SMS: Strawberry-Ruby Grapefruit Preserves & Jam Thumbprints

Strawberry-Ruby Grapefruit Preserves & Jam Thumbprints

Throughout my entire childhood, my lunch menu featured one item, and one item only: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The ingredients evolved as I grew, from the most basic white bread, creamy pb, and grape jelly of my early days to wheat bread, crunchy pb, and strawberry preserves of my adolescence. I’ve probably prepared thousands of this classic over the years, always finishing with a generous smearing of sticky, sweet fruit spread, but I don’t ever remember considering the possibility of a homemade version. The notion that this condiment could be fashioned from fresh fruit and sugar never crossed my mind, but now I can happily say I’ve seen the light! With my first batch of preserves and subsequent canning completed, I’m eager to tackle all sorts of luscious jams and jellies while the bountiful summer produce is at its peak. Without a push from Margot of Effort to Deliciousness, I may never have attempted the Strawberry-Ruby Grapefruit Preserves in The Sweet Melissa Baking Book. Thankfully, her daring SMS selection left me with four jars in my pantry, just calling out to be utilized creatively- and first up, a new recipe for jam thumbprints!


I must admit, I was hesitant at first to undertake this project, but help from a friend gave me a sense of direction and ultimately put my mind at ease. Steph, of the always fabulous blog, A Whisk and A Spoon, was kind enough to point out an article in this month’s Cuisine At Home Magazine, that is chock-full of valuable at-home jam making and canning information. Armed with a number of essential tips plus the tools and glass mason jars I picked up at Walmart, I set up my pots, supplies, and ingredients with confidence and anticipation. By slicing, juicing, stirring, and boiling, the simple list of ingredients- strawberries, apples, grapefruit juice and zest, and sugar- transformed into a deep, dark, thick, gooey mixture that permeated my kitchen with a bright and tangy aroma. After filling the prepared jars, I “processed” them (or placed them in a water-bath at a rolling boil) in my biggest stockpot lined with a make-shift rack of an open metal steamer basket. I had to wait overnight to see if my efforts paid off, and thankfully, my jars passed the lid-popping test signifying that my first canning adventure was a success.


With a bit of extra jam left over in the fridge, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to test-drive a cookie recipe I’ve had my eye on. In a few months, I’ll be baking for my cousin Chrissy’s wedding shower, and jam thumbprints were requested to accompany afternoon tea. After some searching, I discovered many positive reviews of Ina Garten’s recipe, so I was excited to see if it was truly a winner. Fortunately, my search ends here- delicate, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread coated in lightly toasted coconut, and balanced by a bejeweled center of fruity topping- the ultimate thumbprint. If you’re a thumbprint fan, and hey, who’s not?, most definitely give this variation a try. I give it two big thumbprints up! I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. And bonus- it’s the perfect vehicle to show off your mouth-watering homemade preserves. That is, if you have any left over after you devour the most sophisticated PB&J ever made!


Thank you, Margot, for going out on a limb, and turning us bakers into jam-makers! Head on over to Effort for Deliciousness, where you’ll find the delectable preserves recipe, and check out what everyone else did with their jam by exploring the SMS blogroll.

Joy Heart 2


20 responses

  1. Joy, Thanks for preserving with me; your preserves and thumbprints look outstanding (so much fun to see what everyone is doing with the preserves). I’m glad you were able to participate, despite your mom’s allergy issues. I’m sorry I couldn’t answer your question about preserving earlier in the week, but now we both know for next time, right? I always like when other people choose recipes that test my culinary boundaries, so I decided to test my own and others.’ I’m glad you enjoyed making these.

  2. Hey Joy! What a marvelous job you did this week! I love your photos. The thumbprints look delicious and I’m so happy that you reminded me to use my preserves in a PB&J sandwich. I never would have thought to do it! Congrats on your success with your first canning experience. I’ve never canned and didn’t undertake it this time, but soon hopefully!

  3. Joy,

    How have you been? Sorry I’ve been MIA. And you must be just as busy as I am.
    Congratulations on your canning your very first fruit jam. It was such a good recipe (I used equal amounts of strawberries and rhubarb – yum!). Once you start canning, you literally want to can everything. We can grape jelly from our homegrown concord grapes, as well as tomatoes and salsa. I’ve canned peppers too. I hope you have a lot of fun with that and try different things.

    Your cookies look delicious. Since I can’t eat coconut (allergies), I’m thinking maybe I should roll them in something else. Finely chopped almonds maybe? What do you think would go well with the cookie? Btw, thanks for the research you’ve put into finding the right thumbprint cookie recipe. I’ve only made them once and vowed to never make thumbprint cookies again (although edible, it wasn’t what I was looking for at all).

    Hope to hear from you soon!

    – Hanaâ

  4. I’m glad you had so much success with your first canning experience! This was a first for me, and I thought it was awesome how easy it was- nothing like what I imagined! I love the idea of making thumbprint cookies with the preserves, I don’t remember the last time I had them. Great job!

  5. Thumbprints have to be one of my all-time favorite cookies. What a brilliant and inspired use of the jam! I haven’t made the strawberry jam yet. I thought I had an apple in my fridge and it turned out that I didn’t. So, I’m going to try to make it after work one night and do a double post with the peanut butter cookies on Sunday.

  6. Hi Joy!! Thank you for such a warm welcome to the SMS family (although I’m not quite sure that I was approved yet lol) But I must say, for a newbie to this blogging biz, your page looks amazing!! Maybe we can stay in touch and you could give me some pointers to help my page look a bit less… naked. 😀


  7. Joy-I really appreciate you taking the time to introduce yourself to me! I am very excited about joining this group and looking forward to getting to know the fellow SMS bakers. I really enjoyed your piece about making jam. Connecting the recipes to past memories or personal history is exactly the kind of writing I like to do…and you do it quite well. Your photos were also beautiful. Thanks again for your warm welcome!


  8. Your thumbprints look delicious!! I LOVE coconut and the cookies are so pretty with jewelled centres, I’m going to have to give the recipe a try – it’s shameful but even though I’ve heard do many good things about Ina’s books and bakes, I’ve never actually tried one of her recipes..! So the time has come- thanks for convincing me! And thanks so much for stopping by my blog too!! I’m so happy to be part of SMS and baking along with you! Your site is lovely- I’ve fallen for your header, it’s brilliant. And how did you get the SMS avatar to work? I pasted the code as advised (er, I think..) but the pic still doesn’t show.. Being a newbie blogger and digital moron, I’m still figuring all this stuff out..any advice would be welcome!
    See you Sunday hopefully! x

  9. Hi Joy! Thanks for visiting my blog. Your food and pictures are beautiful!

    I am impressed with the homemade preserves. I have been considering making jams that don’t have to be canned, but am not brave enough to attempt the canning process! Great job!

  10. Joy!!!
    This blog is amazing!!! I absolutley love reading every step and every new recipe!!! Only thing is it make me hungry for sweets.. too funny 🙂 I will be sure to check up weekly to ready about everything. And your pictures are so pretty. I cannot wait for your thumbprints in Sept for Chrissy’s bridal tea. Miss you lots dear and keep up the AMAZING work!

  11. Pingback: SMS: Peanut Butter Truffles « Hot Oven, Warm Heart

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