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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Grapefruit in Ginger Mint Syrup

Ever since I learned how to make ginger syrup, I have been discovering new and yummy ways to use it. I've often made citrus salad with the ginger syrup and mint from my garden. Ginger is a great collaborator. Whether you are using it with garlic and soy for a marinade or spicing up a smoothie or fruit salad, when ginger is added, the sum is always greater than the parts.

The yellow grapefruits came from a score by Miss Paula. I wanted this product to be extra pretty, so I bought some gorgeous ruby red grapefruits at the famers' market to add color. I will have a hard time giving you exact proportion, because, unlike jam, canning fruit in syrup is fairly in-exact. You just have to protect the acid level to have it remain safe for the boiling water bath method. I used the basic light syrup proportions from the Ball Blue Book. I often can in steps on multiple nights. The syrup benefited from this process as I made it the night before and let it steep with the ginger and mint then drained out the solids the next day before canning. The ginger and mint flavors are nicely pronounced. I had leftover juice/syrup blend and canned up it too. It is so crazy yummy! A splash over ice and bubbly water is devine.

Grapefruit in Ginger Mint Syrup
10 each large yellow and ruby red grapefruits
2 cups sugar
1 quart water
1 small hand of ginger, sliced into 5 or 6 pieces
1 bunch of fresh mint, washed (stems and all!)
Juice of one lemon (1/4 cup bottled lemon juice)

Place the sugar, water and ginger in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the mint and lemon juice and remove from heat. Allow to steep while you prepare the grapefruit or overnight.

To prepare the grapefruit, use a sharp knife to cut away the outer peel and pith. Carefully cut the segments from between the inner membranes. Do all of this over a pan to collect all the juice.

Once the syrup and grapefruit segments are prepared, prepare the boiling water bath, jars, lids and rings. (My fruit made 3 pints, plus two pints of syrup.) Drain the ginger mint syrup into a large sauce pan. Drain the grapefruit segments and add any reserved juice to the syrup. Bring to a boil. Carefully pack the cold grapefruit segments into the sterilized jars. Fill with hot syrup, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Use a chop stick and poke down through the fruit to release any air bubbles. Wipe the rims and top with lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes for pint jars. Pour any leftover syrup into sterilized jars and process in the boiling water bath as well. You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Honoring Pat

 Atop the clock tower at Berkeley. Pat's only trip to Madelyn's school.

Life is full of changes, including the change from embodied life to a life beyond the body. The reason I have not posted for over a month is that we have been saying good-bye to my beloved mother-in-law Pat, who passed on March 1st. She was diagnosed with dementia about 10 years ago, in her early 60's. Since that time, we have enjoyed her as best we can and we've done our best to help each other  and help her.
 Pat and Bill in happier times - 2008. 
Mady and I joined them in Hawaii to celebrate her graduation from Cal.

Pat was loving, giving, creative and the best mother-in-law you could imagine. She welcomed me into her family with an open heart. She was so glad to have another girl join her in her family of boys. She was delighted to welcome a granddaughter and everything pink and sparkly. Pat spoiled Madelyn in the best possible ways - by being kind, patient, gentle and generous. When Mady was born, without our knowledge, Pat opened a college savings account for her. A life time of depositing bits and pieces from each pay check added up to thousands of dollars when Mady was ready for college. This gift helped Madelyn navigate her undergrad with a relatively small debt load. Also, Grandma Pat's generosity increased Madelyn's sense of gratitude and responsibility. Even though Mady has been given much, she's never taken any of it for granted. You see, spoiled in the best possible way.

 Bill and Pat, relaxing after Thanksgiving Dinner, 2008.

Bill has been Pat's caregiver. For the first few years of her disease, this was a lighter job. In the last few years, it has been a 24/7 act of love. I have learned so much about love from both of these wonderful people. I was privileged to assist with Pat's care for a few years. I was so glad to have a chance to spend focused time with her. I will treasure those times of helping her with her bath, doing her hair and helping her with her lipstick. When we came out of the bedroom to join the boys, she walked and smiled like she was Miss America. She sometimes forgot who I was and would ask Bill to pay me. I didn't mind. I had decided that as long as she knew that I loved and cared for her, I didn't care if she knew it was me. 

Susan and Pat, Christmas 2011.
This is the Christmas when Bill gifted me with Pat's family cookbook.

We were with her when she passed. So many things unfolded in just the right way at the right time, that I can't argue with the outcome. Still, losing someone is hard. Harder than I ever knew. 

Today, I honor Pat. I honor Bill. I honor my dear husband, who lost his mom. I honor my dear daughter who lost her Grandma Pat. I honor all of you who have given care. I honor all of you who have had to receive care. I honor all of you who have lost loved ones. I honor the love that makes the losing so hard. 

More food, coming soon. That is all.