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  • FoodSaver V3240 Vertical Vacuum Sealer, White
    FoodSaver V3240 Vertical Vacuum Sealer, White
    FoodSaver
    I just started using a FoodSaver vacuum sealer to seal foods and I can't believe I waited so long to get one. (Check out my first project: Sweet & Sour Green Bean Freezer Pickles!)
    For example: In the past I would take the time to pick beautiful berries, then would bring them home and stick them in a zippered baggie in the freezer. My berries would have ice crystals and taste freezer burnt after just a few short months. 
    Then I had a light-bulb moment: "Air is the enemy" of freshness. 
    When vacuum-sealed my berries last 3 to 4 times longer! I have similar results with other fruits, veggies and even meats & cheeses.
    The FoodSaver has been a fantastic discovery. ~ Brook
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    • Mehu-Liisa 10 Liter Stainless Steel Steam Juicer - Made in Finland
      Mehu-Liisa 10 Liter Stainless Steel Steam Juicer - Made in Finland
      Mehu-Liisa Products

      Some day I will replace my ancient graniteware Steam Juice Extractor with this gorgeous Mehu-Liisa brand Steam Juicer. My old Steam Juicer leaks steam, meaning I have to refill the water often, and it doesn't have anywhere close to the capacity of this one from Mehu-Liisa.
      If you want to experience the magic of a Steam Juicer, check out this 10 quart Mehu-Liisa. It will last you a lifetime and save you countless hours in the kitchen, whether your juicing fruit for  Plum Jelly or Apricot Nectar, not to mention it minimizes the mess of juicing large amounts of veggies!  ~ Brook

    • Ball Quilted Jelly Canning Jar 4 Oz (Pack of 12)
      Ball Quilted Jelly Canning Jar 4 Oz (Pack of 12)
      Ball
      What's the one jar size I always keep a couple extra cases of? 
      The Ball 4 ounce jar.
      It's basically 1/2 cup, and just the right size for gift-giving and for experimenting with small batches. Perfect for things like my famous Pear Honey.
      People can't help but say "That is so darn cute!" when they seem them. 
      ~ Brook

    • Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
      Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
      Presto
      Looking for an affordable, easy-to-use pressure canner, backed up by great customer service? Look no further than the Presto 23 quart Pressure Canner/Cooker. It's the one I recommend to all my students. ~ Brook

     

    Dilly Pickled Onion Slices on Punk Domestics

    • Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen (Orange) Instant Read Thermometer, Perfect for Barbecue, Home and Professional Cooking
      Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen (Orange) Instant Read Thermometer, Perfect for Barbecue, Home and Professional Cooking
      ThermoWorks
      Do you have a great instant-read thermometer, or are you still buying the 20 dollar ones that only last a year or two? This was one of my best kitchen purchases.
      Can't imagine cooking jam (or meat or candy) without it! 
      Take your jams to 220º and you'll have a perfect gel set every time. Also available in other colors, but why wouldn't you want orange? It's only the BEST COLOR EVER. ~ Brook

     

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    • The Home Preserving Bible (Living Free Guides)
      The Home Preserving Bible (Living Free Guides)
      by Carole Cancler
      If you're looking for a book that covers every preserving topic imaginable, this is the book for you. It doesn't have a flashy cover or glossy pictures, but it's full of great info. One of my very favorite resources. ~ Brook

    • OXO Good Grips Corn Stripper
      OXO Good Grips Corn Stripper
      OXO

      Last August my friend Kelli asked me if I wanted some fresh corn from her grandpa's garden. I said "Sure....I'd love to make a few jars of Sweet Corn Relish!"
      She showed up 6 hours later with 158 ears. Wasn't sure if I loved her or hated her for it.
      After a long hot day spent cutting kernels off all those cobs with a small paring knife, I decided I'd never be without a Corn Stripper again. ~ Brook

     

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    « It's Banana Jam, but better...it's Monkey Butter! | Main | Ball 4 ounce jars. I can never have enough of 'em! »
    Thursday
    May122011

    Spring is in the air and it smells a lot like Rhubarb~Grapefruit Preserves

    It's springtime and I'm in love.

    With rhubarb.

