Kiwi, lemon, and grapefruit jam

My grandmother had a pair of kiwi trees slendering across the walls of her house near Paris (female kiwis need a male pollinator to bear fruit). In the winter, when they ripened — typically around November, after which they keep for weeks if properly stored — she made jars of jam from the glut of small, elongated fuzzy fruit. Ever since, I’ve ruminated over the idea.

This year, like each year, the darkest winter months brought an urge to make jam. While usually there are mostly citrus: all manner of oranges, grapefruits, and clementines, which lend themselves to proper, protracted, labour-of-love marmalade weekends, or quick ones ‘in an instant‘, this time I also had a few too many kiwis, a little past their best. The occasion seemed propitious. Irresistably, one lone grapefruit called from the fridge, to add its acerbic touch. As usual I improvised.

I like this combination a lot. Is it kiwi jam with grapefruit, or grapefruit jam with kiwi? Neither takes precedence, lemon creates the balance. They dance together as distinct individuals, in step.

1 untreated grapefruit (about 300g)
400g ripe kiwis
1 untreated lemon
700g sugar

Place the grapefruit in a small saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer for about one hour. Remove the grapefruit from the saucepan, place on a board to cool.

Peel the kiwi, remove the woody bit at one end, and cut the fruit in half lengthwise. Cut each half again, and each quarter crossways into chunks.

Wash the lemon, cut it in half, remove the pips, cut each half into thirds lengthwise, and then each wedge into very thin strips crosswise.

Once the grapefruit has cooled enough to handle, cut it in half, remove any pips, then cut each half again into thin wedges, and these crosswise into thin chunks.

Place the fruit and sugar in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 20 minutes to half an hour. Check whether the jam is ‘gelling’ by placing a  small amount in the fridge to see whether it sets once cooled.

Meanwhile, sterilize some jars by boiling in water for 5 minutes.

Fill the jars immediately and seal chut.

Jam always settles into itself after a few weeks so it is best to wait, if possible, before opening a jar.

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