Ruby Grapefruit and Blood Orange Jelly

This is a fabulous jelly with a tart/sweet flavour and a colour reminiscent of the bottom part of a tequila sunrise but it’s perhaps not for marmalade beginners who aren’t confident about testing for a set.

Because of time constraints I haven’t been able to double or triple test this recipe as I normally do. I used a new-to-me method based on one in Marguerite Patten’s excellent Jams, Preserves and Chutneys. She says, and she’s right, that you must not waste any part of the fruit, otherwise the marmalade will not set. Mine took forever, in fact I re-boiled it, so you may prefer to use jam sugar or regular sugar with added pectin, in which case follow the instructions on the packet. Mind you, I did forget the lemon juice.

That said, it really is a lovely jelly, and well worth the anxious ‘is it set or isn’t it, drat, I need to boil it longer’ palaver. I would advise using the old-fashioned method of testing the set on a chilled saucer rather than relying on a jam thermometer, which can lull you into a false sense of security. If it wrinkles when pushed with a finger after a few minutes in the fridge or freezer, it’s done. Trust me, there are few things more tiresome than having to empty all your lovingly bottled and labelled jelly back into the pan when you discover it runs off your toast and up your arm.

Ruby Grapefruit and Blood Orange Jelly

  • Servings: Varies but expect 4 or 5 medium jars
  • Print


3 ruby or pink grapefruit

3 large blood oranges

2.8 litres water (5 imperial pints)

Granulated sugar (see recipe)

The juice of one lemon, strained


Halve the fruit, squeeze the juice and set aside in the fridge. Keep any seeds and pulp left in the juicer.

Roughly chop the skins and place in a large bowl with any debris from the squeezing process. Add the water, cover and set aside overnight.

Next day, put the chopped skins and their liquid in a large pan, bring to a boil and simmer gently for an hour and a half, until soft. (Do not add the squeezed juice yet.) Strain the liquid and discard the fruit and other debris.

Now add the reserved juice and lemon juice. Measure it, and for every 570ml of liquid, weigh out 450g of sugar. Sorry the measurements are a bit odd, I converted this from imperial measures and you need to be fairly accurate. If you’re using added pectin or jam sugar, check the packet for any alternative instructions.

Put the combined liquids back into a clean preserving pan, add the sugar and heat gently, stirring until the the sugar has melted. Increase the heat and boil steadily until setting point is reached (please see intro).

Decant into warmed, sterilised jars and seal. Yes, I know, I put a lot of butter on that toast.

15 thoughts on “Ruby Grapefruit and Blood Orange Jelly

  1. “perhaps not for marmalade beginners” is such a ‘red flag in front a bull’ for me. Fortunately I do not have access to most of the ingredients down here so I am not in danger of certain failure. “testing for a set.” “jam sugar” “palaver” “sterilised” have all sent me to the dictionary, Wikipedia and Amazon. Marguerite Patten’s ‘Jams, Preserves and Chutneys’ is now on my Amazon wishlist though I will first try to get it from an independent bookstore when I get home. Thanks yet again.

    • Oh, I’m sorry Chip, but this did make me laugh! We think we share a language but there are so many pitfalls. It’s actually a very easy recipe, it just took forever to set and in the past I’ve had several private messages from frantic cooks asking me to try to help long-distance with the setting point of jams and marmalades, so a word of warning seemed appropriate. I think you’ll like the book, it’s one of a Basics series but it’s very reliable and full of good ideas. Hope you enjoy it even if you never make the jelly! 🙂 Linda

  2. What a fantastic color. I’ve had my share of natural pectin failures, so it would be sugar with pectin for me. I’ve not made jelly in a year or so and not in the winter, but red grapefruit and blood oranges are at the market these days so I say why not.

Leave a Reply