Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Citrus Granita

I love how there are fruits for every season.  Spring & early summer belongs to the berries.  Stone fruit belongs to mid to late summer.  Apples & pears belong to the fall.  And citrus belongs to the winter.

I’ve never lived in a state where quite so much citrus is produced.  I’ve had a few gleeful moments when driving past citrus trees laden with fruit.  And it’s a cheerful sight to walk into the produce department of the grocery store & see giant bins filled with different citrus varieties.

Another delight with using in-season produce is the price.  I think we’ve nearly eaten our weight in Texas Grapefruit and the ever-popular “Cuties” this winter.....

It’s funny how there are some fruits that I consider to be “eating” fruits and some that I consider “cooking” or “baking” fruits.  And yes, there sometimes is overlap.  Often, I find that citrus fits into the “eating” category (or “drinking” category).    But in an effort to be a little more creative with our citrus intake, and as a throwback to one of my favorite breakfast beverages “Five Alive” I decided to make a granita.

Granitas are super easy to make.  They consist of a sweetened liquid (juice, fruit puree, coffee, etc.) that is “still frozen,” meaning it does not go through an ice cream machine.  The mixture is scraped with a fork to make ice crystals.  And voila, you have granita!

Some people scrape & flake the mixture with a fork during the freezing process.  Some people scrape after the entire thing is frozen solid.  I usually intend to scrape every hour during the freezing process, but inevitably end up being busy with other things & forgetting about it.....  No worries, it’s good either way.

Once the citrus was juiced for this particular citrus-flavored granita, I found myself with the peels of the fruit.  They were so very beautiful & I could not bring myself to throw them away.  Luckily, inspiration struck!  So, I recommend saving your citrus peels (I just stuck mine in a ziplock bag & put them in the fridge) for a future use.

Stay tuned for the next post, where I will show you what I did with the citrus peels.

As one final side note, I’m back in ND for almost 2 weeks to photograph a dear friend’s wedding & to see my family.  Brrrr.... it is SO COLD here!  Way, way below zero (especially once the wind chill is factored....).  And I think it is highly ironic that I’ve chosen to post about a frozen dessert when I am freezing in North Dakota, haha.....

Makes approximately 4 servings

2 cups of Citrus Juice (I used 1 lemon, 1 lime, 1 minneola tangelo, 1 grapefruit, and 2 cara cara oranges)
1/3 c Granulated sugar, plus additional, to taste.

  1.  Juice all the citrus, either by hand or using a juicer.  Strain out any pits.  (Save the citrus peel in the refrigerator for a future use).  
  2. Whisk in the sugar.  Taste and add additional sugar if the mixture is too tart for your preferences.  
  3. Pour into a shallow baking dish (I used a loaf pan) & place into the freezer.  
  4. Freeze 1 hour, then use a fork to flake the slushy mixture.  Freeze a second hour, then repeat the flaking process.  Freeze until solid to serve (or overnight) & then scrape again just before serving.  If you don’t have time to scrape during the freezing process, isn’t the end of the world.  
  5. Serve immediately!  Store any leftovers in a covered container in the freezer.  

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