1-2-3-4 Citrus Jam

I’ve been sick since Wednesday’s epic 9-hour air travel adventure coming home from Toronto. (Yes, Toronto to New York. Nine hours. Did I mention there was curling and bad airport beer involved? Sigh.) Nothing major, just a cold I’m sure, but since I’m almost never sick, I’m completely impatient with the whole process. Like I figure a 2-hour nap and a tall glass of OJ ought to fix me right up. And when it doesn’t, I’m totally cranky: What? You’re still here? Be thee gone from my sight, wretched virus! Or something. Can you tell my brain is cold-addled?

This morning the unthinkable happened: We ran out of orange juice. (Alert the media! Call in the National Guard!) Well, not really. We actually run out of orange juice all the time: since it’s definitely not local, in tends to fall in the “luxury” category around here: we’ll buy it, always organic, preferably small farm, and only every so often.  But I will admit that locavorism flies right out the window when I’m trying to get over a cold: I’ve been swimming in vats of the stuff for days. Luckily for me, and my cold-go-away-already crankiness, there was a handy substitute sitting on the pantry shelf: 1-2-3-4 Citrus Jam.

I put this jam up a few weeks ago, with the tail end of the season’s citrus: I had a single Rio Red grapefruit in the fridge, a couple of tangelos, some Meyer lemons and Texas limes leftover from my G & S Groves order. As I had already made a few marmalades, I decided to try a different tact this time around, and used the fruit and the zest, eliminating the white pith (but using it to create citrus peel pectin). The results was not quite what I’d expected, but not bad: definitely citrus-tangy, with a bitter bite from the citrus-peel pectin, but not the wallop of a true marmalade. The pieces of citrus fruit held together surprisingly well, but it made for a sort of pulpy texture to the jam that, while tasty, is not the most visually appealing. And while the jam served its purpose in clearing out the last of my seasonal citrus supply, the sweeter tangelos and Meyers get lost under the acidic bite of lime & grapefruit: if I make this again, I will likely try a combination of just two citrus fruits to see if I can make the individual flavors pop more. That said, I am quite enjoying it on toast, and hopefully, the Vitamin C-packed jam is doing its level best to kick that cold virus to the curb.


1-2-3-4 Citrus Jam


  • 1 Rio Red grapefruit
  • 2 Minneola tangelos
  • 3 Meyer lemons
  • 4 limes (for a total of 3 and 1/2 lbs citrus)
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 and 1/4 lbs (4 and 1/2 cups) sugar (organic turbinado)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups citrus peel pectin (see directions below)
  • 1/4 cup wildflower honey
  • pinch sea salt


  1. Day 1. Scrub citrus well. Zest all of the fruits, taking care to remove only the colored zest, leaving behind the white pith (a microplane zester works brilliantly for this). Cut the white pith off of the fruits and reserve. Quarter the fruits, cut off the middle pith & membrane section, and remove any seeds (add these to the reserved pith). Slice each quarter into 4 to 6 pieces and transfer to a large preserving pan with the water and any fruit juices. Add the sugar and salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat, transfer to a glass or ceramic bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Meanwhile, add your reserved peels, pith & seeds to a medium bowl and add filtered water just to cover.  If necessary, place an inverted plate over the top of the citrus peels to push them all under water. Allow to rest overnight at room temperature.
  3. Day 2. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
  4. Transfer the fruit mixture to your clean preserving pan. Strain the peels & seeds from your pectin water, and add 1 and 1/2 cups pectin water to the fruit. Bring to a boil over high heat and continue boiling briskly, with minimal stirring, until the set point:  220 degrees F on an instant thermometer, or a small dollop on a frozen plate wrinkles when you push it after 2 minutes in the freezer. Add the honey in the last few minutes of cooking time. Ladle hot jam into hot jars to 1/4-inch headspace, wipe rims, affix lids and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Yields about 5 cups.


  1. Any combination of citrus, for a total of 3 and 1/2 lbs of fruit, will work here; in fact, if I made this again I would probably not use four different fruits. Mostly what I can taste is lime, with a background of bitter grapefruit; the sweet orange and Meyer lemon flavors are overshadowed. This recipe served its purpose, i.e. using up the last of the season’s citrus before it went bad, but I would probably try to showcase the milder citrus in another recipe rather than make this one again (although I admit, I was charmed,and still am, by the whole 1-2-3-4 idea). That said, it packs a nice citrusy punch and the basic method is quite adaptable to whatever citrus you have on hand.
  2. This is not the prettiest jam I’ve ever seen: the colors were so gorgeous when I first combined the citrus, but the raw sugar put a brown wash to everything. White sugar might be a good option here, but I supsect with the green, red, orange & yellow citrus, there is little way that this would not have ended up brown.
  3. There is a definite bitter citrus bite to this jam: not quite marmalade, but not far off. I suspect it’s a combination of all the zest and the citrus-peel pectin; if you want to dial back on the bitterness, try an apple pectin instead, and/or cut down on the zest.


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




  1. What Julia Ate

    How can you not be charmed by 1-2-3-4, especially if it’s citrus. Now that Feist song is in my head; not a bad thing! I think the jam is quite pretty, btw…

  2. Ya got any good bread recipes?? With all the jam recipes you have… you gotta have a couple of mean bread recipes lying around. We have some amazing local winter wheat flour I’ve been itching to use up… and my usual recipes are getting tiresome.

  3. Hi Allen,

    Sure do, although there are *way* more scone recipes than bread. I’m such a perfectionist about my basic bread recipe that I keep putting off posting it, hoping I’m going to get it ‘perfect’ one of these days.

    But, if you go to Categories in the right hand sidebar, scroll down to “grains and legumes” and under that main heading you’ll find “breads.” I’ve got biscuits, rolls, sandwich breads, hearth bread, focaccia, and lots of scones. Whole wheat naan is also in the queue (just need to make another batch and take pictures this time!).

    All I use in my baking is local NY whole wheat flour: white wheat, red wheat and whole wheat pastry, so it should adapt well to whatever you are hankering for. Hope you find something to pique your interest!

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