This started as a pile of scraps and turned into a bittersweet jewel. I had used the thin peel of a grapefruit to start a batch of bitters for holiday gifts, and that set me off on an adventure to use the whole fruit. Eating the sections of juicy flesh was obvious, but what about the core, seeds, connective tissue and pith? Those scraps make a fine jelly.
I learned about using the pith, or albedo, to make jelly a few years ago from Kevin West’s Saving the Season, using the scraps from a particularly fine batch of marmalade. Citrus albedo has a particularly strong capacity to gel and a concentrated flavor of the fruit. Apple peels do the same but the flavor is minimal.
I simmered the scraps of grapefruit in spring water to cover until the albedo is tender but not falling apart. If it falls apart, the liquid will be cloudy. Similarly, I don’t use tap water in jellies or pickles since additives such as chlorine produce a cloudy result. You want this to shine like a jewel. I added a piece of star anise and a few allspice berries since I thought they would provide depth.
After straining the liquid through a jelly bag, I added an equal amount of pomegranate juice and ¾ of that amount in sugar. I used Knudsen’s Just Pomegranate juice. Otherwise, you could juice a few fresh pomegranates since they’re in the market at the same time as grapefruit. I juice the seeds in an electric juicer but you could squeeze by hand if you don’t mind the mess.
This produces a bittersweet jelly, one more for savory applications than for toast. I used it as a glaze on pork roast and spooned a little on the side as a condiment Delicious. No doubt, you could use it like bitters in a fizzy cocktail with or without the alcohol.
Grapefruit Pomegranate Jelly
Scraps from three grapefruit (pith/albedo, peel, seeds, core)
1 piece star anise
3-4 allspice berries
Spring water (about 3 c)
Unsweetened pomegranate juice (about 1½ c)
Pure cane sugar (about 2¼ c)
Place the grapefruit scraps in a large saucepan with the spices and cover with cold spring water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook without boiling for about 40 minutes or until the pith is tender but not falling apart. Cool slightly and transfer carefully to a jelly bag suspended over a bowl. Let drip for several hours.
Prepare jars for water bath canning. Place a saucer in the freezer for testing the gel.
Measure the grapefruit liquid and pour into a large wide pan (I got 1½ c). Add an equal amount of unsweetened pomegranate juice (freshly squeezed or a bottled type like R.W. Knudsen’s Just Pomegranate). Add sugar equal to ¾ of the combined volume (I got 2¼ c). Bring to a boil and cook until it tests for gel (a small drop on the frozen saucer should be wrinkly to the touch). My jelly cooked in under 10 minutes.
Transfer to prepared jars and cap with two-piece lids. Process for 10 minutes after the water returns to a boil. Turn off the heat, remove the canner lid and let sit for 5 minutes before transferring the jars to a counter to sit undisturbed until cool.
Makes 4-5 four-ounce jars.