Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Spiced Citrus Syrup

Although Jack says that I “over-do it with the vegetables”, neither of us eat much fruit. In fact the only time that we regularly do have fruit is in the morning, with breakfast. It has, fortunately, become a habit. I often read that eating a wide variety of both fruits and vegetables is the basis for a healthy diet, and every once in a while I will buy apples, or pears, and leave a big bowl of them on the kitchen table as a reminder to snack on these. It doesn’t work. I, unconsciously, seem to view the bowl as a decoration and, when the time comes, the apples are made into applesauce or the pears are pureed and frozen as an oil substitute for baking.

The fruit that we enjoy is seasonal. I see cantaloupe and honeydew in the stores at this time of year and just cannot bring myself to purchase any (as when I see oranges in the summer). In my mind, there are spring fruits, summer fruits, fall fruits, and currently, winter fruits. These consist of oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, pears, grapes, and bananas. I realize that it’s rather limiting, but I prefer to eat fresh, seasonal produce.

During the holidays, I add a little spark to the morning fruit bowl with a light, spiced syrup. I boil water and sugar with orange and grapefruit peel, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice. Twice a week I will peel and section citrus fruits and keep them in a tightly-covered container with the syrup. To serve, I scoop the fruit out with a slotted spoon (allowing most of the syrup to drain back into the bowl) then add pears, bananas, grapes, etc. The added fruit is lightly flavored with the spices, and everything blends well.

This is a very nice change-of-pace for our morning fruit bowl, definitely appropriate also for company and for a brunch side dish.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Spiced Citrus Syrup

Recipe By: Vicci

Makes about 1 cup

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

1 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

1 stick cinnamon -- (about 3" long)

6 whole cloves

3 whole allspice berries

1 large orange, peeled

1 large grapefruit, peeled

Place the citrus peel on a cutting board, with the peel side down. Flatten (cut into pieces if necessary) and, with a small, sharp knife, carefully remove as much of the white pith as possible. Section orange and grapefruit (use more, if needed, since only the peel from one of each fruit is required for the syrup); set aside fruit in a plastic or glass container.

Stir water and sugar together in a small pan, heat over medium flame until sugar melts and the mixture starts to boil. Add remaining ingredients (spices and peels), turn the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes (stir occasionally)

Remove from heat and allow to steep for 30-45 minutes. Strain into bowl and add desired amount of citrus fruit. Keep, covered, in the refrigerator.

When serving, other types of fruit can be added.

NOTES : If you scoop the fruit from the syrup and allow the extra syrup to drain back into the container, you can add more citrus when needed. I repeat this for about two weeks, then discard the unused syrup.

Ground spices can also be used in the syrup, but they will not be strained out. If I ever do this, I will re-post the recipe with the revised amounts in. For now, make a guess!