In my lifetime I've seen grapefruit go through a huge transformation. I remember it as an insanely sour pale yellow fruit that required hard labor with a miniature saw just to separate the tiny wedges of fruit from the tough membrane that surrounded it on all sides. And then you had to sprinkle boatloads of sugar on top before you even thought about eating it.
Thank goodness today's rosy sweet grapefruits have come a long way. Grapefruit has the sweet and the tart flavor of other citrus, but it brings a slight pleasant bitterness to the party as well. I had so many choices of fun and exotic ways to use grapefruit that I made myself crazy, and didn't decide till last night that I wanted to make this sweet/tart spicy jam. The runner up was a spiced rum cocktail with pink grapefruit juice and a peppercorn rimmed glass. I have to get to that one soon.
I adore hot pepper jams and jellies, but they sometimes disappoint me when they aren't hot enough. They tend to be super sweet, and they need that fire to balance them, When they are made correctly, and paired with a creamy goat cheese on a crisp cracker, they can be seriously addicting. This one is the best I've made so far. The 2 habaneros take care of the heat, and the grapefruit adds some mystery to the flavor. There is sweet, tart, bitter and heat. Very nice.
This is an easy small batch jam, it doesn't require special canning equipment, but, like most jams and jellies, it does require a small kitchen scale because you'll need to weigh out equal amounts of sugar and fruit. You should have this essential and inexpensive tool in your kitchen anyway.
Pink Grapefruit Habanero Jam
5 or 6 pink grapefruit
2 habanero peppers
sugar (about 1 1/2 lbs in this case)
2/3 cup cider vinegar
3 Tbsp pectin
5 or 6 small 1/2 pint jam jars
- With a sharp serrated knife, slice off the rind from the grapefruits and carefully remove the sections of fruit. Do this over a bowl to catch the juices. After you've removed the flesh, squeeze the pulp to get all of the juice. Discard any seeds. You should have about 1 quart of fruit and juice when you are done. Mine weighed just under 2 lbs.
- Weigh out an equal amount of sugar. I used slightly less than an exact equal amount of sugar: about 1 1/2 pounds.
- Finely mince the habanero peppers, seeds and all. I did this in my mini food processor. Make sure it's finely chopped, and then add it to the fruit. Be careful, the fumes will be strong, and if you handle any part of the cut pepper you need to wash your hands well.
- In a heavy bottomed non-reactive pot put the juice and fruit, peppers, sugar, vinegar and pectin. Stir to combine and heat to a boil.
- Continue boiling the jam, uncovered, for about an hour. You don't have to slave over it, just give it a stir now and then, scraping down the sides of the pot. There is more liquid to this jam than in most fruit jams, so it will take proportionately longer to cook down.
- When the jam has reduced and thickened, the color will darken a bit and it will look translucent. If your jam has been boiling the whole time, it should be done in an hour. You can test it by spooning a small aount on a very cold plate. If the jam thickens and gels, it's done.
- Ladle the hot jam into clean jars. Quickly put the tops on and turn the jars upside down. Let them cool this way. This is a small batch refrigerator jam, meaning you are going to store it in the fridge and eat it relatively soon, so it doesn't require further processing.
- Refrigerate the cooled jam. The jam will thicken overnight. The unopened jam should keep for at least a couple of months in the refrigerator. Probably much longer.
Serve with a creamy goat cheese and crackers. I highly recommend it.
I have several other hot pepper jams and chutneys on the blog, here are the links:
Spicy Mango Persimmon Chutney
Hot Pepper Honey
Hot Pepper Cranberry Jam
Habanero Peach Jam
One year ago today---