three citrus marmalade (and reasons to be grateful)

When the house next door (which has been vacant for a year) goes up in flames in the wee hours of the morning, it’s pretty scary.  When your own kitchen fills with smoke because flames are bursting from the kitchen windows next door, it’s really scary. Like round-up-the-pets-and-pack-up-your-valuables scary. Like pray-to-all-higher-powers-that-an-ember-does-not-jump-onto-your-roof scary. I’ve never in my life felt my heart pound so hard inside my chest. I can still feel an echo of that pounding.

And I am extremely grateful. I am grateful for the roof over my head. More now than ever in my life. I am grateful that I am constantly surrounded by family and friends. I am grateful for my cats and my dog, who make me smile and feel safe when I sleep at night. I am grateful for my life. I am grateful to be here.

On a much lighter brighter note, I’m grateful for all the babies who are making their way into this world. And for the lovely little fella who arrived just the other day, belonging to my cousin and her hubby. Congrats, ladies and gents!

I’m also grateful for this marmalade, which for a couple of hours helped to take my mind off all the craziness that has been swirling around the past few days. Marmalade always reminds me of Paddington Bear, who I believe would have approved of this gem. It’s a three citrus marmalade made of blood orange, pink grapefruit, and Meyer lemon, a sort of citrus trifecta if I do say so myself. This is everything I was dreaming of when this marmalade mission began – it has a very pronounced citrus flavor, a nice sticky consistency, and is just a tiny bit bitter. Plus, it’s absolutely gorgeous. You’ll be grateful to have it to put on your toast in the morning.

three citrus marmalade

adapted from Well Preserved by Eugenia Bone

makes 4 or 5 half-pints

4 organic blood oranges *

2 organic Meyer lemons *

1 organic pink grapefruit *

5 cups sugar **

1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter

*Feel free to change the ratio of citrus to your liking.

** The amount of sugar used is dependent on the amount of pulp your fruit yields.

Peel the skin from the blood oranges with a pairing knife. Cut the rinds into matchstick-size pieces. Place peels in a large pot and cover with 4 cups o water. Set aside.

Grate the zest from the grapefruit and lemons and add to the pot with the orange peels. Cook over medium heat until the rinds are tender, about 25 minutes. Do not drain.

Meanwhile, remove any excess pith from the reserved fruit. Cut the fruit in half along the equator and remove seeds with a pairing knife. Over a medium bowl, separate the sections of the fruit and squeeze the juice from the pulp. You can also use kitchen shears to assist with this process. Alternately, you can place all of the fruit into the bowl of a food processor and grind to a chunky pulp.

Measure the pulp and then add to the pot of cooled rinds. Let the mixture rest for 2 hours, covered in a cool place or the refrigerator.

Add an equal amount of sugar to the pulp and rinds. Add the butter. Cook over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes. When the temperature reaches 220°F on a candy thermometer, the marmalade is ready.

While your marmalade is cooking, fill your canner with a rack and bring water to a boil. Sterilize 4 or 5 half-pint jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove the jars with tongs. Simmer the lids in a small lot of of hot water.

When the jars are dry but still hot, pour in the marmalade, leaving 1/2 to 3/4- inch of headspace at the top of each jar.  Wipe the rims, set on the lids, and screw on the bands to fingertip tight.

Place the jars in the canner. Make sure there is at least 3-inches of water above the jars. Boil over high heat for 10 minutes. Turn of the heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove the jars from the canner . Allow the jars to sit, undisturbed, for 4 to 6 hours. You will hear a popping noise as the vacuum is created in the jars. Store in a cool, dark place or up to 1 year. Refrigerate after opening.