I have a bad habit of buying a mountain of fruit without much of a plan and then letting it sit around while I ponder and research. It doesn’t get me into too much trouble this time of year since apples, pears and citrus can store fairly well. It becomes more of a problem during the summer months, when things ripen at lightning speed.
When I came across a tower of red grapefruit priced four for $1, I bought eight, figuring they’d keep until I determined how to deal with them. I tucked the bag into the back of the fridge while I considered marmalades, curds and jellies. By the time I came back to it, more than two weeks had passed. Thankfully, grapefruit are sturdy and so they didn’t suffer too terribly in the interim.
Because the fruit wasn’t organic, I decided against marmalade (always best not to use the whole fruit if you don’t know how it was treated) and instead opted for a grapefruit jam. I was inspired by the filling I made for this citrus tart a few weeks back. I also happen to love the flavor of grapefruit and I was hopeful that it would translate well to a spreadable preserve.
When it comes to grapefruit, I’ve never been one of those people who cuts it in half, carefully dusts it with sugar and digs it with a spoon. I eat ’em peeled and segmented, just like an orange. It’s a little messy, but truly, there’s no way to deal with a grapefruit that isn’t just a little messy.
This recipe makes two pints (or four half pints if that’s your preferred measure). It’s a little bit of work to supreme the fruit (instructions here), but once that part is done, it cooks up in about 20 minutes like so many speedier jams. Spread on a buttered English muffin, it’s delivers the grapefruit flavor nicely, without the bitterness you get from marmalade. And though I like a hint of bitter on occasion, I was entirely fine not to find it here.
- 8 large red grapefruit (approximately 4 pounds)
- 2 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
- Start by supreming the grapefruit. Do this by cutting the top and bottom off. Then, working from north pole to south, cut the rind off the fruit (you want to expose the interior surface of the fruit). When rind is entirely removed, use the knife to separate the fruit from the membrane of the fruit.
- Collect the naked fruit sections and their juice in a large bowl. Set any seeds you find aside. Bundle them up in a length of cheesecloth. They’ll give the jam an extra hit of pectin.
- Once all the fruit is supremed, pour it into a large, non-reactive pot and add the sugar and the cheesecloth bundle containing the seeds. Stir until the sugar begins to dissolve.
- Turn the heat to high and bring the fruit mixture to a boil. Cook at a bubble, stirring regularly, until the jam reaches 220 degrees and passes the plate/sauce/wrinkle test (remove the pot from the heat source while you’re testing to prevent scorching).
- When the jam passes these set tests, pour into prepared jars. Apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for ten minutes.
- When time is up, remove jars from canner and let them cool on a folded kitchen towel. When jars are cool to the touch, remove rings and test seals. Store sealed jars in a cool, dark place. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used first.