I’m a little late getting this recipe posted, but it is definitely not too late to make it yourself! There is still plenty of fresh citrus in the stores this spring, and you can change up what you use to suit what you can find.
I wanted to get this posted before I left to spend a week in Arizona with my folks, sister and brothers, but as so often happens, time got away from me and I am not getting to until now. I hope it’s right on time for you though!
This time of year, you may find that your supply of homemade jams and jellies from last summer and fall are starting to run out, and you need something to get through to that first batch of strawberry preserves, still at least a month away here in Upstate NY. This fast and easy Citrus Jam is the answer.
It is way easier than making marmalade, because you don’t have to zest any of the fruit, and there is no overnight steeping – just section up the fruit, get it all in a pot with some sugar and in an hour or so, you are ready to put some sun-shiny into the jars – not to mention on your toast!
I used a combo of red grapefruit, mandarin oranges, lemons and limes, but you can switch the proportions out however you like. Sectioning the fruit, also called cutting supremes, is a little fiddly, but making sure you have a very sharp knife makes it pretty easy, once you get the hang of it.
Begin by washing and drying the fruit. Cut off the ends, until you can see the ends of the sections. Set the fruit on one of the cut ends, and use your knife to remove the peel in strips, following the contour of the fruit as you go down the side. When you get done, you will see where each section meets the next – cut between the membranes to remove the sections of fruit, leaving the bitter membranes behind. Squeeze as much juice as you can from the membranes, as well as from the skin you removed, which will have some bits of fruit on it.
The grapefruit are big, so they’re pretty easy, and I didn’t even bother with the mandarins – I just peeled them and cut across into slices. You only want to use a few lemons and limes, because they are more sour. Once the fruit is prepared, the rest is a breeze.
- 6 mandarin oranges
- 4 red grapefruit
- 3 limes
- 2 lemons
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- Peel the oranges, and cut cross-ways into thin slices. Place in a large, heavy saucepan.
- Cut the grapefruits, lemons and limes into supremes: Cut off each end enough to expose the fruit. Run a very sharp knife down the sides, following the contour of the fruit as you remove the skin. Remove the sections of fruit by cutting between the membranes.
- Add the fruit sections to the pan, along with the juice squeezed from the membranes and skin.
- Stir in the sugar and set over a medium flame, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes up to a simmer.
- Lower the heat to maintain it at a good simmer, and stir every 5 minutes or so.
- Place a small plate in the freezer - this is to test the jam for doneness.
- After about 20 minutes, begin testing the jam with a candy or instant read thermometer - it should be about 220º when it is done. A small amount placed on the cold plate will set up pretty firmly, and when you nudge it with a fingertip, the top will wrinkle a bit. Mine took about an hour to be done, but it depends on the sugar content of the fruit, so start checking every 10 minutes after 20 - 30 minutes.
- When it is done, pour into clean, sterilized jars, and if you want to can it, process via waterbath for 10 minutes. [Detailed instructions on canning jam here]
- You don't have to can it though - it will keep for months in the fridge.
I made it just before all of the kids and grandkids descended upon us for a long weekend, and it was pretty much gone by the time they left. It was on the sharp side for the little people, so I stirred in a tablespoon of honey per hald pint jar and it was just right – we liked the slightly sour edge though.
Pretty yummy stuff!