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February 2, 2017

Fulfilling my challenge to use a new recipe every week for a year, I have made for the first time a marmalade using pink grapefruits, lemons and Seville oranges. I watched a neighbour finely cutting peel for his marmalade recipe which had been passed down from his mother decades ago. He was unspecific about quantity so I looked up my usual Seville orange recipe and bought the equivalent weight made up with 5 Sevilles, 2 lemons, 2 pink grapefruit and 2 kg of granulated sugar.  The fruit was cooked whole for 2 hours in 3 L of water and when it had cooled the fruit was halved and the inner flesh scooped out. This pulp was saved in a clean tea towel and squeezed really hard to extract the pectin into a measuring jug before topping it up to 2 pints with the cooking liquid. The orange and grapefruit peel was cut fairly thin and the lemon peel discarded. The cut fruit went back into the preserving pan with the liquid plus the sugar (which had been warmed in a low oven). It was stirred until the sugar had completely dissolved before boiling fast for 15 minutes. I used the cold plate test and it only took this short time to set. Poured into sterilised jars this quantity made six various sized pots ( two were given away).


There were  Seville oranges still on offer in the local supermarket and in the greengrocer yesterday so I plan to make a second batch.

Finally stirrings are afoot (after three weeks) in pots of broad beans and peas in the pop up greenhouse. Not quite worthy of a photograph yet and a reminder that until the weather warms up, unless the greenhouse has any heat other than nature, there’s really no point in sowing early. I am determined this year to hold back on sowing any seeds until mid-March to avoid juggling trays of seedlings in a very limited space.  They always get leggy and mid-April will be soon enough for most to be re-planted in the beds.

But slowly the ground is warming up demonstrated by the dormant rhubarb now emerging and unfurling these pretty pink leaves.


I picked the tallest hellebore flower I could find and seared the cut end over a flame for 60 seconds. It’s surrounded by the leaves of the arum lily and is sitting on my desk as a little gesture towards Spring.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2017 2:50 pm

    Your marmalade sounds delicious; It’s good to experiment with new recipes especially if tried and tested by someone you know. I’m trying not to sow any of the things I know will need warmth or more light and I have now bought a temporary coldframe so many of the hardy plants are now in that, it should ensure that they don’t grow quite so quickly as in the greenhouse and hopefully they’ll put on a good root system at this stage. I’m planning to plant out my first batch of peas and broad beans tomorrow! I envy you the rhubarb, sadly its just too hot and dry for it here.

    • February 2, 2017 9:36 pm

      My little cold frame has kept several tender plants safe all Winter. It sits on the ground and we have had severe frosts but they all look healthy in there. Now full to bursting so the breaks are on.

  2. February 5, 2017 12:37 pm

    Marvellous. I bet the pink grapefuit makes it extra zingy!
    I’ve just split my arum italicum, but as I dug the soil I discover hundreds (probably literally) of babies from dropped seed, so I won’t be short of those marvellous leaves any time soon.

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