My comfort food is toast, specifically, toast with butter and marmalade. Not just any old butter—rich, creamy, Irish butter, and not just any old marmalade—Seville orange marmalade, preferably homemade.

When I first came to live in America, not surprisingly, I left this comfort food far behind. Your basic loaf of supermarket bread had the consistency of a piece of sponge and was cloyingly sweet. The butter was pale and anemic. And marmalade—what marmalade?

It didn’t take me long to figure out the bread thing. In New York there are any number of great bakeries. Butter, well I could always splurge on those very expensive imports of Kerrygold, and then ration the bejaysus out of it. Or resort to stashing it in my luggage on trips home, hoping airport sniffer dogs didn’t have a taste for butter. But the marmalade proved elusive. Grape jelly was not an option. The only solution was to make my own.

Though a decent marmalade was as rare as hen’s teeth, finding a bitter Seville orange (preInternet-ordering days) in New York was nigh impossible. I was going to have to improvise. Move over Seville oranges. Cue the pink (or red) grapefruit.

All that was many moons ago. Now, each year around December, I keep my eyes open for the fresh crop of Florida grapefruit to hit the stores. Luckily this coincides with the holidays, because I’ve discovered that I’m not the only one who likes pink grapefruit marmalade. I always make two or three batches, knowing I’ll give much away as gifts. The rest sit in my pantry to sustain me year long.

Yes, it’s an afternoon’s work, but shockingly simple to make (oops, let the cat out of the bag on that one). So if you’re in the mood to try something new, here’s my recipe. Warning, it can become addictive.


Pink Grapefruit, preferably organic


¼ cup of water

 *Most jam recipes call for a 1:1 ratio of fruit to sugar.

I use 2:1, but this is a personal taste thing.

Equipment: Sharp knife, it helps if you have a food processor with a grating attachment, but not essential. Scissors. Two large pots. Several glass jars (I use recycled, but you can go buy fancy canning jars if it tickles your fancy). Tongs.

This can get messy, so roll up your sleeves and put on your apron.

  1. Put your jars and lids on to boil in one of the pots.
  2. Scrub the mother out of those grapefruit in warm, soapy water.
  3. Slice them around the middle and pop out any large seeds.
  4. By hand, squeeze some of the juice out of the fruit into cooking pot.
  5. Snip the pith core out of each grapefruit half.
  6. Grate at least half the squeezed halves with the food processor.
  7. Hand cut the other half. Everyone has their own preference for rind thickness.
  8. Plop everything into the cooking pot & add your sugar & water.
  9. Bring to a rolling boil, then let simmer for at least ½ an hour, stirring occasionally. Then it’s up to you. I prefer my marmalade slightly runny and a golden amber color. If you prefer a stickier consistency cook a little longer, but don’t overdue it or you’ll get scorched, grapefruit flavored glue.
  10. While hot, ladle into glass jars & put full jars back into canning pot and bring back up to a boil for about ten minutes. This will seal the lids. Take out and let cool. Often you’ll hear the lids popping as they cool, letting you know the seal is good.

Serve on toast—where else.

Also delicious on crackers with cheese, good for glazing hams, and surprisingly tasty as a chutney-like side with sausages.


If you try this, I’d love to know how you get on, and I’m happy to answer any questions.





  1. tedstrutz

    I love Marmalade! Especially on Toast! And Ice Cream!

    I’m way too lazy to do this, but I’m going to try to convince my sister she should make it. She’s big on making food. Organic of course. I agree about the fruit/sugar ratio.

    1. writeejit Post author

      Ice-cream–hmmm. Got to try that one. Sounds better than ketchup on ice cream, one of a childhood friend’s favorites.


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