Sunday, January 24, 2010

So We're Late...

grapefruit sauce

The Can Jam recipes were supposed to be posted by the 22nd. We just got to our canning project yesterday morning, but--wait--I actually have a really good excuse! We had planned on canning our grapefruit on Friday evening after Mason got home from work. I was supposed to get everything prepped and we would do the actual cooking and canning after dinner. Friday at around 10am, my grandmother called and frantically explained that her poodle had wandered off and she couldn't find him. His name is Curly, and he was my grandfather's constant companion before he died. He was a rescue, so we have no idea of his actual age, but he is getting pretty elderly. He's blind and deaf and has a very hard time finding his way around without my grandmother's help. He's been lost once before and was gone for an entire day before we found him stuck in a ditch down the street. It has been raining here, and she was worried that he might lose his strength and drown if he was stuck somewhere and couldn't get out. I threw on my wellies and got over there ASAP to help her look. We spent hours looking with no luck. As it was getting dark, we decided to call off the search. Sadly, I drove home and prepared for the worst. Just as I was pulling in the driveway, she called to say that the neighbor had taken a flashlight out to search and had found him collapsed in the stagnant water inside the tin horn at the end of his driveway. She said he was in really bad shape, so Dad and I both rushed over to help her figure out what to do. We decided he was in shock and had hypothermia, so we dried him with the blow dryer and wrapped him in several layers of blankets. It took a few hours to bring his temperature back up, but he seems to be doing better. He's able to eat and drink and has been walking around on his own. I'm so relieved for her and was glad to help, but it definitely put a hold on our canning plans. After walking through brush and worrying all day, I was too wiped to even think about it. Mason whipped up a quick dinner, and we went straight to bed. We had to be out of town all day Saturday, so we just got to our canning project yesterday morning.

There was a lot of debate about what to make for the Jam. We made marmalade last month, so we both wanted to try something new. Chutney sounded great, but we really wanted to take advantage of the delicious Texas Rio Star grapefruit that's in season and as close to local as citrus gets in Oklahoma. I couldn't find a grapefruit chutney canning recipe, so we talked and decided to try adapting something to work with our citrus of choice. The other day, I was reading another can jammer's recipe for a marmalade that she uses as a glaze, sauce for veggies and salad dressing base. That had never even occurred to me, but I immediately dumped some orange marmalade and sriracha on some leftover pad thai (delicious!) and decided we needed to make something similar--some sort of savory grapefruit sauce in the style of marmalade, but not as firm. It's basically an all purpose grapefruit sauce that we'll use on stir fries and the like.

I've read that if you save the citrus seeds in a little bag and let them soak in the pot with the other ingredients, they will release natural pectin into whatever you're making. Because we wanted this to be thinner than marmalade, I thought that would be fine. Well, it turned out a little bit thinner than either of us would have liked, so I think we'll add maybe a third of a box of pectin next time. Still, it thickened a bit and tastes delicious, so I'm sure that it will work great as a sauce. We used three grapefruits, the zest of two oranges, one and a half cups of fresh orange/lemon/lime juice, two tablespoons of fresh ginger, six large cloves of garlic, three dried red thai chilis, and a cup and a half of sugar to make a batch of four jelly jars. When we finish off this batch, I'm excited to try it again and hone the recipe a bit. And I promise we'll be on time next month!

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