    My neighbor has been sharing her robust patch of rhubarb with me, and I am taking full advantage of her generosity. 

    No matter how happy this abundance of rhubarb makes me, it's difficult to stay cheerful when it's been raining for 42 days in a row. In Seattle we have endured the rainiest (and coldest!) April on record.

    I can't think of a better way to chase away the rain than with sunny citrus. In this case, I chose grapefruit. Looks sort of like the sun, doesn't it? That's not a coincidence.

     No Photoshop color enhancements here...this is the real deal!

    Our rain has produced some first-rate rhubarb. Combine it with grapefruit & sugar and you have sparkling sweet-tart sunshine in a jar. This recipe is a walk in the park. 3 ingredients. 3 hours. And I spent 2.5 of those hours at school taking a math test. Seriously.

    ~~~~~

    To make this recipe you'll need: 

    • 1 pound of chopped rhubarb stalks, as seen in the photo* above
    • 1 good-sized grapefruit
    • 1 -2 cups of white sugar

    *Important note about the photo: Do NOT eat the leaves of rhubarb - they are poisonous to people and pets! 

    ~~~~~

     I advise you buy only organic grapefruit. You don't want waxes, pesticides, or toxins with your fruit, especially when you're eating the peel too.

     

    Zest the rind of one whole grapefruit.

    Zest the rind before cutting the grapefruit please...it's easier. Don't zest it after you cut the grapefruit in half, like I did here. Not smart at all.

    (I was stressing about my math test and momentarily lost focus. Before I knew it I'd cut the grapefruit in half. I know; excuses, excuses.)

     

     Squeeeeeze the juice from the grapefruit halves over the chopped rhubarb. (Then scrape out the remaining grapefruit pulp and eat it!)

     

     

    Here's what the zest looks like atop the chopped rhubarb and grapefruit juice mixture.

     

    Add between one and two cups of sugar. I prefer to use two cups of sugar. I adore the contrast of the sour rhubarb, the tart grapefruit and the sweet white sugar.

     

    Stir until just combined, and set aside for 2 hours. (This is the point where I went to school and took my math test.) You can make this a 2-day process by letting it sit overnight, if you'd like. Just cover it well and put it in the fridge or another cool place.


    The grapefruit juice and sugar draw moisture from the rhubarb, and you end up with this marvelous ruby red mixture in just 2 hours! 


    Spoon this into a shallow, heavy-bottomed pan, and boil it like crazy for about 10 minutes, while stirring gently, occasionally, to prevent any sugar from sticking to the bottom of the pan. It should look thick, with small bubbles popping on the surface. It's okay if it develops white foam on the surface; it doesn't affect the flavor or texture.

    If the foam doesn't subside  after you remove the mixture from the heat, you can skim it off the surface before ladling into the jars, which is the next step...

     

    Oh my goodness...isn't this lovely?

    I wish you could smell my kitchen. The rhubarb and the grapefruit are a match made in Heaven. No wonder I'm in love with rhubarb; it plays so well with others.

    Sparkling Rhubarb~Grapefruit Preserves...ooh la la!

    ~~~~~

    ~ Recipe inspired by the fabulous "Chez Panisse Fruit Cookbook" ~ 


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    Reader Comments (14)

    That sounds great! I never thought to combine grapefruit & rhubarb together- but it sounds fantastic! And, yes, we need a sunny break from the weather- even if it only comes in the form of marmalade!

    May 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermeg- grow and resist

    Thank you Meg.
    I had never thought to combine the two before either --- much less made Rhubarb~Grapefruit Preserves --- but this turned out to be such a tasty blend. And the color of the preserves? Jewel-tones! So pretty.
    I am kind of on a rhubarb kick right now, but I'm trying not to be redundant by posting about rhubarb too often :)

    May 15, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens

    Thats it, I'm going to have to go out this weekend and track down some rhubarb. I've been resisting but between this and the syrup recipe I read I've got to try something out.

    May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAngela Watts

    Going to make this tonight. It looks delicious. If I put in small jars would processing time be about 10 minutes in water bath canner?

    May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

    Glad to hear you're making this Elizabeth - you won't be disappointed!

