This is Texas Reds time of year, time for the exceptional grapefruit that comes from the lower Rio Grande valley. I’ve become acquainted with them from having lived with a Texan for 40 years. He loves them, so I buy them.
It is also a great story about how a company (South Texas Organics), through stewardship from its owner, made the choice to go organic almost 40 years ago. So in reality, it is story about dirt and its importance to the production of grapefruit. Then there is the fruit itself.
Armed with a very sharp knife, this nifty recipe begs for attention.
Texas Red Grapefruit Marmalade
2 small red grapefruit (about 12 ounces each), washed and dried
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
1. Place a saucer and two small spoons in the freezer for testing the marmalade thickness later.
2. Cut 1-inch off both ends of each grapefruit and reserve. Cut the fruit into very thin round slices. Coarsely chop half the slices, cut the remaining slices into quarters. Reserve any seeds. Reserve any juice that accumulates on the cutting board.
3. Wrap the reserved ends and any seeds in a double layer of cheesecloth and tie closed. Place in a nonreactive pan (see tip below). Add the fruit, the reserved juice, sugar and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is completely dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Increase heat to high and boil rapidly, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom with a heat-proof spatula to prevent sticking, until the mixture thickens and most of the fruit separates from the peels, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
5. To test, place a little of the liquid (without any solids) on a frozen spoon. Rest it on the saucer and return to the freezer for 3 to 4 minutes. Then drop the sample onto the saucer: if it’s thick enough to mound without quickly running or spreading, the marmalade is ready. If it’s runny, return the pot to a boil and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes before testing again.
6. When the marmalade passes the thickness test, discard the cheesecloth bag. Let cool completely before serving or refrigerating.
Makes about 2 cups. Refrigerate for up to a month.
(Source: Eating Well)
Tip: Be sure to use a nonreactive pan, baking dish or bowl — stainless-steel, enamel-coated or glass — when working with acidic food like grapefruit. Reactive vessels, such as aluminum and cast-iron can impart off colors, and or flavors.
How to supreme
Use this technique to get pretty, pith-free citrus sections every time.
1. Cut a thin slice off the top and bottom of the fruit with a large sharp knife.
2. Place on a cutting board. remove the peel and white pith below, following the curve of the fruit as you go.
3. Working over bowl, switch to a small sharp knife and cut each segment from the surrounding membranes. Squeeze any extra juice from the membranes.
Susan Woody has been a food writer for more than 25 years and is a member of the Association of Food Journalists.