I met my friend Sherry Akbar at Good Housekeeping and she introduced me to this recipe for grapefruit marmalade.  For the twice-annual High Point furniture markets, she, the decorating editor, and I, advertising/marketer, would be the two man delegation representing this 4.6 million circulation title as we toured all the show rooms, meeting up with teams of six, eight, 10 or more from other magazines (including my current employer, House Beautiful).  It worked out really well – two can maneuver much more quickly than a horde. She'd scout out her story ideas while I made the advertising contacts and then whoosh, on to the next.  

High Point is very spread out and for some unknown reason we always ended up staying in remote locations, reliably inconvenient and consistently dreary. So lots of driving time to chat, not even counting the times we got lost since we then had to focus on finding our way.

Sherry's family is from Iran and I was fascinated and charmed by her background.  Naturally we talked food, and in sharing my enthusiasm for canning, she mentioned her mother made a mean pink grapefruit marmalade.  I couldn't get enough of her ravishing descriptions of this silky blend of not too sweet, not too bitter marmalade she'd been brought up on.  Nothing else ever quite like it.  I had to have the recipe.

As could be predicted, her mom, Homa, kept it in her head.  The only way Sherry was going to get it was to visit mom down in D.C. and take notes, which are transcribed word for word below.

If you've ever made jams and jellies, you know how important precise measurements and timings are, and the heartbreak of a poorly set batch.   Full disclosure — most of my fruit "syrups" or "conserves" (a great word covering any degree of liquid to almost-but-not-quite jelly or jam) were originally intended to be more solid. So I approached this recipe with trepidation, especially since it doesn't include the reassurance of commercial gelling agents like Certo or Sure-Jel.

Well this is just one of those miracle recipes.  Feel your way through it and you wind up with the most marvelous, luscious, jewel-toned marmalade.  I guess the pectin in the rinds is all that's needed for a reliable set. It's worked like a charm for me, even when I double it.  (Sterlized jars and lids plus a five minute boiling water bath if you're putting it up.)


2 large pink grapefruit
At least 3 cups sugar

– Take the skin and bring to a boil in water and boil for 5 minutes. (Do this three times to get rid of bitter taste)
– Chop the skin and place in a Cuisnart and chop again into fine little pieces also into mush
– Remove pulp from grapefruits and cover in the sugar in a large bowl for several minutes
– Combine with pulsed skin
– Pour mixture into pot and bring to boil and then simmer until thick — this took us about 20 minutes, but may vary
– It becomes a thick sweet marmalade.

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Written by on December 10, 2009 under Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Relish.

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  • Homemade canning

    Wow! Very interesting explanation of research. My friend will love this. Nice photos!

    • Sean

      Glad you like. This is one of my favorites

      • jettie

        This recipe sounds outstanding, but you said to boil the skin. Do you mean the whole of the peel or only the rind?
        Thanks so much.

  • Homemade canning

    Wow! Very interesting explanation of research. My friend will love this. Nice photos!

  • Zinnia

    I just received a large box of Texas Ruby Red’s and was looking for a marmalade recipe that didn’t use commerical gelling agents (which, for my taste, make for a too sweet marmalade). I will be trying/canning your fine recipe this week! I wonder if this will work equally well with lemons?

    Boiling the rinds three times must be the key. I have a Jacques Pepin recipe for candied grapefruit that I really like, and he calls for boiling the rinds three times, also.

    • Sean

      Lucky you to get the Ruby Reds! As I said, I was skeptical at first b/c most
      recipes are so exact and precise. Let me know how it works out! BTW, it
      works just as well with regular ones but the red and pink ones are extra

  • Sawhitney

    Have you tried making this in the Ball FreshTech?

    • Sean

      I haven’t tried marmalade in the FreshTech b/c the cooking times are pre-set. Once the timer goes off, the FreshTech shuts down until it cools down, so if you wanted to cook it a little more you’d have to wait. So I’ve only used the FreshTech as per the instructions, jams and jellies. If you do try it share the results!

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