Blood Orange & Grapefruit Marmalade


Let me warn you, this recipe might be really sweet, but it’s well worth it, and I can give you options to lessen the sweetness.

I’ll be honest with you, I hated marmalade growing up. I could never understand why oranges (which I never really enjoyed as a child either…mostly because they were annoying to eat…) would be made into a jam, with its bitter peels. My dad loved the stuff and would always buy a jar for him to eat with toast for breakfast.

But then, I grew up and started appreciating oranges, and its sweet jelly. As a child, I also watched Paddington, and he always ate the stuff (akin to Winnie and his honey). I recently watched the live action movie, and it was nostalgic and a feel good movie – a definite see if you haven’t already! After watching it, I was craving marmalade. I hadn’t had it in years and instead of buying a jar, I did what any crazynormal person would…make it!

While I researched various recipes, I realized I didn’t want to make a huge batch. This one made 1.5 jars (one of which I gave). Typically, marmalade is made with Seville oranges (which are in season at the moment), but I decided to use a combination of grapefruit and blood oranges. I also decided to add a star anise and a bit of vanilla bean paste. These two were really great additions, which enhanced the citrus flavour, and the liquorice notes from the star anise complemented the orange really well! The vanilla also added a hint of sweetness, and the marmalade was speckled with vanilla bean.

Don’t lose faith in the process. I was boiling it for a long time, and was about to give up and add pectin. But when cooled, it actually set! I was really happy. Let’s get to the recipe.


  • 1 large grapefruit
  • 2 small blood oranges
  • 3 1/3 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar  ***see note
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • juice of 1 lemon


Cut the grapefruit and blood oranges crosswise, and squeeze the juice into a bowl and set aside. Reserve the seeds into a cheesecloth or teabag. Using a spoon, spoon out the flesh, leaving behind the pith and peel. Slice the peels into strips (about 0.5 cm or less). Add peels to a sauce pan with the water and the pouch of seeds and let it soak overnight to soften.


The next day, heat the peels on medium heat for about 20 minutes, until the peels soften more. Add the reserved juice, the lemon juice, sugar, star anise, and vanilla. Bring it to a boil on high, then lower to medium to keep on a simmer for about an hour, until the peels become translucent and mixture begins to thicken.


If you have a candy thermometer, it should stay at 220 degrees F. If not, you can use the plate test, by putting a couple dishes in the freezer. Spoon a little bit onto the cold plate, and run your finger down the middle. If it gels up and creates wrinkles, then it’s done!

Ladle into jars and store in fridge. Alliteratively, you can use a canning method to keep them on the shelf indefinitely, but otherwise they will keep fine in the fridge! Enjoy with some toast, or try swirling it in some yogurt or oatmeal 🙂


If you don’t like it too sweet, or your oranges are sweet, you can definitely reduce the sugar (or use an alternative sweetener) and add a pouch of pectin.


What are your favourite kinds of fruit jams or preserves?


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