Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Milking the Tangerine (one more time)

So, they weren't tangerines after all.  The beautiful candied tangerines I've made are actually beautiful candied calamondins. My alert Sisinlaw determined the truth, packed a box full of the little devils and sent them to me in the literally frozen north South. I know we are in the mountains, but, trust me, 3 below 0 is News in North Carolina.

calamondin flower

They are like kumquats in that the skin is the sweet part. You can use the juice in the way and in the same quantity as you would lemon or lime. And they make a spectacular marmalade which I finished yesterday; truly, this is the easiest preserve I've ever made. Modest tedium. Modest equipment, a candy thermometer is helpful. A pot, some sugar and water. To wit:

1. Be sure they are pesticide free and wash the fruit thoroughly. Remove the stems completely and, working over a pot (avoid aluminum or unseasoned iron, I use enameled iron) slice them in half and squeeze the juice through a strainer to save all of the juice and none of the seeds. It's a mild struggle to get them all out but the ones you miss will appear later as you cook the marmalade. It is either infuriating or calming to dip the bitter seeds out at that point. 

Now, the fruit can be chopped but I find that I lose too much juice and I leave it in halves until later.

2.  Add enough water to cover the fruit and juice. Move the pot to the stove and bring it to a boil. Maintain a low boil for 20 minutes and remove from the heat, cool and then refrigerate over night to coax out most of the natural gelling agent, pectin.

3. The next day, measure the mixture and set aside an equal amount of sugar. This is a general rule of thumb when making jams, one to one, fruit to sugar. Bring to a rolling boil and gradually add the sugar, stirring until you are satisfied that it is dissolved. Continue to cook until the thermometer reads 220 degrees. It will take about a half hour and it does need to be watched. As the temperature slowly rose, I stood over the pot with a pair of scissors and snipped the fruit into small pieces. Be careful, it can stick to your skin and burn like napalm. After it's cooled enough to handle, carefully spoon it into sterilized jars.

brigid burns

I want to keep some of these jars for a long time and so I processed them. With fresh lids tightly screwed down I placed the jars in a pot covered by an inch of water. They boiled for ten minutes and I cooled the jars in the water.

You don't really need to process marmalade, just refrigerate it. As it happens, there is no space in my fridge so I'll store these in my "pantry". We have everything here except space. At any rate this is so tasty I'd rather not run out.

On a final note, I notice that my blog is dominated by a single color and I do not want to come across as a monochromaniac. It's just not me. And so, I hereby pledge to avoid the color orange (except for a piece of carrot) for the next three posts. For the moment, black is the new orange.




  1. Did you see this list...

  2. Wonderful blog. Makes even a noncooking person like me want to get in the kitchen. Wonderful blend of personal comments with great recipes (not too intimidating) and beautiful pictures. It's one of my "favorites" now. Bett