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Citrus-Bourbon Fridge Jam

By Matthew Pettus:


If you find residence somewhere along the beautiful Gulf Coast, there’s a darn good chance you know of the whereabouts of a citrus tree. Whether it’s on your property or a friendly neighbor’s, you’ve surely noticed the tree’s abundant fruit production during these Winter months. Sure, eating a fresh Louisiana Sweet orange or satsuma right out of the rind or tossed in a salad is pure bliss; however, I have a recipe that highlights the seasonality and purity of the citrus fruit that is simple as can be and will impress anyone that has a hot piece of toast. We’re talking about citrus-bourbon jam, y’all.


Before I get to the good stuff, let me roll out a few facts about citrus fruits in the Gulf region. Ever wondered why citrus trees do so well near a coastal region and not so much in the plains of Kansas? Well, the explanation is rather simple. Most citrus family fruits can be grown in zones 9 through 12 of the USDA agricultural plant hardiness map. These tree varieties are somewhat sensitive and cannot handle the veracity of hard freezes; but can, however, handle the impacts of salt in the air from ocean-front air currents. These air currents buffer temperatures nearest to the landmass and allow for milder winters than interior lands.


My personal favorite citrus fruit to find growing in and around my neck of the woods is satsuma. There are a couple of varieties that do exceptionally well here: Brown select and Owari. Satsumas can be harvested once the exterior changes from green to yellow and does not have to be fully orange to enjoy a tasty snack. In fact, there are plenty of folks that enjoy more tart fruits that can be harvested earlier in the fall months as opposed to the sweet ripened fruits that have made it into the new year without getting knocked out by frost.


This recipe is a guideline for anyone that has been fortunate enough to get their hands on some locally grown citrus and is looking for a fresh way to use them up.


Ingredients:

-5 cups peeled citrus segments (oranges, satsumas, tangerines), about 6 fruits

-2 cups raw cane sugar

-1 tablespoon lemon juice

-¼ cup bourbon of choice


Method:

  1. In a large saucepan, combine citrus fruit, sugar, and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens, stirring every 10 minutes or so for about an hour.

  2. Remove from heat and skim off any pectin foam that has bubbled to the surface. This may be bitter and give your jam an off-flavor.

  3. Ladle the jam into heat-safe containers like glass jars or deli containers. This jam can be stored in the fridge for up to a month covered or up to 6 months in your freezer.


This recipe couldn’t be much simpler. Bust this down as your next weekend project or throw it together on any given weeknight.


How to enhance:

During step number one, feel free to get creative and marry in some flavors that you love. For me, it’s clove and thyme. I would simply add in these whole ingredients when I first start cooking and remove them when I skim off the foam from the pectin. Other flavor complexities could be chia seeds, juniper, pine needle, rosemary, or pepper flakes. You know what you like best. Make this recipe your own!


How to use:

I tend to enjoy things in a simple manner. So some of mawmaw’s homemade beignets cracked open with this jam spread on the airy pockets of fried dough seems like a dream. However, the possibilities are endless. Here are a few suggestions based on ways I’ve used jasms in the past. This fridge staple can easily be spread on top of a baked wheel of brie with pecans, glazed onto some pork belly, or used as a foundation for a simple vinaigrette. However, you end up using it, appreciate the fact that you made it by hand. You’ll be one step closer to being truly connected to your food.

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