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.
- 1 lb cranberries, preferably organic
- 1 lb red grapefruit, preferably organic
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup dry white wine (I used Casal Garcia)
- 2 heaping tsp coarse French grey sea salt
- about 1 and 1/3 lbs (scant 3 cups) raw sugar (organic turbinado)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Canned, store in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year.