“Maude Ellen” Marmalade

Yields 4-5 half pint jars
By Kate Payne • Photography by Jo Ann Santangelo

Fairly difficult

“Maude Ellen” Marmalade


For 1 Batch(es)


  • 2 organic grape fruits
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 3 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
  • 2 dried puya or guajillo chiles

“Maude Ellen” Marmalade Directions

  1. Day 1: Prepare the grapefruits by slicing into the rind fully through the peels without cutting through the flesh of the fruit. Slice the rinds into quarters and peel each quarter from the fruit, reserving the peeled fruit. Place the rinds into a stainless steel pot and cover with tap water (not the filtered water). Bring to a boil, cover the pot and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Drain the simmered peels, and repeat this process 2 more times. Drain the peels for the final time and allow them to cool. Remove as much pith from the peeled grapefruit as possible, then use a very sharp knife to slice each fruit into 2 halves from pole to pole. Slit a ‘v’ in the inside of each half to remove what’s called the “rag” and use a finger to feel along the v-cut section to remove seeds. Do this over a cutting board with grooves to catch the juice. Slice into 3 or 4 smaller sections and chop the fruit into thin sections or use a food processor to pulse (not liquefy) the fruit.
  3. Remove any excess pith from inside the now-cooled peels and slice each peel into thin shreds. Combine the pulp and sliced peels in a large nonreactive pot and add the filtered water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat, allow to cool to room temperature and place the pot (or mixture poured into a glass bowl) into the refrigerator overnight.
  4. Day 2: Measure the volume of the mixture in the bowl or pot. Add equal part sugar to match the volume of the mixture. For a more bitter marmalade, reduce the sugar by no more than 1 cup. Add the lemon juice, cinnamon and chiles. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat until the sugar granules dissolve, then raise the heat to medium-high until the frozen spoon test (explained below) results show a set. Skim the foam from the top of the mixture as it cooks.
  5. It usually takes about 30 minutes for a mixture to reach a set, but look for the bubbles to have spaced out throughout the pot and the mixture to be slightly darker. Stir occasionally to make sure the mixture isn’t scorching where it meets the bottom of the pan. Once cooked to the set point, remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes. Ladle the hot marmalade into hot jars and follow water-bath canning procedures with a half–inch headspace and using a 10-minute processing time. If not canning the jars, place in the refrigerator after the marmalade has cooled to room temperature and use within 6 months.

Recipe notes

Frozen Spoon Test: Since marmalades firm up and gel as they cool, this test is a simple, effective way to tangibly assess how the mixture will gel once cooled. To perform the test, stick 4 or 5 metal teaspoons in the freezer on a plate before cooking the marmalade on day 2. When it looks like the marmalade might be finished, remove the pot from the stove entirely and grab the plate of spoons from the freezer. Dip 1 of them into the pot to scoop up some of the marmalade. Place the spoon back on plate and set the plate back in the freezer for a few minutes. Remove the plate again and notice the texture of the marmalade when you tip the spoon over. This will be the consistency of the marmalade at room temperature and in the fridge after opening. If it’s still runny or syrupy, return the pot to the heat and continue to cook. Retest by repeating these steps.

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