Monday, January 6, 2014

Sunshine in Winter

It is, as it seems to be everywhere, bitterly cold today.  I was meant to go back to work this morning, but as all schools seem to be cancelled and dire warnings are posted everywhere, I opted to take an additional day of vacation and stay home, where I can keep an eye on the livestock and monitor the stove.  It also, as it turned out, became a good day to tackle the box of fruit I had somewhat forgotten about.

When I opened the box, the majority of the fruit was far too ripe to enjoy eating fresh, and it was too far gone to really can safely...not that I am a fan of canned fruit slices, anyway.  So, I opted to juice everything and then come up with creative uses for the peels.

For the oranges, they were sliced into thick slabs and then popped in the dehydrator.  I added a few of the grapefruit rinds as well--once dried, I'll mix them in with some cinnamon sticks, star anise, allspice berries and cloves for a homemade stove-top simmering potpourri.  It should make lots, so I'll have plenty to spice up my house this winter.

I juiced and juiced and juiced--I swear, the supply of grapefruit was nearly endless.  Luckily, though, I had plenty in order to make a batch of homemade Pompelmocello, a grapefruit-infused Italian liqueur.

 Grapefruit, sugar, and vodka.  That's it.  A few weeks in a cool, dark cupboard and it will be ready to strain into a bottle.  I'm envisioning a refreshing cocktail mixed with Fresca (that crazy grapefruit-flavored soda) and a plastic sword kabob of cherries and melon, swimming in ice.  Now, that's just the thing after a hard days work in the summer garden!

After all that juicing with my vintage, hand-cranked aluminum juicer (I love that gizmo, found for $1 at a thrift store), I wound up with five pints of juice: three grapefruit, and two orange.  I plan to freeze them, hence the large amount of headspace, and use them later in various recipes calling for juice additions.  I don't drink juice, but it is nice to have a small stash of it in the freezer for later use.  I'm thinking, orange-spiked mimosas and grapefruit may be winter outside, but my kitchen is filled with citrus sunshine.


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