Salted Cranberry Grapefruit Jam

salted cranberry grapefruit jamCranberries. Rio red grapefruit. Salt. Booze. If I could somehow cram bacon and popcorn in there, I may just spend the rest of my life hiding in a closet with this jam. And a spoon.

I almost forgot this year about my standing order of organic cranberries from Cranberry Hill Farm in Plymouth, MA; which seems crazy, considering how much I love them. But between work, the holidays, being in Maine with Grandma, and a few other curveballs that life threw my way this winter, it wasn’t until sometime in January when I smacked myself in the forehead and thought, “Oh, no! Cranberries!” Luckily for me, Cranberry Hill still had fresh berries in stock. (I order through Local Harvest, as it is easy, and as of this writing, it appears they still have fresh berries in stock.)

I enjoyed some of my cranberries right away, with a batch of cranberry nut bread and some cranberry orange scones. I made a cranberry Meyer lemon marmalade (which it seems I am not getting around to posting; maybe next year). But I finally decided that my 5-lb bag had been sitting in the bottom of the fridge for long enough and it was probably time to freeze the remainder of my berries to enjoy throughout the year. I was inspired, however, to make one more cranberry preserve by the last of my Texas Rio red grapefruits, still tucked in the crisper drawer, awaiting something special.

I’m not sure why I thought of salt, other the fact that I’ve been craving it (more than usual) of late. But I must say that I love the combination: funky, mineral-rich French sel gris, tart, spicy cranberries and bright, acidic grapefruit. It all came together so nicely, and the pectin-rich cranberries & citrus set up so quickly that the preserve has a very bright, fresh fruit flavor that hardly tastes cooked at all. While this preserve does contain the rind of the grapefruit, I detected very little of the bitterness associated with a classic marmalade (hence I went with “jam”), though there are bursts of flavor when you hit a whole cranberry or a piece of grapefruit rind. All in all, I call this one a great success: lovely on buttered toast, on a cracker with goat cheese or cheddar, and I’m already planning a rich, buttery potato soup with a dollop of this jam stirred in. And if a bartender in Oregon can make a marmalade whiskey sour, surely I can whip up a salted cranberry jamarita? The mind reels.

salted cranberry grapefruit jamSalted Cranberry Grapefruit Jam

INGREDIENTS

METHODS

  1. Day 1. Scrub grapefruit rind and dry. Cut grapefruit into quarters, then cut each quarter in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and center pith, then slice each section thinly, crosswise, into little triangles. Combine grapefruit, cranberries, water, wine & salt in a large, wide Dutch oven or preserving pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Day 2. Prepare canner, jars and lids. Add sugar to cranberry mixture and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Taste and adjust salt or sugar as needed. Raise heat to high and boil, stirring only as necessary to prevent sticking, until jam reaches the set point (about 10 minutes in my widest Le Creuset). Use the freezer test here, as my jam reached the set point at 216 degrees F. Remove from heat, taste one last time for adjustments, then fill hot jars to 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rims, affix lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Yields approximately 6 and 1/2 cups.

salted cranberry grapefruit jamOPTIONS

  1. While I wanted this to be sweet enough to taste like “jam,” it is still quite tart: feel free to adjust the sugar, up or down, as you like. I would start with at least 1 lb, and work your way up from there. 
  2. I love the flavor of this preserve with red grapefruit, but it strikes me that it might be even more balanced, and require a bit less sugar, made with oranges. Blood oranges or Cara Cara in particular would be lovely.
  3. This is definitely not the time for regular table salt: bust out a fancy French salt, flaky finishing salt, or pink Hawaiian salt that your friend brought you back from vacation ages ago. Salts can vary substantially in their saltiness (for lack of a better term), so add sparingly and taste, adjust, taste.

STORE

Canned, store in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year.

SEASON

Winter.

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35 comments

  1. I am so intrigued by this! My citrus preserving is limited this year, but this must go on the to-do list. The thought of a dollop sitting atop some goat cheese like a jewel is making me swoon.

  2. Stella

    Sounds lovely, thanks! What does the white wine add? I’ve only ever added spirits (rum, whisky) at the very end of cooking – is there any of the white wine flavor left by the end when you add it so early?

