Jamalade, you say? Yes. Jamalade. Not quite a jam: toothsome slivers of citrus zest and a touch of pithy bitterness from the addition of citrus pectin make this flavorful preserve reminiscent of marmalade. Yet not quite a marmalade either: the majority of the white pith is left out of this recipe, and the fruit is strained from the syrup and added only at the end of the cooking process, yielding visible chunks of ruby red grapefruit in the final product, and a sweetness that is nicely balanced, but not overwhelmed, by the milder bitter flavor. Jamalade: a kinder, gentler marmalade.
Funny thing is, when I developed the guajillo marm, I made it with me in mind: big, bold, bitter, spicy, smack-me-in-the-face-and-call-me-Sally marmalade. It fits the profile of how I like my sweets: as a surprising and balancing counterpoint to spicy, bitter, smoky or salty. When I was working on this honeyed grapefruit preserve, however, I had my husband in mind: Mr. Sweet Tooth, as I call him, who can easily add jam and honey and chocolate sauce to a bowl of chocolate ice cream (my teeth ache just thinking about it). But as it turns out, his favorite is definitely the grapefruit guajillo (which I like, but think could have used a bit more heat) while I find I’m partial to this honeyed version: I love the texture, with the chewy strips of zest and the chunks of whole fruit suspended in a just-barely-set syrup; I love the flavor, sweet, floral from the honey, tangy and just enough bitterness to conjure up “marmalade” in your mouth; and I love the look of it, the jewel-like tones and the crazy-wild texture, like it’s the Muppet-drummer of jams.
All in all, a winner. And since I still have about 10 pounds of citrus sitting on my kitchen counter, a technique I’m sure I’ll return to as Citruspalooza ’12 rolls on (and on. and on….).
Adapted from Grapefruit and Honey in in Mes Confitures by Christine Ferber
- 3 and 1/2 lbs grapefruit (net about 2 and 1/2 lbs), preferably organic (I used Rio Red grapefruit from G & S Groves in Texas)
- 1 and 3/4 lbs (3 and 1/2 cups) sugar (organic evaporated cane juice)
- 1 lemon, preferably organic (zest + juice)
- 2 and 1/2 oz honey
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1/2 cup citrus pectin (recipe below)
- Day 1. Wash grapefruits and lemon, scrubbing the skin well. Using a very sharp knife or vegetable peeler, slice the zest off of each fruit, leaving behind the majority of the white pith. Sliver the zest and transfer to a large preserving pot. Juice the lemon (reserve spent lemon halves) and add the juice to your pot. Remove the white pith from each grapefruit (reserve pith and seeds), slice the fruit into rounds slightly thinner than 1/4-inch, remove seeds, and quarter each round. Add fruit to the pot. Add sugar, honey and 1 cup water, mix well and bring everything to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Transfer to a heat-safe bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
- Make citrus pectin. Add spent lemon halves, grapefruit pith and seeds to a small saucepan. Cover with cool, filtered water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest, covered (either at room temperature or refrigerated) overnight.
- Day 2. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
- Strain the fruit, collecting the syrup into a wide-bottomed preserving pot. Strain citrus peels from the prepared pectin; discard peels and add 1/2 cup liquid pectin to the preserving pot (reserve remaining pectin for another use). Bring the syrup mixture to a boil over high heat and continue to boil, stirring minimally, until syrup reaches the gel stage (220 degrees F on an accurate instant thermometer), about 20 minutes. Add strained fruit + zest. Bring back to a boil and boil hard until mixture returns to the gel stage, about 5 – 10 minutes. Ladle hot jamalade into jars to ¼-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe rims, affix lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Yields about 5 and 1/2 cups.
- Mme. Ferber calls for apple jelly in this recipe for a pectin boost. You could also use apple pectin, apple juice, or commercial pectin, although the flavor profile will be more jam and less marmalade without the slight bitterness of the citrus pectin.
- Feel free to adjust the honey flavor to your liking: the 2 and 1/2 oz lends a nicely honeyed taste, without the sometimes cloying sweetness that honey can bring. Taste your preserve just before canning and stir in additional honey if desired.
- After preparing the fruit in Day 1, you can let this sit, refrigerated for a few more days if necessary. The zest/peel will get slightly softer, but other than that, there will be no major difference in your final product.
Canned, store in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year.