Posts Tagged grapefruit

I am not a winner

I was so pleased with the taste of my Sweetie-based three-citrus marmalade from earlier this month that I rashly decided to enter it in one of four competitions at last week’s Mad for Marmalade celebration, organized by the Culinary Historians of Canada. It’s an annual event, but this is the first time I’ve managed to attend, despite frequent pleas from fellow blogger/jam maker at Eat Locally, Blog Globally. And it’s certainly the first time in my life that I’ve entered a cooking competition.

Of course it might have helped if I had read the instructions before deciding which marmalade to enter, as there’s a lot of emphasis on the clarity of jelly and the texture of the final jam. “Do not add dry pulp,” the judges’ comments said firmly in the section that gave me just 1 out of 5 for texture. (I like adding dry pulp. I like the taste, and I like the extra fruitiness in what was, after all a made-up recipe.) I also lost points for leaving in a couple of seeds, although my peel scored well, which means it was “cut into attractively fine, even pieces, evenly distributed, good proportion of rind to jelly, translucent to clear, tender; not chewy.”

But the judges gave me 4 out of 5 for taste, which is what really matters to me. And I didn’t come in last.


The event itself was a lot of fun, if only because it was so good to be in the company of a whole group of women and men (mostly women) who think it’s quite normal to transform oranges into marmalade, and who can talk knowledgeably about the amount of pectin in a strawberry, and whether blueberry apricot jam is a good combination. I happen to be one of those who think it isn’t; the dark purple of the blueberry jam completely drowns out the beautiful golden apricot and the two flavors fight with each other. But one jammer said it was the best thing he had ever made.

Among a series of morning workshop options, I signed up for Italian Marmalade, which turned out to be very similar to non-Italian Marmalade, except that the chef used a mandolin to slice the fruit and then simmered it away for the whole of the seminar. We got to taste lemon gelato, made with cream, which was seriously yummy, and enjoyed a lunch of chicken, salads and pasta. I’m even inspired to try candied peel again, if the historical method outlined wasn’t quite such a long and painful process.

citrus2I’ll update the blog when I get a chance to taste my Italian marmalade, but I have a lot of made-by-me stuff to get through first. The latest experiment — blood orange, regular orange and lemon, which has red streaks from the pulp. I guess that would have scored even fewer points.

And I’ve found new uses for my marmalade, which opens the horizons well beyond the marmalade-peanut butter sandwiches I take on the bicycle rides.

1. A very small spoon of marmalade adds a tang and a chew to my morning slow-cooked oatmeal

2. I’ve never liked marmalade in yogurt (the sourness and bitterness just don’t seem to go together), but it works like a charm mixed in with cottage cheese. Try it. You’ll be surprised.

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Hello sweetie!

A Toronto blogging friend arranged for those nice people over at Jaffa oranges to send me a six-pack sample of something they are calling the Sweetie, which turns out to be a grapefruit-pomelo hybrid, with tough peel, sweet flesh and pith that’s almost a centimeter thick. The spouse liked them just as they are, a grapefruit without the bite, but I figured it would be far more fun to invent a marmalade and blog about that instead.

sweet2The only issue. A nibble of raw peel shows that all the bitterness migrated from fruit to rind on this baby, and that one nibble left my whole mouth atingle, in a most unpleasant way. I peeled the fruit, pared off much of the pith and boiled the peels up three times in fresh water to try to dull the bitterness (in a way that worked moderately well for the grapefruit marmalade I made a while back). But even the thrice-cooked peel tasted pretty gruesome and the spouse worried it would taint the finished product if I actually used the peel. He was probably right.

sweet3I tossed that peel, and moved the experiment in a different direction, with a three-citrus concoction: two Sweeties, two Seville oranges and two organic lemons.

Three-citrus marmalade
2 Sweeties (you could use grapefruit)
2 Seville oranges
2 lemons
800 grams sugar

Peel the Sweeties (grapefruit), tug the flesh out from the white membranes and chop it roughly. Set aside. Quarter the oranges and lemons, cover with water and simmer for 45 minutes or so, until the peel is very soft. Strain the liquid and measure out 3 cups, saving the pits that float out from the fruit in the simmer and putting them in a square of cheesecloth. Add the sugar to the liquid, and then the flesh from the oranges/lemons/Sweeties, and then the peel, sliced as finely or coarsely as you choose. Add the pits from all the fruit to your cheesecloth and tie that into a little bundle for the added pectin that that supplies. Bring to a simmer until the sugar melts, and then a rolling boil for 15-20 minutes, until it sets. Fish out the cheesecloth bag and bottle the marmalade in sterlized jars. Waterbath if you want to obey USDA guidelines.


For a made-up recipe, with guesstimates for the amounts of fruit, sugar and water, I must say this one is surprisingly good, all six jars of it. It has a firmish set, a tangy taste and just the right amount of orange/lemon peel.

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Meyer lemon … marmalade

I don’t get this one at all, but one day after the making, that Meyer lemon syrup had turned to an almost perfect marmalade, with a serious bite and deliciously chewy chunks of peel. Time for a few recent ratings from some of the more recent jars we opened.

Lemon meyer marmalade: 4-1/2 (out of five)
It loses half a point for panicking me for a day of the making-it process

Lime pickle: 4 (out of 5)
Nice bite, lovely taste, if a little spicy for me. But I’m not sure what I’m going to use it for. Mind you, the recipe did say wait at least a week, so maybe I should wait a little longer

Grapefruit marmalade: 3 (out of 5)
Nice, but nothing special. I’m trying it with home made rice pudding today, which might work better than the marmalada peanut butter sandwich I had yesterday. Mind you, this is last year’s grapefruit marmalade. Do these things age? Will the one we made on Saturday taste better once we get around to eating it?

