Sunday, July 26, 2009
SMS: Strawberry-Ruby Grapefruit Preserves
This is an exciting day around here: not only am I running a half-marathon (the second half of the San Francisco Marathon, to be specific) and attending a salsa-off, I am the hostess for Sweet Melissa Sundays this week. (I plan to take photos of the salsas and blog about the event later this week, if I can do anything besides replenish my carbs with chips and complain about how tired I am.) I will shamelessly admit that when I joined a second online baking group, I was pleased that I would get to select a recipe this year. I fear that by the time it’s my turn for Tuesdays With Dorie I will have been diagnosed with high cholesterol and need to be in an online diet group instead of two baking groups. Since my turn happened to land during the height of summer, I knew I wanted to take advantage of the glorious summer fruit available. At first I planned to select a pie, but a while ago we were given a chance to vote for a recipe; one of the recipes was Strawberry-Ruby Grapefruit Preserves. It lost the vote (hard to compete with chocolate chip cookies), but I became enthralled by the idea of making preserves, so I chose it.
Then I got worried that making preserves may be terribly time-consuming and difficult (I panicked when another book I have listed the time commitment for strawberry jam as being 2-3 days), since, per usual, I waited until last minute to make the recipe. And guess what? It wasn’t. Making the preserves was incredibly quick and easy – chop fruit and cook. The canning process wasn’t nearly as arduous as I had anticipated, either, though it did involve using every burner on my stove and two people (I strongly recommend having a second set of hands around - lots of heavy pots and boiling water). I bought a Ball “Blue Book” (click here for their site) and some basic canning equipment – quite low start-up cost. I read the instructions in the canning book very thoroughly, made Mr. Penpen read the instructions very thoroughly, and followed them precisely. I will elaborate further on canning in another post, but it was a very satisfying project and I now have six little jars of Strawberry-Ruby Grapefruit Preserves to give away. (Maybe. I must keep at least one for myself.)
The recipe yielded such an enormous quantity, that in addition to the jars, I had a nice little bowl to consume this weekend, which is great because I thought the preserves were outstanding, just the right sweet/tart combination. I gave this recipe a 9 for Deliciousness and a 2 for Effort, giving it an EDR of 4.5 (this does not include canning, though, that would make the Effort higher). I made Toaster Tarts from my newish cookbook, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It And Other Cooking Projects – definitely recommend this one, again, it’s proving to be tremendous fun.
Thanks to everyone in the group for preserving along with me this week, I am looking forward to seeing some jammy goodness and how everyone else used their preserves. The recipe is below and for a printable version, click HERE. Though seriously, if you don’t have The Sweet Melissa Baking Book, get it, it’s great! And be sure to check out the SMS blogroll to see what the rest of the group thought of the preserves.
Master Preserve Recipe, from page 165 - 166 of The Sweet Melissa Baking Book
8 cups peel and sliced ripe fresh fruit of your choice (2 dry quarts)
2 cups peeled and cubed Granny Smith apples (2 to 3 apples cut into ¼ to ½ inch pieces)
2 cups sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon and/or orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly grated citrus zest
In an 8-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the fruit, apples, sugar, juice, and zest. Cook, until the mixture reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer, stirring often to prevent scorching. You may mash the fruit slightly with a potato masher, if necessary. Once the preserves have reached 212 degrees, continue to cook for 30 minutes more, stirring often, until thick. You can check the consistency by placing a dollop on a plate and setting it in the freezer until just cool. If it is runny, continue cooking; if it is thick, you’re good to go.
Can the fruit in clean canning jars as directed by the manufacturer, or cool to room temperature, tightly cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks, or freeze up to 6 months.
Strawberry-Ruby Grapefruit Preserves
Use 2 quarts strawberries, hulled and sliced, and the grated zest and juice of 2 ruby red grapefruits.