December 01, 2010

Grapefruit Segments in Vanilla Bean & Star Anise Syrup

Ingredients:
5 Texas Rio Star (red) grapefruits
1 cup sugar
2 vanilla beans, sliced along the seam
water
4-6 whole star anise


Directions:
Sterilize your jars. Keep them warm until ready to use. Supreme the grapefruit. As you work, place the segments in a large measuring cup. Squeeze the membranes and peels into the measuring cup. Discard the peels and membranes. Carefully remove the segments to a heavy sauce pan using a slotted spoon or mini strainer. Add water to the juice in the measuring cup to equal 2 cups (I only needed to add one cup). Add to the sauce pan. Add the vanilla beans and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally but very gently. Remove the vanilla beans and star anise. Ladle the mixture into prepared jars. Cut the vanilla beans to fit and add them and the star anise to the jars if desired. Seal. Process for 5 minutes in a hot water bath.

Yield: 4-5 8 oz jars

Note: It is important to sterilize the jars prior to filling for this recipe due to the very short processing time. Do not over process the filled jars.


Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here is a bunch of other canning books and equipment I find useful.

My thoughts:
I recently was lucky enough to come in possession of a bunch of truly fragrant Texas grapefruit. I had high hopes of finally tackling marmalade making but when I cut into them, about half, while delicious, had very, very thick skin (lots of pith) and I wasn't eager to spend all that time prepping the fruit and making marmalade only to yield a couple of 1/2 pints. We were getting ready to go on vacation so I knew I didn't have time just to eat them one by one and I am not a terribly big grapefruit eater anyway. I looked up tons of grapefruit recipes and none really seemed appealing until I came across a recipe for a poached grapefruit made with lots of fresh mint. It sounded tasty but again, my short deadline and amount of grapefruit I had didn't make this a practical solution. So I took the idea of poaching the grapefruit one further and canned the segments in a very light syrup. In the future I will use it just as I would poached grapefruit: over ice cream, yogurt or panna cotta or even in drinks. The vanilla bean and star anise add interest (and spice of course) to the syrup and keep the grapefruit from being puckeringly overpowering.