Florida in a jar

I gasped. I sighed.  No, I’m not talking about a romance movie…I’m talking about the significant lack of homemade jam in my pantry.  It was bound to happen; reaching in and grabbing the last of the cherry-plum jam I made towards the end of summer.  But did it have to happen now?  A good month away from strawberry season?  What kind of jam can I make between now and then?

I went to my go-to site for amazing jam recipes.  Simple Bites.  She has some amazing recipes for other things on there but as I’m not a lover of cooking, they are a bit labor intensive for me.  Plus, I’d be the only one eating them as my hubby’s a meat and potato man and my kids are, well, kids.  However, her jams, jellies, and fruit sauces are totally worth the effort.  And they make enough that, for a few hours of work, I can open a jar 6 months later and enjoy it.

Anyway, I started looking…wondering what I could make with the very few fruits that are in season for us right now.  I saw her Honey Strawberry Jam…but with a glance at my local grocers prices, that was going to need to wait for a u-pick day at the strawberry farm.  But then, I saw it.  Pink Grapefruit & Pomegranate Marmalade.  Sounds delightful!  And I don’t even need a real pomegranate; just some POM juice!  Well, grapefruit is just beginning to be in…along with all our citrus…so this was a no-brainer for me.

securedownload (1)Marmalade is different to make.  And it’s results are iffy.  Not boiled long enough to start the pectin and sugar to firm…you will end up with a runny sauce.  But to make it worse, it can take up to 3 weeks to firm up once canned.  So, I was a little nervous…but mine have already begun to firm so I’m hoping within the week I will be able to try some on bagels for breakfast.  I did give the liquid a good taste before I canned it. This is heavenly.  I’m not a lover of grapefruit…tart without a healthy balance of sweet just zings the back of my jaw in a not so pleasant way.  This, with its 4 cups of sugar, had a really healthy dose of sweetness to offset the tart from both the grapefruit and it’s rind. The pomegranate plays a neutral role…blending well but not pushing it to over-sweet or over-sour.  With all my jams I typically cut the sugar content in half.  This one, being a marmalade and fearful of not having the right sugar/pectin ratio, I stayed true to the recipe.  I’m really glad I did.

I’m already looking at an easy orange marmalade for my next batch of Florida in a jar.  By then, strawberries will be dirt cheap, red, sweet and ready for jam.

If you have always wanted to can jam but are afraid of large amounts, pots, and the time involved, then check out this great post from another good site for jams: Food in Jars.  The 4th burner pot she shows are available on Amazon around 20-30$.  I’m looking into this for after the holidays and I won’t be needing to make such big batches for tasting and gifting. As someone who had wanted to try canning for years and finally did it this year, it’s so worth it to do!  I can’t go back to store-bought jams now that I can make my own.

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