I've got an employee who has TONS (literally) of grapefruit. This past summer, he gave me a grocery bag full of these massive fruits. They had very thick peels, but even when the peel was removed, the fruit was still the size of a softball. Big, juicy and sweet (for grapefruit).
I had been reading an e-book by Jackie Clay of Backwoods Home Magazine that contained instructions on how to home can fruit. I was thinking I was going to have to wait until all of the U-Pick orchards in our area opened up to be able to can some fruit. By luck, my employee noted that one of his grapefruit trees was ready to snap limbs with it "winter crop", as it was so heavily laden with fruit.
I said I'd take some off his hands.
Well, he shows up the following week with 3 garbage bags full of fruit! The grapefruits were considerably smaller this time around. Still as sweet and juicy, though.
The Jackie Clay recipe said that you had to section the grapefruit before canning. Otherwise, the white membrane gives the fruit a bitter taste. I jumped online and found a couple of videos on sectioning grapefruit.
Uh oh. Looks quite laborious.
I took one grapefruit and started sectioning away. The first one took me about 10 minutes, and left me with about a half cup of fruit sections! This is not good. I decided to do a test of how many I could section in a 15 minute period. I'd go all Edward Scissorhands - blades a-flyin' - going for speed, not beauty.
I sectioned 4 fruit and ended up with perhaps a cup and a quarter of sections. Crap. I'm looking at 60 or 70 grape fruits, and it's going to take forever to get them prepared, let alone canned.
Time for Plan B: Juice.
I cut each grapefruit in half across its horizon (grasp with thumb and middle finger on the stem and flower indentations on the fruit, and carefully slice between them). This will give you a cross section of the sections, making juicing MUCH easier.
I used a wooden juice reamer. The pitcher for the juice had a very fine strainer on top to catch the pulp.
The Jackie Clay book also had instructions for canning fruit juice with the water bath method. In short, you juice your fruit, heat it to 180F, and pour it into your pint canning jars (also having been heated to 180F along with the rings and lids). Ensure the water in the canner is at least 2 inches over the top of the jars, bring to a boil, THEN start a timer for 15 minutes (adjust if you're at altitudes over 1000 feet per your canner instructions). When the time is up, pull them from the canner, let cool, then check for proper seal on the jars.
I got 8 pints of the best grapefruit juice I've ever had. Seriously awesome stuff.
I'm actually very anxious for his summer crop of grapefruit to come in. Being much larger fruit, the sections should be big enough to justify the time needed to prep for canning.
If not, I'll have more juice in my future!
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