After a few glorious spring-fever inducing days, the weather has turned mean again here in New York: rain soaked, chilly, and furiously windy. Flowerpots are flying off fire escapes and shattering on the sidewalk, trash cans are taking off rolling down the street; tree limbs are snapping, umbrellas shredding — and generally, everyone with any sense is staying inside with a novel and a pot of Earl Gray. A slog to the market does not sound appealing. Happily, I’ve still got a few fragrant pink grapefruit and a loose fistful of kuquats in a bowl on the table. I spend half an hour peeling and pithing and slicing — and sighing deeply as their sunny perfume fills the apartment — and throw them in a saucepan with a generous scoop of vanilla sugar for a long simmer. Voila: by teatime, we’ve got a lovely sweet and sour marmalade to slather on our toast.

2 pink grapefruits
A handful of kumquats
1 1/2 cups vanilla sugar
1/4 teaspoon natural pectin

1. Slice the kumquats crosswise into thin discs — as thin as you can make them, and taking care to remove any seeds or thick membranes. (You may just be left with what looks like a circle of rind. It’s ok.)

2. Slice off the stem end of the grapefruits and then, using a sharp peeler and a light touch, peel the rind off each one in long strips, making sure to leave as much of the white pith on the fruit as possible. Slice the strips of rind into small, skinny matchsticks and drop into a small saucepan, add the kumquat slices, and just cover with water. Bring the mixture to boil, then put a lid on the pot and remove from the heat. After 15-20 drain off the water and set it aside.

3. Using a sharp knife, trim the white pith from the grapefruits. Then slice between the membranes to cut out the fleshy sections of the fruit, avoiding the seeds. Drop the fruit sections into a large pot, then squeeze the membranes over the pot until juice stops running from them. Add the reserved peel to the pot along with the sugar. Stir to combine and then bring to a boil. (If your grapefruits are not very juicy, you may want to add a couple of tablespoons of water here. It’s a judgment call.) Sprinkle in the pectin and stir immediately to combine, so that it does not clump.

4. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until the marmalade is thick and translucent. Spoon into a jar, and store in the refrigerator. You could process it in a hot water bath to truly “preserve” it — but this is a small batch, and trust me, its not going to last long.


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