Saturday, February 04, 2012

Winter Canning Project: Grapefruit

As a canning instructor, I have noticed that most people get interested in canning when strawberries show up at the farmer's market in June.   The first impulse is to try to make strawberry jam, which actually is one of the harder things to make.   I always recommend that folks start out with something simpler like a pickle.  It's hard to mess up a pickle, but pretty easy to screw up a jam - it burns easily, it takes practice to know how if there's enough pectin involved so the jam will set up, etc.     But perhaps the best thing for a novice canner to try might be citrus.  After all, the citrus season is winter, and there's not much else to can in wintertime, and often folks are spending lots of time inside anyway.  Why not spend it in the kitchen? 

To learn how to can, I suggest getting a really good canning book - there are tons of canning books out there because all the hipsters are in to canning these days, but my go-to book I recommend is the Ball Complete Book of Canning by Judi Kingry and Laurie Devine.  This IS NOT the "Ball Blue Book", which is really just a canning magazine that is issued yearly.  There's nothing wrong with the Ball Blue Book, (or as my friend Ann and I like to call it - the "Blue Balls Book",  because our sense of humor is permanently stalled in the 7th grade) but for the price, the Ball Complete Book will teach you how to can in exquisite detail and it offers many helpful canning tips you won't find in the magazine.  It also has lots of interesting recipes in it.   There's also a trusted online source you can check out - the University of Georgia's National Center for Home Food Preservation, but I find the book much more user friendly. 

Last year, I canned grapefuit and we loved it so much, I made some again this year.   I experimented with a different technique I read about online for peeling grapefruit - it worked like a charm!  All that you have to do is put the unpeeled grapefruit in boiling water for about 5 minutes.   The peels come off easily and leave very little bitter pith behind. 

Crimson Honey Grapefruit (printer friendly)
(makes about 9 pints, more or less)

1 large bag (18lb) grapefruit - I used ruby red grapefruit, but any kind would work
1 large can frozen cranberry cocktail, thawed and undiluted
2/3 c. honey

Peel grapefruit as described above.  Cut each fruit laterally (side to side) in 1/4 inch slices Measure fruit and juice until there's 16 cups. Mine came out almost exactly that for an 18 lb bag, but it depends on how big the grapefruits are. Don't worry too much. If you end up with more, you could make some more syrup, or less, you can use less. Note that grapefuit is acidic enough to can on it's own without anything added - the cranberry honey syrup is for color and flavor, so don't worry too much about exact proportions. If you want to make it sweeter, add more honey.

In a large dutch oven (or a big pot), heat up the grapefruit and it's juice, the cranberry cocktail syrup and the honey and heat until the honey dissolves. Using a slotted spoon, pack hot grapefruit into hot jars (I used pints) until you have 1/2 inch headspace. Ladle some hot syrup in, leaving a half inch or so, and use a cocktail stirrer or a chop stick to get the air pockets out and add more syrup if you need to. Wipe rim, put on the lid and band and tighten until fingertip tight. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner. Remove canner lid and let jars sit for 5 minutes, then take them out of the canner and let them cool for 24 hours. If you have extra syrup, save it. It makes a pretty grapefruit cocktail by shaking it in a cocktail shaker with some crushed ice and vodka.


Sassy said...

I requested the "Ball" Complete Book of Home Preserving, for Christmas and got it! I love it and it's beautiful.

I happen to be catching up on my canning, I fell behind due to surgeries. Got my big pot of stock going right now :)

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Marla said...

OMG, I love you - you just gave me a new winter hobby. Grapefruit are my absolute favorite fruit, and I adore brussels sprouts - gonna see if I can tackle both recipes this weekend! YAY!!!!!!

I love home stuff but hate housework too. Just let me cook and bake and then read a good book while someone else cleans up.

Marla said...

I just canned 9 jars of these - some of my fruit fell apart (as citrus does) but the syrup is divine - as compensation for being on my feet all day I've already had a vodka cocktail with it - and the color and flavor are wonderful. Did you have any better luck with the lateral slices staying together? Many of mine did, but the process of heating to melt the honey turned some slices into grapefruit cells. They'll still be delicious in compote or with cottage cheese at breakfast, though.

Marla said...

One more question, since I love grapefruit so (and my local Krogers has a buy 2 special on bags of Texas grapefruits) - if I packed these in quart jars, how long should I process those in boiling water bath?

Thanks gain - you got me canning and krauting!

When do you start teaching again for 2012? I should take a class and get pro tips and see a pro in action.

Cynthia said...

Marla, some of my slices fell apart, but it will still taste good. You can put citrus up in pints quarts and process for 10 minutes, per University of Florida

I will probably teach some classes/demos in the May/June again. I didn't plan on any winter classes because I had a busy schedule this year. Hope you can join me!

Marla said...

Cool - I will do my darndest to join one of your classes. I have old time banjo camp in Olivet in June but should be around otherwise!

100% of my grapefruit, pickled brussles sprouts and (pre-existing recipe) marmalade jars sealed properly last week, so I am on a roll! Need some new recipes now.

What are your pumpkin pickles like? Very sweet? Kinda sweet? Love squashes (and I had some amazing kabocha at a Korean restaurant this week - so sweet and firm - would love to can that).

Cynthia said...

Marla -

The pumpkin pickles are sweet and clovey. email me about the banjo - my husband has just started playing and I want to chat more about it...momskitchen at comcast dot net.

Trish said...

Not sure if first went thru, sorry.
I just found your site, and am wanting to can my grapefruit later this week. Can it be done without the syrup and cold packed? I don't want to add more sweet to my grapefuit. Thank you!

Cynthia said...

Yes, you can can grapefruit without syrup, you can use water instead and it can be cold packed. Here's how:

Krystyn41 said...

I hate housework too!

Anonymous said...

I hate housework too but love cooking. :)