Last weekend I got together with some friends to can. This seems to be a pretty common practice here in Portland – it’s long and it’s a lot of work, so it’s much more fun to can in a group, and then have everyone take a few cans of each thing home.
This also ensures that you aren’t eating applesauce for the next year, which, ya know, I appreciate.
We are also canning stuff in preparation for the upcoming Portland Food Swap. This will be my second time attending – sadly, last time fell on day I couldn’t be there. I’m excited to be back. It’s amazing what you can learn from new foodie friends. What we mostly see is canned stuff, infused sugars, syrups and salts and unique condiments. I can’t wait to see what this one brings!
One of the things we’re bringing is these jars of preserved grapefruit. Preserved lemons are frequently used in North African cuisine, which to be honest I have almost no experience with. But the best way to get experience is to just try it, right? Well, here goes!
It’s really not too tough to do, actually! Just make sure that you sterilize the jars and lids when you begin by boiling them in a large stock pot or canner (as you should do whenever storing something a jar long term). I boil them for about ten minutes. Pull them out and allow them to cool/dry on a clean cloth. You won’t be canning these, per se, but it’s important to start with a very clean slate.
Here’s what else you need, per pint:
- 3 large grapefruit, preferably without blemish, but you can cut off any bad spots. You will be using the whole grapefruit, so try to get the best-looking peels you can find!
- Lots and lots of kosher/coarse salt – make sure that you have most of a box ready to use.
Start by washing the grapefruits very well – you may even wish to use a brush or cloth to make sure it is extra clean. Remember, these skins are sticking around this time!
Cut the grapefruit into small pieces and transfer those small pieces into a mixing bowl. I cut each grapefruit into eight wedges, and cut each wedge into three pieces so I was dealing with about 1-inch chunks.
Add several tablespoons of salt to the bowl and toss so the grapefruit is well-coated with salt – I am not talking like, a breading-style amount. Just make sure that most of the surface area has some. Allow to sit for at least ten minutes. Much of the grapefruit juice will run out, and that is OK.
Wash your hands thoroughly, and pour a full layer of salt in the bottom of your jar – you shouldn’t be able to see the bottom. Pack a layer of grapefruit in – probably 8-10 pieces – and pour more salt on top. Use a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon to smoosh the grapefruit down so there are no empty spaces. Repeat until the jar has half an inch of headspace . The final layer should be another full layer of salt.
Keep them in the fridge and allow the grapefruit to cure for three weeks, occasionally turning the jars on their head. When you’re ready to use them, pull out a few pieces and rinse off the salt.