Homemade papaya jam. Tropical flavors in a jar. The flavors in this tropical jam are bold, smooth, and oh so good!! Great on an English muffin or biscuit for a delicious breakfast.
Papayas are not always the easiest fruit to find if you don’t live in the tropics, but if you can find them, they are worth buying! They are a great addition to fruit salads or an amazing part of a healthy breakfast. We often enjoy cutting them in half, removing the seeds, squeezing a little lime juice over them, and digging in; no bowl is needed! We also like to add yogurt or cottage cheese and top with diced fresh fruit or granola. We currently have ten papaya trees growing in our yard! So it’s safe to say we have an abundance of papaya at our house! So making jam is an easy and delicious way to use up all the extra papayas that make their way into our kitchen.
I’ve made many different types of jams and jellies over the years and used a variety of methods for cooking them. I’ve used pressure cookers and water bath canning. I’ve done recipes with powdered pectin, liquid pectin, and now I can say I’ve used pectin from lime rinds. I was nervous about how well this jam would set up, but I was amazed at how well it turned out! And this recipe does not require a pressure cooker or canning in a water bath! Even better, right?!?!
To make this delicious jam you just need three ingredients!
That’s it! So simple.
Start by preparing your jars and lids. I prefer to boil the jars and lids for a few minutes to be confident that they are clean and disinfected.
Using a kitchen scale, measure out 2.2 pounds of papaya pulp. Add it to a large pot, add the sugar, squeeze the juice from 3 limes, and throw the lime rinds into the pot. (The limes rinds have natural pectin in them, which will thicken the jam as you cook it. It will continue to thicken as the jam cools).
Heat over medium-low for 20 minutes, then begin mashing the papaya pulp until you get the desired consistency. Turn up the heat to reach a rolling boil, and cook the jam for about 5 minutes. At this point, your jam should reach the “set” temperature, which is 220 degrees. (More on this below).
When the jam is done, ladle the jam into your prepared jars to 1/4 inch from the top. Wipe the rims with a damp cloth or paper towel. Place the lids on the jars and screw the jar rings on tightly. Allow the jars to rest for 12-24 hours, undisturbed. After 24 hours, test that all the jars have sealed by pressing down on the center of the jar lid. If there is no “give,” the jars have sealed. If you have any unsealed jars, put them in the refrigerator and consume them within a week.
Store the jam in a cool, dry place for up to one year. Once opened, keep in the refrigerator for up to one month.
HOW TO BE CONFIDENT YOUR JAM WILL SET:
No one likes to go through the work of making jam, only to discover when you check your jars the next day, you have runny jam! I like to finish my jam with the confidence it will set. To be sure your jam has reached the “set” stage before filling the jars, I like to use the “cold plate” method. I prefer the cold plate method over the temperature only method, simply because the temperature method alone doesn’t take into consideration how much liquid is in your jam. It may have reached the right temperature (220 degrees), but it will not set properly if there is too much liquid in the jam.
To do the cold plate method, place a small plate in the freezer when you begin cooking your jam. When your jam has reached a rolling boil and boiled for 5 minutes, take a teaspoon amount of jam out and put it on the cold plate. Let it rest for 10 to 15 seconds, then tilt the plate. If the jam runs down the plate, it needs to be cooked a little longer. Return the plate to the freezer and cook the jam for 10 additional minutes. Then do the cold plate test again. The jam may move a little, but it should not run down the plate.
It’s best to use organic limes for this recipe. You are adding the limes, rind, and all to the jam and cooking them. You don’t want anything on your lime skin that isn’t good for you.
Some of the tools and equipment that I love to use are listed here:
- 2.2 pounds papaya pulp
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 limes
- Prepare the jam jars by washing and sterilizing both the jars and lids. Sterilizing can be done by submerging the jars and lids in a gentle boiling water bath for 5 minutes. (Don't have the water boiling vigorously because it could cause you jars to bang against each other and chip).
- To prepare the papaya, cut in half and scrape out and discard the seeds with a spoon. Remove the pulp from the skin with a spoon and discard the skins. Weigh the fruit and put it in a large deep cooking pot.
- Add the sugar to the pot. Wash the 3 limes well, cut in half, and hand juice the limes directly into the pot. Add squeezed limes (rinds) to the pot.
- Cook on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Mash the fruit pulp in the pot until you get the desired texture. Alternately, you can remove the fruit pulp and blend in a blender until smooth (do not put limes in the blender).
- Increase the heat, stirring constantly, and bring to a rolling boil (it continues to boil as you stir). At this point, you should see foam forming at the top. Cook the jam for approximately 5 minutes. If you are using the temperature method to check if your jam has reached the "set" stage, use a candy thermometer; the temperature should reach 220 degrees Fahrenheit (this is the jam setting temp). Cook longer if needed.**See notes for the cold plate method to see if the jam is set (I prefer this method because I find it more accurate).
- Once the jam is at its "set" point, turn off the heat and remove the limes.
- Ladle finished jam into prepared jars. Wipe the rims of the jar with a clean, damp cloth and screw lids on tightly. Let the jars rest, undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. After the jars have rested, check that the jars have sealed by pressing down on the center of the lid. If there is no give, the jar is sealed. Store in a cool, dry place for up to one year. Once opened, keep in the refrigerator for up to one month.