On to the meat of the matter. My subject: tangelos, which are a cross between a tangerine and either a pomelo or grapefruit. They yield a great deal of juice. I'm a little marmaladed out, so I thought jelly was my ticket. When I saw some huge, local granny smith apples, I knew I was in business. The lemongrass I spotted just sweetened the deal.
4 lbs. granny smith apples (the tarter the better)
Quarter these and put them in a large heavy pan. Cover with 7 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about thirty minutes. Apples should be very soft. Strain the juice once in a large mesh. Then do a finer strain. I like to line some cheesecloth over my strainer. Let this drain slowly overnight in the fridge.
Tip: Pass your cooked apples through a food mill. Makes excellent applesauce! Sweeten and spice if you want, or leave it au naturale.
2 1/2 pounds of tangelos
Juice these, reserving the seeds, to measure 2 cups of juice.
Tip: Save the rinds for candied citrus peels. Put them in the freezer in a ziploc until you get a pound of them. I also scraped the flesh from the rind and the pile I had was so juicy that I put it all in a pot and simmered it with 1/2 cup of juice, 1/2 cup of water, 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 1/2 vanilla bean, and made a great syrup.
Put 2 cups of your apple extraction and 2 cups of the tangelo juice into your preserving pan along with 3 cups of sugar. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Bring to a boil. While this is reaching a boil, bruise one stalk of lemongrass with a rolling pin and chop it coarsely. Add it to the mixture, along with the reserved citrus seeds. (You could put these in a cheesecloth pouch--I chose to let it loose. See note below.) Bring this to the jelling point, can and process for ten minutes.
Notes: This is probably one of my favorite jellies to date, and I've been on a little bit of a jelly tear. It's perfectly jelled for my tastes, and has a consistency like a good marmalade without the rinds (or bitterness). The lemongrass is not overpowering at all, but does give the citrusy goodness a goose. Be careful with chopping the lemongrass--I did it too fine and had to strain the jelly before canning it and besides being a pain, it slowed what should be a quick transition. And I should note that lemongrass is hard and not what you want on your toast, so don't leave it in. However, this jelly was so tasty that I saved all the foam I pulled off the mixture, along with all the strained lemongrass and seeds because I couldn't bear to throw it out. I thought it would make a nice glaze on some duck breast.