  3. Hi Stella,

    Good question. When added early, the ethanol cooks off but what is left behind is whatever flavors the wine has that are not necessarily just alcohol: in this case, since I used a mildly dry white wine, what’s added is a bit of complexity, some dry tang, mild apple and floral flavors of the wine. It’s fairly subtle, and you could certainly substitute water, but I think it adds to the overall flavor. Of course, a more assertive wine will add a different flavor.

  4. Stella

    Thanks for the reply! I’ll try it with white wine then since it sounds intriguing (was mostly wondering whether it would be worth getting a bottle since it’s not something I have around the house usually, but I certainly don’t mind changing that occasionally!). I saw that one of the local shops has organic blood oranges on sale, so I’ll use those instead of the red grapefruit – I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    • Hi Connie,

      I’ve never made a freezer jam, so I wouldn’t know how to instruct you. I believe that they use a special kind of pectin, and since I don’t use any added pectin in this recipe, I suspect it would have to be modified.

      This recipe is so acidic, however, from the citrus and cranberries, that it will last for months in the refrigerator. You could cut the recipe in half, or even in quarters, and make a single jar for the fridge.

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    • Sarah

      The jam looks absolutely beautiful. My friends however weren’t fond of it – way too bitter. I used all organic ingredients and even added a bit more sugar – but it was just too bitter. I love the flavor combination and I think I’ll try making it again and just change a couple things. I’ll peel the rind and slice it thinly and actually peel each segment of grapefruit to eliminate more pith. I’m sad it was so bitter! Such a beautiful color :( Do you think that would eliminate some bitterness? Thanks for your help.

      • Hi Sarah,

        I do like a bitter marmalade and this has more marmalade flavor than you may have been expecting. You could certainly strip off the zest with a peeler and cut away the rind: that would eliminate most of the bitterness (and I would try that before I went to the trouble of a supreme for each section). And you can always add more sugar; as it you increase, it will result in a firmer set, but you may need more as you will be cutting out some pectin in removing the rind.

        I’m sorry you found it to be bitter; one thing I tend to do with preserves that don’t thrill me, flavor wise, is to use them on roasted or braised meat.That tends to mellow them out and adds a savory richness to the flavor, so that even an overly sweet or bitter jam comes out beautifully as the glaze for pork or chicken.

        • Sarah

          Hi – I liked the jam – I was surprised how much my friends didn’t. I also tend to like bitter/tart things more than sweet and jammy….but I love the idea of using it on roasted or braised meat. I appreciate your feedback! The organic grapefruit I used also looked like it had quite a bit more pith than the beautiful one in your picture – probably added to the bitterness. I think it would be tasty o
          n a crusty bread with goat cheese and a little drizzled raw honey. Thanks again!

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  7. adalinejacobson

    I only have 1/2 pound of cranberries. Do you think it will be OK? Or is there another berry I could sub? I have a ton of frozen blueberries.

    • I would just make half a batch. I think blueberries would really change the flavor. Not bad, just different. Now that I think about it, salted blueberry-grapefruit might be awesome as well; I just wonder if it will get muddy with cran + blue + grapefruit.

      • I made 2 batches, one with cranberries, and one with blueberries. I did 1/2 grapefruit and 1/2 orange for both of them. The cranberry batch turned out really salty! But I made some salad dressing with it and that was great. I think I will save it for serving alongside turkey and mashed potatoes :) The blueberry batch was really great though. It would be terrific on waffles, ice cream, toast, whatever. I used grey “Bretagne” sea salt from France.

  8. This must be good. My dad grows pomelos and when I visit I get a bunch of them when they are in season. So, I wonder how it would turn out if I subbed pomelos instead of the grapefruit. I may make both the original and one with pomelo to see what happens. :D

  9. This is an awesome recipe!!!! I made some yesterday and it came out PERFECT. The flavor is so complex; tangy and slightly sweet with the hint of the salt in the finish. (And I actually used a dry rose wine). It is quite tart, but it’s what you would expect from grapefruit and cranberry. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT

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  11. kb

    Thank you for the inspiration – I made jam/marmalade with some minor modifications and it was delicious. +1 cup brown sugar, -1/2 tsp salt, orange juice instead of water, prosecco instead of casal garcia – my marmalade taste-testers loved it – my sweet-loving american palate jam-tasters said “interesting” and “when are the strawberries and plums coming back” :)

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