Look What I Made: Blackberry Grapefruit Jam

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Blackberry grapefruit jam (photos by Travis Awalt)

I want you to know that I am struggling. The need within me to to make some sort of god-awful pun, relating jam (the food) to jam sessions or getting in a jam or Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis or jambalaya (which doesn’t even make sense) or whatever, is consuming me.

I should’ve called this recipe jelly instead of jam. Damn you, hindsight.

I usually think of jam or jelly as being kids’ stuff, perhaps owing to the fact that as a kid, I was a conspicuous consumer of it. But, really, I don’t eat a lot of jam as a grown person*. Fortunately, this is jam for a grown person – sweet-but-not-too-sweet, a little bit of tartness and flecked with those love ‘em/hate ‘em little berry seeds. It’s the kind of jam you can enjoy on a PBJ, then go ‘F@#@ me, that’s good jam!’ and not worry about reprisal from an adult, because you already are one.

Adult jam, I should’ve called it. Damn you again, hindsight.

One last thing: I am not an expert on jarring things, but the internet at large is. This is a recipe for a small batch of jam that you can store in the fridge for short term use. If you’re going to get all jamming-jars-with-jam-happy (which I hope you are, it sounds like fun and also quite folksy), please learn how to do it under proper sanitary conditions. Unless you like the taste of botulism. Spoiler: it’s death-y.

OK. Less talk, more jam.

Blackberry Grapefruit Jam

2 cups blackberries

grapefruit juice

scant 1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

pinch salt

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Blackberries and grapefruit juice

1. Put the berries in a small pot with enough grapefruit juice to come up about 1/3 of the way. Bring to a lazy boil over medium heat, breaking apart the berry pieces with a wooden spoon as they soften. I switch to a wire frying ladle thingy (pictured) at the end for better mashing leverage. Simmer for 10 minutes.

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Get the berries roughly mashed

2. Add in the sugar and salt. Take the heat all the way up to a boil for a couple of minutes, then again reduce to a simmer, stirring very often until very thick, like syrup, about 20 minutes.

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You want it syrupy when you add in the xanthan gum

3. Vigorously whisk in the xanthan gum. The mixture will have thickened slightly, but noticeably. Pour the mixture into a jar, seal and refrigerate until completely chilled (a couple of hours) then enjoy.

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*My great-grandmother, on the other hand, loved jam into old age. She loved stealing the little packets of jam off the tables at IHOP anyway. Maybe she just loved stealing. Probably both, bless her heart.