Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Grapefruit Fennel Jelly

The fennel seeds were an afterthought-if I made this again I might add them when cooking the grapefruit, and then they would strain out, but a few seeds floating in the jelly is actually kind of attractive...so I don't know. I do know this is delicious, and even the citrus-hating-son was happy to have a couple servings on crackers. It tastes like licorice. And grapefruit. It reminds me of a drink...nah, I can't remember, but the combination is familiar, and pleasant.

Here's a thought that isn't pleasant. No, this is downright disturbing. As I was doing web searches for herbs that might go nice in a grapefruit jelly, I discovered to my amazement...no, sctach that...I discovered to my horror (sounds like a tired phrase, I know, but I really was horrified) that there is a feminine spray (you know, the stuff women are supposed to spray on our snatches so we smell less like women and more like...) scented in grapefruit and thyme. No really, there is. At the risk of sounding like your granny, I'd like to offer the suggestion that you wouldn't need grapefruit/thyme scented lady-bits if you weren't doing something that necessitated deodourising. Yeah, I just couldn't make grapefruit/thyme jelly after that, I mean...*shudder* Why grapefruit and thyme? I don't get that. Is it supposed to be more elegant than some sort of generic powder scent? Geez, first they had to go and scent the tampons, and now...*shakes head*.

Back to the jelly (wasn't that fun? I mean, you don't get this kind of thing at Martha Stewart, you know). It turned out beautifully, though it takes some time to set-up. Don't despair if it seems a bit runny at first-give it time and you will be rewarded with a beautiful jelly.

Now for the serious stuff:

There's enough sugar in this stuff that I'd be seriously amazed if any bacteria got a chance to grow-but why tempt fate? Canning should be done in a clean environment with clean materials and by that point, you might as well take the extra ten minutes and run it all through a boiling water canner. I'm funny that way. I'm also old fashioned, and this business of sterilising jars in the oven is foolish. If you have a dish washer (I don't) use it on the hot cycle, but you can also save water and just heat the jars in the canner using the water you have to boil anyway. My point is, you should sterilise your jars, and you should use a water bath canner. OK-that's my lecture.

The recipe gave me 7 half pint jars and a bit extra for the fridge. Not bad. How much you end up with will depend on how much juice is in your grapefruit, how well you drain, etc. If you end up with extra juice, drink it, or make a syrup, or salad dressing, or whatever-you'll find a use. A bit under? Add some water to reach 4 cups. Don't panic, OK?

You Will Need:

4-5 large grapefruits, peels scrubbed really well
Water to cover
1 tablespoon fennel/anise seeds
1 package dry pectin
5 cups granulated sugar

Chop the grapefruits, peel and all and place into a large pot. Add just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered until peels are soft-about 25 minutes. Strain through a jelly bag and do not squeeze the bag (or you will have cloudy jelly). This may take a few hours.

Measure 4 cups of the juice and place in a large stockpot with 1 tablespoon anise/fennel seeds. Add the powdered pectin and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the sugar quickly and stir constantly bringing it back to a rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minutes, still stirring. Remove from heat. Ladle into jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe threads clean with a damp towel and place heated lids on. Adjust bands, place in canner. When all are done, bring canner to a boil, cover and process 10 minutes (adjusting time for your altitude). Remove lid carefully (away from you, idiot...that's experience speaking) and let cool 5 minutes longer in canner. Let stand, undisturbed and away from drafts at least 12 hours. Test for seals.

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