    Sorry I didn't respond earlier. Hope it didn't mess you up. I had to drive to Olympia and back, and so I was offline for a few hours.

    Yes, if the preserves are hot when you ladle them into the jars, 10 minutes will be plenty of time. The rhubarb and grapefruit are both high acid too, so quite safe to process.
    (If you put the hot preserves into 8 oz (half-pint) jars, then I would say 10 minutes for sure.)

    Today's project: Rhubarb Bitters, Rhubarb Drinking Vinegar, and Pickled Rhubarb. All of these things have to sit for at least a week until they are ready to eat/drink, but they'll be pretty to look at in the meantime.

    Have a great day,

    B

    May 17, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens

    Angela - yay!

    Time to give in to the urge to eat more rhubarb. It's only in season for a few more weeks so you better hurry. Good thing about preserving....you can enjoy your rhubarb-y goodness all year 'round.

    B :)

    May 17, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens

    Well I LOVED it! You are right I was not disappointed! It was so easy too. I referenced your blog in a post I wrote this afternoon. Check it out, and THANKS for the delicious recipe :) http://thewhimsicalhousewife.blogspot.com/2011/05/putting-up.html

    May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

    This makes me super happy.
    And you blog post is awesome! I love the way your jars look. Such pretty tags too.
    Thank you for linking to my website. I will be sure to return the favor soon!
    Have a wonderful week Elizabeth :)

    May 17, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens

    Ooh! Look at how pretty and colorful this is! I just love it! It was fun to "meet" you today over at Twitter. Have a beautiful week!

    Katrina - thanks for posting. Hearing things like this make my day so much sweeter! Great to "meet" you too :)

    May 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens

    This looks fantastic! In fact, I tried to recreate it myself yesterday, but I failed to boil until the liquid thickened, so it was still pretty juicy. I think I also had a super juicy grapefruit. The rhubarb got soft, but didn't break down like in your lovely photos. I did the water bath and the seals are good, but it's pretty sloshy in there. I plan on trying this again in a day or so with hopefully better results!

    I have to say the little I had left over that I didn't process in the water bath is AMAZING. I've mixed it with berries and yogurt so far. I'm really hoping to get a thicker consistency so that it's more spreadable like a jam...which might require me using some pectin.

    May 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

    Hi Nicole.

    I'm sorry I am behind in responding to comments. I'm going to school again and I forgot how long homework takes!

    I am thrilled you decided to make this recipe. Sounds like you know why your preserves didn't set up - an extra juicy grapefruit. If you took the preserves to 220 degrees it might set up better, but sometimes it sets up much quicker and it isn't necessary to boil it that long. It sounds like you've made preserves before, so you know that every batch is different. Sometimes the preserves will firm up after sitting for a day or two in the jars, or even a week. Even if they are still "sloshy" after they sit for awhile, they'll still be delicious and you'll be the proud owner of some very AMAZING syrup (for pancakes, waffles, cocktail base, etc.)

    Please don't view this as a failure. It happens to the best of us. I am so glad you tried this recipe....putting it in yogurt sounds like a wonderful way to eat it too!!!

    June 7, 2011 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens

    Hello,
    Is there anyway to cut back on the sugar by maybe adding fruit juice for some or all of the sugar?

    Thanks,
    Cindy

    July 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

    Hi Cindy,

    No there really isn't. If you use less sugar you will get different results. If you use fruit juice you will get MUCH different results. I don't recommend either of those options.

    Sugar does a lot more than just sweeten your jams. Its main function is to work with the pectin and fruit acids to form the gel structure we call "jam." Sugar acts as a preservative that helps maintain the beautiful colour of the fruit and inhibits mould growth.
    Always use the exact amount of sugar called for in the recipe. Reducing the amount of sugar will upset the balance of fruit, sugar and pectin needed to ensure the jam or jelly sets.

    Sugar should be spooned into a dry measuring cup, then leveled off with a knife to achieve the exact measurement.

    I'm sure this isn't the answer you wanted, but I hope this helps.

    Thanks for reading my blog.

    Brook

    July 16, 2012 | Registered CommenterBrook Hurst Stephens
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