Day 10 of the #365daysofbaking, and I’m still enjoying the luscious citrus season.
My husband and I visited some friends who’d recently purchased a home in southern CA this past Mother’s Day weekend. Their backyard was something akin to a jungle, as this was still just a rental property to them, but it was overflowing with lemons, limes, and grapefruits. Admittedly, I wouldn’t have trekked into this overgrown beast of a backyard jungle, but it immensely saddened me to learn they were simply going to doze over all that luscious citrus when they tore the house down to rebuild their retirement home.
She said they were going to plant some more trees once they tore down the 2 million house and rebuilt a new one. Yes. Pay 2 million for a house they plan to tear down and rebuild. Some people just live different lives than the rest of us.
I just wanted the damned fruit trees to come home with me.
I suppose when you live in the frozen mountainous region of the Northeast 6 months of the year, you just get saddened by torn down citrus trees. If you live in southern CA, you be like, “Eh, we’ll plant a few more.” Blessed be the gal who lives near groves and goes to get her own.
For this gal who lives in the icy cold Northeast, I make my trek every January to a local co-op that does a big citrus case sale; they always have blood oranges, grapefruits, and navel oranges. I missed the Cara Caras this year – they already sold out of them. If you’ve never had a Cara Cara orange… swoon… so sweet! I look like a crazy woman carrying 3 cases of citrus out all by my lonesome, but I know everyone I know will become quite happy with what comes out of these cases. My husband and I eat a good 1/2 to 3/4 of the case of grapefruits, and then the blood oranges just make gorgeous goodies – from jellies to bakes good… more on that to come in future days.
As I said when I set out to made the Cranberry Marmalade in Day 8, I’ve never made marmalade, so this is all new to me, but I’m kinda in love with the outcome. I used the recipe on page 99 of The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving for Grapefruit Marmalade.
I’m still that advocate of go and get the book from your local bookstore; keep those little houses of love in business, please.
It’s a pretty straightforward recipe, but like I learned with the Cranberry Marmalade, it’s just wicked time consuming.
You first peel the skin of the grapefruit. I had a pretty heavy hand when I did this for the 1st three grapefruits, so I sharpened my knife to a razor edge, risking slicing off every finger, and set forth to remove the pith – that bitter white stuff on the inside of the skin.
Note to self, here: go slowly and pay very close attention. One slip, and your fingers will need stitches because you need a very sharp knife to do this. Even when I got a much lighter touch to the peeling process, there was still pith that I wanted to remove. It really is bitter shit, and the peel is bitingly sour enough, as it already is. Why add to it?
The next step is to boil the chopped peel with baking soda. Do yourself a favor and chop the peel finely… even with lots of sugar, that stuff still has a turn your face sour kick to it. I didn’t know about baking soda softening the peel. See, I learned something today! You can already see the beautiful color in the pot – doesn’t it look like a big wormy sun?! What can I say? It just looks that way.While the skin is softening in the baking soda, you slice the pieces of grapefruit out from the membrane… think sharp knife again…and add them to the pot of softened peel and start to finish your marmalade. The colors are so gorgeous!
The final result is this insanely gorgeous, pinkish-orangey color, just like the inside of a ruby red grapefruit. The taste is bright, tangy, and sweet, just like a ruby red grapefruit.
My thoughts after making:
- This is an almost fool-proof recipe. I missed several steps:
- I added the lemon peel when I added the fruit pulp. As in, it never softened in the baking soda with the grapefruit peel. Whoops.
- In the original Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, the recipes only call for powdered pectin or liquid pectin. The new book calls for Ball’s proprietary blend of pectin, and I panicked because I do know there can be differences in gelling points between different brands. I also looked online and got varied reports about whether I could interchangeably use the two different types of pectin. At this point, I could only move forward with what I had, which was Sure Jell. I added the 6 tbsp as called for the in the recipe, and brought it to a rolling boil, then added the sugar. It was at this point I realized I’d doubled the recipe, and I needed to add 6 more tbsp of pectin…so I did, and threw it in after I had added the sugar for a double batch. Good news, it set up fine!
Notes to Self:
- Create a mise en place for whatever recipe you make.
- It wouldn’t be me if something didn’t go wrong.
- This is such a gorgeous recipe, it will absolutely be sold in my glorified farm stand bakery!