Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Bottling Grapefruit

Pin It

I ran across a Pin one day while looking at "Popular" pins and found a fun blog that had lots of canning and preserving instructions.  The post that interested me most (at the moment) was the bottled grapefruit.  I like grapefruit.  Even as a kid I liked it--provided it had a lot of sugar on the top.

I really enjoy the fancy grapefruit in the glass jars from the grocery store that have all the membrane removed--but its usually over $3 a jar, so I don't buy it too often.  Today, looking at the grocery ads, a small store had grapefruits on sale 5 for $1.  I stopped by and picked up 20 fruits (each were about a pound) for just $4 and tried out home canning of grapefruit.

When you peel and de-membrane the fruit, you lose a lot of volume.  I did 10 fruits and got 4 pints of finished product.  It took me about 40 minutes to peel and prepare the fruit.  I thought about doing the other 10 fruit on the counter, but I think I'll just eat them fresh--but it was a fun project for an evening.

Canning jars with new lids and bands
Sharp knife!
Water bath canner

Prepare the fruit
I used my sharp santoku knife to slice away the peel and pith.  Then I sliced as close along a segment's membrane on both sides and popped it out of the fruit.  Do this over a bowl since it will be juicy and slurpy.  Put the prepared fruit in a bowl and try to keep out the seeds.

Sugar syrup
You can make it more or less sweet.  I used 5 cups of water and 1 3/4 cups of sugar (which was about twice the syrup I needed for my fruit).  Mix the water and sugar in a pot and bring it to a boil.

Add the fruit to the jars and then pour the hot sugar syrup over the top, leaving about 1/2 inch of space at the top of the jar.  Use a knife to slide around the edges of the jar to get rid of any air bubbles).  Wash the rim of the jar off and put on the lid and band.

Process the fruit
Put the hot fruit-filled jars into the water bath canner and bring up to a boil.  Once its boiling, process for 15 minutes (I live above 4,500 feet).  Pull the jars out and set on the counter.  The lid should have "sucked down" and not make any noise when you push on it--otherwise the seal didn't work and you'll need to keep the jar in the fridge and use it first.

Since I already had jars and sugar, I got 4 pints of grapefruit for $2, so much better than the $3 at the store-and I enjoyed a couple episodes of Big Bang Theory while I was at it!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Tomato Soup for a cold day

Pin It  
Up until last week, its been unusually warm (I think it might have been 50+ just a couple days before Christmas).  That changed on Monday when the winds came to town and brought single digit temps with them ("lucky" for me I had returned home from the holidays, because my parents home experienced below zero temps).  In weather this cold, soup is the order of the day.  A grilled cheese with a side of tomato soup is one of my go-to winter meals, but since I was off work, I went with home made soup instead.  Only took about 20 minutes!

3 cans of diced tomatoes (I had some tomatoes from my garden I had roasted and frozen this fall, yum)
3 T. olive oil
1/2 c. diced onion
1 T. dried basil (use fresh if you've got it)
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 c. chicken broth
1 c. water
1 tsp. sugar (opt)
salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, saute the onion in the olive oil until transluscent (about 5 minutes), add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds and then dump in all the rest of the ingredients except the sugar.  Taste your soup and decide if its too acidic for your liking, if so, add the sugar.  Let simmer for about 15 minutes while you get the grilled cheese sandwiches going.  I prefer my soup more smooth, so I used my immersion blender to puree it right in the cooking pot (you could put it in the blender, but be careful, blending hot soup can create a disaster, so use a dishtowel instead of the lid).

Enjoy your hot soup.  I know I did.