Apple date chutney: 4 (out of 5)
Nice, solid, tasty, spicy chutney. Very smooth, which is a little disconcerting, and I will add a notch more spice next time.

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It’s all about cranberries

It’s not even the jamming season, and I’ve managed three weeks in a row of creativity, with at least one jackpot, a jam/chutney/marmalade combo that was knock-your-socks off good.

Inspired, I think, by two weeks in a row of a quince-cranberry creation, and by the the latest of my internet blog browsing, I settled for a cranberry, orange, apricot concoction that reads like a preserve and tastes more like a chutney. I tweaked the recipe a little to replace most of the honey with easier to handle sugar and threw in a splash of balsamic vinegar to add a kick. It was an almost-chutney without onions and without much vinegar. Did I mention that it was good?

Cranberry Apricot Marmalade

1 cup orange juice
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 orange, seeded and finely chopped (including peel)
1 tart apple, cored and minced (I peeled it as well)
12 dried apricots, chopped
1/3 cup honey
1 scant cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Splash of balsamic vinegar

Combine orange juice, cranberries and chopped orange and simmer until the cranberries begin to burst.

Add the apple, apricots, honey, sugar and cardamom and cook for approximately 20 minutes, until the orange rinds are tender and the chutney has thickened. Add a dash of balsamic vinegar, for the sheer hell of it.

Bottle in sterilized jars.

Waterbath for 10 minutes if you feel so inclined.

Rating: 5 (out of 5)

Even fresh out of the jar, this was a relish to die for. I served it with barely grilled organic salmon, dusted with curry powder and salt and pepper, along with barely steamed green beans, braised with butter and garlic, and the lemony sweet potato salad/side dish from a while back. There were four of us, and we just about polished off the jar as well as hoovering up all the salmon, most of the beans and almost all the sweet potatoes.

I don’t think I’m going to be giving many of these away.

Oh, and I also made a few more jars of that pink grapefruit marmalade from a couple of weeks back. It’s just so pretty, a  coral red with sliced up bits of pinker peel.

Rating to come.

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It started with a flat of figs

It all started with a flat of figs, a steal at $5.99 from a not-really farmers’ market somewhere outside Princeton, New Jersey.

It ended with 26 jars of five different concoctions, and a definite challenge to Newark’s Airport Security when I head back to the Great White North with four of them tomorrow. Checked luggage time for sure.

But in between times, it really was sort of fun.

The excuse was a weekend visit to the friend who invented canning (well, in my book at least), and while we did plan to get out for a long walk in the winter sunshine today, somehow we never got that far.

So let’s see what we did:

Apple fig chutney

I’ve coveted this chutney ever since I bought a slim recipe book from Australia’s Women’s Weekly magazine a few years back, but fresh figs have always been sold at such a silly price that I never acted on the desire. But at the New Jersey price, what did we have to lose? It’s a basic chutney recipe — take fruit, vinegar, sugar, spices and simmer til thick — but this one seemed good straight out of the pan, while chutneys normally have to mellow for a month or so.  We ate it with cold roast lamb. It would go equally well with cheese, or sausages or anything else that’s going.

Fig and apple chutney

12 medium figs, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 medium apples, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup dry white wine
*1 cup sultanas
*1/4 cup tomato paste
*1 clove garlic
*2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp ground cardamon
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine ingredients and simmer until thick. Bottle.

You can’t get easier than that.

*We omitted the sultanas, and didn’t miss them at all. We also omitted the mustard seeds, because we didn’t have any and the garlic, because we forgot it, and we substituted home-made crushed tomatoes for tomato puree.

Quince juniper chutney

Next up was a quince chutney, which is all part of my campaign to persuade canning buddy to plant a quince tree in her extensive back yard. The internet pointed to something called my mum’s quince chutney, which sounded as though it ought to be good. First there’s the use of ‘mum’ instead of ‘mom’ which appeals to my Brit-roots, and then there’s the liberal use of juniper berries, which add an earthy bitterness to things like gin (and chutneys).  Ours is golden rather than pink, but perhaps that’s because the quinces were green rather than golden. It’s pretty mild right now. Maybe an extra kick next time. Or maybe it just needs to mellow.

Interesting sidenote here. A BlackBerry dictionary doesn’t recognize the word “quince.” I tried.

The canning game continued today, after a diversion to Trader Joes and the shopping mall, where I came home with a lined, wool Anne Klein jacket for $30 (huh?).

Lime pickle

This is another Australian Women’s weekly recipe. I have no clue how it tastes, because I was on the phone failing to buy a house for the crucial finishing moment so didn’t even get to lick the pan. But it was a pretty straightforward mix of spices, vinegar, limes and chili, boiled for 20 eye watering minutes and then canned.

Persian grapefruit marmalade

A scarily easy venture, if you ignore the messy start of peeling and depulping big pink-fleshed grapefruit and boiling the peel up three times to lose some of the bitterness. We got four coral red jars from three rather small grapefruit and a couple of cups of sugar. Easy and very, very nice.

Quince cranberry jam

Back to Tigress in a Jam, perhaps my favorite blogging canner for this one, and again it was faster than the recipe says it is. In fact it just about burned while we were thinking about other things, and it’s almost purple rather than orange red. I will double the ginger next time, and maybe cut the sugar just a notch. And I will also watch things more carefully. Burnt-on jam really isn’t the easiest thing in the world to clean.

It’s in the top right of the picture, a deep, deep cherry red.To round things off, we made a supermoist three-ginger cake, which used root ginger, crystallized ginger and powdered ginger, along with pulped up overripe pears.

Did I ever mention how much I like ginger?

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