The Preserve Swap

I have been looking forward to this evening's preserve swap for weeks. Finally an opportunity to speak with people who are perhaps as crazy about preserving as myself:).

I stood downstairs in my pantry for about 20 minutes perusing the lined up jars to determine what I would bring.

Raspberry Jam - selfishly I only have 4 jars of that left and it is my personal favourite, so the decision was that it would stay right where it was.

Angry Pickled Garlic which was made on a day when I was burning with anger. Those crispy spicy bite sized delicacies should be shared with others. Angry Pickled Garlic - check.

Spicy n' Sweet Pickled Carrots. What goes better in a Caesar than these other than perhaps pickled green beans. I love chopping these babies up and adding them to a salad. Add them to the swap list.

Pickled Shallots with Tarragon - these really need at least another 3 weeks before they are ready to be opened. I don't want anyone to get a substandard preserve, so I will save those for the next swap

Pineapple Jam - with the gorgeous winter weather we have been having it almost feels like spring out there. What better to accompany a sunny and mild winter day than a taste of the tropics. Some lucky preserve swapper will walk away with a jar of these.

Tomato Basil Jam - ooh another personal fav of mine. Great as an alternative to ketchup and so tasty in a toasted panini. The fresh basil from my indoor planters add the perfect snap of spring.

Meyer Lemon Marmalade - I have a few other marmalades to bring, so perhaps these can be saved til next time.

Marmalade with brown sugar and vanilla - an experiment with my favourite ingredients. Fresh vanilla pod which I looooove, brown sugar which adds a nice molasses flavour to the jam and the tartness of seville oranges. Nummies

Onion Garlic Jam - this jam might not be something one wants to eat while mingling at the preserve swap or on a first date. But the flavour of sweet onion, garlic and white wine married with a sharp cheddar or cheese of your choice is a delicious snack and a must bring.

Grapefruit marmalade - I go a bit marmalade crazy in February with Seville Oranges finally being in season and decided why stop with oranges. This refreshing marmalade is so good in the morning.

Apple Earl Grey Almond Jelly - I can't make shortbread cookies when I have this Jelly in the house. Their marriage of flavours would be sure to add 15 pounds to my frame.

Spicy Zucchini Relish - your burger will thank you. Do they serve burgers at The Avro?

Pickled Cauliflower - this is my favourite way to eat cauliflower. Pickled in brine with a bit of a bite, these crunchy pickles will find a good home on someone else's shelves....I hope :)

The jars are all ready to be swapped and find new homes and now I can't wait to see what I can swap these babies for!

For the Love of Grapefruit

It feels like I have been waiting weeks for Seville Oranges to be in season so I can make marmalade. Anyone who knows me knows how much I detest the large grocery stores and grocery shopping in general, but my desire for marmalade has me stopping into Loblaws or the Metro on almost a daily basis.

Friday - I could take the waiting no longer and decided to make marmalade with perhaps the most refreshing citrus; grapefruit. I love the bitter sweet bite of ruby red grapefruit and wondered how it would translate into a marmalade. My official taste tester James tells me that it cleanses the palette and is refreshing. I could barely wait to toast up a crumpet to see how it fared on my morning toast.

The recipe itself is quite time consuming and the output was rather small. This is coming from someone who likes to preserve in 'bulk'. But the flavour is well worth the work. I can tell that this will become part of my regular preserve cupboard and that we won't do without grapefruit marmalade in the future.

I bought 9 large red grapefruits and ended up using the zest from all 9 of the grapefuit, but only the fruit from about 5 of them. The rest I chopped up to make a fruit salad.

1 cup grapefruit zest
1 cup water
1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice
3/4 cup water
1/8 tsp baking powder
3 cups supremed and finely chopped grapefruit (never supremed a grapefruit before..check out this video)
5 cups sugar
1/2 tsp unsalted butter
1 3oz liquid pectin

Combine the zest and 1 cup water and let sit for 5-10 minutes and then drain.
Combine the peel with the grapefruit juice, 3/4 cup water and the baking soda. Over med/high heat bring to a full boil.

Reduce heat and cover and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Stirring 2-3 times. Stir in the fruit, cover and simmer 10 mins more.

Stir in the sugar and butter. Stirring constantly until the sugar completely dissolves. This took about 10 minutes.

Increase the heat to med/high stirring constantly bring to a full rolling bowl. It is important to continually stir as it allows the ingredients to come to a rolling bowl slowly and for some of the liquid to evaporate.

Stir in the pectin and once again stir constantly and bring to a full rolling boil. I boiled for 3 minutes until the jam was at a consistency I liked and then I removed the pan from the heat. You may need to skim off any foam, I did not have any.

Let it sit for 5 minutes so that the fruit settles, give a quick stir and then ladle into your jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims and the threads with a damp cloth or paper towel and cover with your lids. Process 250ml jars for 10 minutes.

If you prefer a 'zestier' marmalade you could also finely slice the grapefruit peel and use it instead of just the zest.