours (maybe too much water) but I wasn’t too worried as grapefruit has high levels of pectin allowing a large margin of error. I’d check every now and then by pouring some onto a cold spoon (ow!). When I was happy with it, into oven sterilised jars it went. The lemon halves were left. The jars were sterilised by washing, then leaving them in a 150C oven for 15 minutes – mind your fingers

It’s nice and sour and the amazing thing is how soft the peel becomes. The recipe made heaps though – friends, relatives and a pork marinade maybe.

Glaring Omission Thank you Gail for the grapefruit and kickstarting this, jar waiting for you if you’re quick.



  1. Reid’s avatar


    I haven’t yet had the courage to make jams, jellies or marmalades. After this post, perhaps I should try…seems easy enough! A friend of mine regularly makes starfruit/passionfruit preserves which are just delicious. I’m thinking that I’m going to try that!

    BTW…what does that plant that’s lurking in the shadows actually look like?

  2. Anthony’s avatar

    I’m not going to cut it with the School Fayre crowd but it seemed to work well enough.

    You’ll have to wait and see for the plant, as I am.

  3. Jeanne’s avatar

    I second Reid on this one – jam making sounds far too higher-grade for me!! But I guess on a scale that includes deep-frying wine, it’s pretty basic ;-) Maybe I will have to give it a shot sometime – the shops are full of apricots and there’s nothing I like better than homemade apricot jam!

    Btw, I have seen Kangaroo Paw used in flower arrangements & looked it up previously as it is just so unusual. I’m hoping your plant is the red and green variety!

  4. Santos’s avatar

    i’m curious about the kerosene.

    i used to work in v. chi-chi (shi-shi?) flower shop in los angeles–we tried pushing kangaroo paws on the hollywood set, they just couldn’t comprehend. i love them though. they really do look paw-like–fuzzy fingers reaching out to you….

    have you tried ginger-grapefruit marmalade? v. complementary flavours.

  5. Anthony’s avatar

    Nah it’s really easy, you’ll ace it. Let us know how it goes. You too Reid. Re: Kangaroo Paw, I’m not sure which one I bought but it’s been growing really well Ohmigod! Jams, Gardening – looks like I need some HRT.

    Kerosine is mixed in a 3:1 ratio to check clotting. Given I’m a chronic kitchen drinker, I just couldn’t take the chance. This is first jam I’ve made but ginger-grapefruit could be the go. I forgot to add that a teaspoon of brandy went into each jar.

    “paw-like–fuzzy fingers reaching out to you….” Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

  6. Santos’s avatar

    yes, just wait until your wee weedy unfurls….

  7. teddles_russ’s avatar

    Better late than never – made mulberry conserve a while back, had to use one of those pectin setting sachets but it still came up lovely.

    So give it a go people, you have nothing to lose but some citrus…

  8. Anthony’s avatar

    Still unfurled.

    Never too late and I think right now it’s time to

    Kick out the Jams Motherfuckers! [long air guitar solo]

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