I’m excited to kick off the 12 days of Homemade Christmas series I’m co-blogging with my pals Bringing Crafty Back! The idea is making homemade Christmas gifts that are lovely, useful, easy to make, and frugal. It can be done, and we’re here to show you how! Without further ado, here’s the first post….
You might recall that a couple months ago I made candied citron using a strange fruit called a Buddha’s hand. The results were so deliciously amazing, that I thought it would be lovely to try a couple variations for our Homemade Christmas series.
This, my friends, is a pomelo. It’s basically like a giant grapefruit and I featured it as part of my Adventures in Produce series a couple years ago. I quickly learned it makes a terrible smoothie (trust me: don’t try it). But we won’t be making a smoothie with it today – we are going to strip of the peel and turn it into candy.
This is actually also going to be a VERY frugal gift. I bet I spent a whopping total of $1.50 on the supplies to make a single batch! And, it’s so pretty!
For today’s recipe, we’re following the instructions over at Munchin with Munchkin. You will need:
- One pomelo (I found this one at Fred Meyer for $0.99/lb)
- 2 cups of sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
- 2 cups of water
The most tedious part of this recipe is stripping away the pomelo rind. Sarah and I noticed that the pith sort of turns a pretty pink hue as it sits exposed. However, you’re going to want to go at it with a paring knife and remove as much of that pith as possible – it’s bitter!
Next slice it into small candy “sticks.” My pal Sarah worked to cut it into pieces that would fit neatly into a jar. The next part might seem a bit tedious, but the recipe author insists it will reduce the bitterness of the rind. So go with it, I say!
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Place pomelo rind in the pot and blanch for one minute. Discard the water and rinse rind under cool water. Repeat this process three times.
Next, you will bring the 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the pomelo and lower to simmer for 1 – 1.5 hours. The rinds will become translucent.
Now I decided to also make candied ginger – to offer up a duo of candied fruits of sorts. Given that, while the pomelo was simmering, we got to work on the candied ginger! The same blogger Muchin with Munckin had a handy recipe for candied ginger.
The recipe calls for three cups of cut up ginger. I had no clue how much to buy to equal three cups because I’m the gal always buying the teeniest, tiniest piece of ginger I can find for $0.12. As it stands, I bought well over two pounds and the cashier looked at me and declared, “wow! That is the most ginger I’ve ever rung up before!” At that point, I wasn’t sure if I should be proud or concerned. In hindsight, a pound would’ve sufficed. (Any ideas what I should do with all the leftover ginger I have?)
To make candied ginger you need:
- Three cups ginger, peeled and chopped into thin slices
- 2 cups of sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
- 2 cups of water
Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the ginger. Simmer it for 10 minutes. Discard the water and rinse it off in cool water. If you wish, you could reserve the water for tea or homemade ginger ale.
Next, add the 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar in a saucepan and bring to boil. Add the ginger and turn down to a simmer for 1 – 1.5 hours. Pretty much the same dealio as the pomelo.
Now we timed this recipe so that both the pomelo and ginger would be simmering for roughly the same amount of time. Given the simplicity of ingredients and steps, this is entirely possible!
After your fruits have simmered for the recommended time, you’ll notice they will have absorbed a considerable amount of the sugar water and have turned translucent. At this point, remove them with a slotted spoon onto a wire rack to dry. I found what worked well was to lay down a sheet of wax paper on my counter to help sop up the drippings.
The first ginger! Yum!
Then, give a hearty sprinkle of sugar on top! Finally, let your candy air-dry a good 8-10 hours. I just gave mine overnight to be sure.
Now you’re ready to put it in jars or containers! I found each recipe filled about 2 pint-sized mason jars.
I went to JoAnn’s this week and found their Christmas themed packaging was 50-60% off. I found this adorable box for $5:
I then used two fancy pint-size, wide-mouth mason jars to store my treats:
They fit perfectly inside with a little raffia!
I thought the pomelo was excellent for eating right out of the jar…in fact a little too excellent as I managed to down quite a bit of it myself in a single sitting. (DOH.) The candied ginger…let’s just say it’ll clear the sinuses! I wouldn’t sit there and much on a bowl of it. I’d be far more likely to enjoy a piece during the winter when I’m having a cold…or even better, chopped up and baked into cookies or in gingerbread! YUM! One idea I had would be to include a couple recipes with your gift.
Another delightful alternative or addition to these recipes would be candied citron.
According to what I could find, you should be able to store these for a month or so in a cool, dark place and perhaps longer if stored in your fridge.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the next gift in this series!