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.


Jessica said...

It looks delicious, and I love your toaster tarts! I was all set to make this . . . then I realized that I didn't have the apple. Eek! I'm really excited to make it, though, and I think that I will make the jam some time this week and then do a double post next weekend. Thanks for such a great pick (I know that I'll love this).

JoAnn Freda said...

You did a fantastic job on your preserves. Good for you for embarking on canning. Sounds like you approached it with the proper amount of caution. Your little jars of jam look so perfect and cute. When I enlarged the picture of the toaster tarts my mouth started watering. I can't wait to try those (probably with store bought jam.) Thank you for sharing your first jam/canning adventure with us.

Katiecakes said...

Haha, your toaster tarts look brilliant. Like homemade Pop Tarts

Thank you so much for choosing this recipe, it was amazing :D

Katie xox

Megan said...

I really want to try this recipe - although I definitely won't make it to the canning process.

Toaster tarts? What a fun way to eat those delicious preserves. And a salsa-off? Marathon? Good grief, you are one busy lady!

Unknown said...

You weren't kidding - it's a huge day for you! Good luck with the half marathon! I look forward to hearing about your experience!

Thanks for such a fun pick this week! I'd never made preserves and they were so easy! Yours look wonderful and I love the toaster tarts you made. Pop Tarts were one of my favorite treats as a kid so I'll have to give these a shot!

Leslie said...

Slow week, huh?

Jam making is something I haven't attempted. You're brave to do it in the summer! This sounds like a terrific flavor combination.

Sarah said...

Your toaster tarts look heavenly!!! Thanks for a great pick this week, it was lots of fun and so yummy! Your preserves look great, I'm very impressed with your canning operation!

k.a.r.e.n said...

Looks amazing! Your canning project surely paid off.

Sorry I didnt make this with you.

Every Day Blessings said...

Oh I hope you did great at the marathon. The preserves were perfect and really very easy. I just wish there were more of them.Thanks for choosing.

Mermaid Sews said...

What an awesome recipe. Great selection, I had so much fun and think I will be making this again before strawberries leave us - must figure out the canning thing. So you are in my neck of the woods, saw all the runners this morning on my way to work and felt so lazy. Congrats on your run. And thanks for baking along with SMS.

HanaĆ¢ said...

Thanks for choosing such a wonderful recipe. We loved it. Great job on canning the big batch. Your toaster tarts look delicious.

HanaĆ¢ said...

And congrats on running the marathon :o)

Nina said...

oh a marathon? sounds wonderful. My friend actually ran the full marathon!

In addition, thanks for picking it, and your toaster tarts were so clever!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for picking such a wonderful recipe this week. It was very delicious and easy. I love the toaster tarts you made. They look delicious.

Anonymous said...

Hi Margot!

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments- it was a special treat to hear from you! I had to laugh when I saw the picture of your stovetop with all the pots, because mine looked exactly the same. I had so much fun with this project, and I can't thank you enough for pushing me to try something new. I think I'm hooked to jam-making and canning, and I'm on the hunt for recipes that feature all the glorious summer fruits at their peak right now. The preserves you selected worked perfectly in my thumbprints, and I am totally jealous of your homemade toaster cakes! What a fabulous idea :) I LOVE your jar labels too... I'm definitely going to make a trip to the craft store to find some of my own so that they're ready to go as a special homemade gift! Just wanted to tell you that you did a wonderful job, and it was a pleasure "baking" with you this week!

I'm not sure how you're still standing after the half marathon... please rest-up (Congratulations by the way, that's quite the accomplishment!)

Hope to talk to you again soon!


Jaime said...

sorry i couldn't bake along but it looks great! love what you did with the preserves too

Amanda said...

How funny! I just went to Walmart several days ago and bought some basic canning equipment, even got the same jars as you did :) I have a bunch of sour cherries from a neighbor's tree and want to make cherry jam and pie filling. YUM! Your preserves sound wonderful!

Sweet as Coco said...

Oh my!!! I have wanted to make homemade preserves for so long but Im just too afraid to try canning! But man...that little toaster thing looks so darn good!!!

Nancy/n.o.e said...

I was enticed into SMS for the same reasons, but sadly I was not able to keep up with the recipes for two weekly baking groups, so had to withdraw from SMS. I love seeing what you all are making, though, and the preserves look delicious. I'm a little freaked at the process (pun, haha) of canning, but maybe I'll get my courage up some day.