You’re probably asking yourself WTF does vanilla scented mean. Just as is says…scented. Like barely there, just a hint, not in your face.
I set out to make more Grapefruit Marmalade today, using the recipe from pg. 99 of The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving. I’d share the recipe via picture, but then I cannot find anything similar to it on Ball’s website, and they be a big company, and I know copyright laws…just buy the book if you can. You’ll find several new recipes to make in it.
I was simply going to make a post that said, “My blog. My rules. Even though I’ve made this before, this counts as a day within the #365daysofbaking challenge because canning takes time, dammit.”
I bet you can’t guess that something went awry – like I didn’t check to see if I had enough sugar before I started, even though in one of my very last posts of Triple Citrus Marmalade, I told you to make sure your shit was in order – aka Mise en Place. HAH!
I shall need to eat mu humble pie after this post.
Howevvvvveeerrrr, necessity is the mother of invention, so they say.
I have been doubling my batches of marmalade with no trouble, so I again doubled this batch. I only had enough regular sugar for one batch, but I was well into the boiling process with the pectin already added, so I couldn’t back down. I was going to lose the whole batch, which was not an fucking option with all the prep time involved in making marmalade, or I was going to get inventive. I started thinking the following:
- I have Truvia. But in canning, I have never had success with the low/no sugar alternatives, even when I’ve used the pectin made specifically for low/no sugar. I’ve ended up dumping almost every batch because it either didn’t set up or it fermented and the tops actually blew off.
- You cannot make this fucking shit up – I came down into my cold cellar one day years ago after making a low sugar batch a few weeks prior, and several of the tops had blown off, warping the rings because of the force with which they blew off. There was strawberry goo ev-ver-ry-where. When I looked at the other jars of low sugar, they were fizzing inside the jar – tons of bubbles quickly rising to the top – fermenting and ready to blow at any moment. When I popped off the tops, it was the loudest pop of a seal I’d ever heard. Those bad boys were just waiting to cause me more grief. Trust me when I tell you I was pissed beyond any comprehension at the loss of product, but mostly, lost time… the time to make it, and now the time to clean that gross shit up.
- Nope. No more low sugar for me.
- Beyond that, the rare batch that has set up and not fermented doesn’t have the same bright taste as jam or jelly made with regular sugar. I’m going with chemicals… Just sayin’.
- I had turbinado sugar, which was going to be my go to… why not, a caramel tasting grapefruit? Sure. I’d go for it.
- But then, I realized I had homemade vanilla bean sugar. Don’t have your own? Sure, you can buy it, but like real extracts, it can be pricey. Do some small investments and make your own. You’ll end up with way more end product, and I promise you, it will be better than most commercial products. Plus, you’ll feel all Martha since you made your own home goods.
- The Beanilla easily explains how to make your own vanilla sugar.
- In short, for every cup of sugar, gut a vanilla bean, throw them both in a sealed container, and let it set for a few weeks, shaking every few days.
- Use a vanilla bean for a different recipe? Throw the used bean in the vanilla sugar container and shake it up.
- This is what my vanilla sugar container looks like. Note the shriveled up sticks that are in there…those are dried up, decrepit vanilla beans that might look useless to you, but see the picture below this one:
Those beans alone scent the sugar, quite heavily scent them, I might add. One of my favorite smells in the kitchen is to open this container. – it’s pure vanilla bliss. Many of these beans had been used in prior recipes, so I just threw them in without fully harvesting all the beans. The continual shaking of the pot shimmied out some of the beans, but today I went in and scraped those dried, shriveled twigs out until they were hollow lil’ canoes who life had been fully reaped. And below is what I got…even more vanilla bean. All I had to do was put a fine mesh strainer over a bowl to get out any pod hunks, and I had a gold mine of vanilla bean sugar to add to my grapefruit marmalade.
In the end, it was 4 cups regular sugar and four cups vanilla bean sugar that went into my new concoction: Vanilla Scented Grapefruit Marmalade.
And on the side of making your own kitchen goodies, I ran out of my fruit rinse, but can’t find it anywhere anymore. What’s a gal to do? Go to the Internet and find a homemade remedy. Enter Epicurious‘ article on How To Save Money: 5 DIY Fruit And Vegetable Washes. I used #4:
- 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon baking soda
- Swap out vinegar for baking soda for a foamy alternative. Spray on veggies and let them rest for five minutes, before rinsing and patting dry.
This concoction will bubble right up the second the lemon juice hits the baking soda, but it got the waxy residue off the fruit, which was my goal.
My Thoughts After Making This New Spin on Marmalade:
- This is not the intense vanilla flavor that is prevalent in the Orange Vanilla Bean Marmalade. Curiously, out of the jar, the vanilla flavor is deep in that recipe; however, when put on bread, muffins, etc, the vanilla simply intensifies the orange flavor, adding depth to it. It no longer is overwhelming like it kinda is right out of the jar – for those of us who might eat such things by the spoonful.
- In this newly concocted recipe, the vanilla is a faint scent and flavor. If you’re not a gonzo fan of vanilla, this might be your doorway in, given that I just told you the vanilla adds a depth of flavor to the orange marmalade. Orange and grapefruits be in the same citrus fam, folks.
- You likely could use all vanilla sugar and not be overwhelmed by the vanilla flavor.
- Remember I showed you a rolling boil in my grape jelly and Triple Citrus Marmalade? Probably did in a few other posts, as well, sucking up major storage… But this. This my friends is when you really think your face will be boiled off. As someone who wears glasses, I can barely see and look like I’m doing some freak dance while I boil, sway left, lift the glasses, sway right, lift glasses, stir, dodge angry popping, boiling grapefruit and sugar… just take a moment and visualize this.
- I actually realized when I was making this that the sound of the boil changes right before it goes full out batshit crazy rolling boil. It almost sounded like a huge wave was rolling in… go figure.
- I would like to prove that I actually had a light hand on at least 2 of the grapefruits I peeled today. See? No pith! Which means no slicing tiny slivers into my fingers whilest I slice off the pith.
- Yes, a reader suggested I use a zester, which I did find, but I like slightly larger pieces of the peel in my marmalade. It’s a preferential thing.
- Look at the happy vanilla beans in the marmalade! They’re little helpers, making this marmalade kissed with vanilla flavor.
Maybe that’s what I’ll call this Vanilla Kissed Grapefruit Marmalade 😉