Next stop on our series of jams and preserves enroute to making home-made gifts is a vibrant Clementine marmalade. Marmalade is the general term given to (citrus) fruit preserves made by cooking citrus fruit, peels included, in a sugar syrup. The acidic & tart citrus fruit alongside sugar is a tantalizing treat. I very recently became a fan of orange marmalade because the sweetness of the jam is perfectly offset by the tart fruit and its a refreshing bite with bread or just by the spoonful :)
Those who've watched TV over the last few weeks here could not have missed the Cuties' ad for california clementines doing the rounds. California is blessed with the perfect weather of citrus fruit almost all year round. Clementines are currently in season and you better not miss out on the chance to get a boxful of them home. I don't know about kids loving their cuties but I surely do. I don't like the white pith that wraps around the fruit and have to go through the long-winding process of segmenting oranges or painfully peeling out the stubborn pith in order to get to the juicy goodness. I know the pith is good for us, but well, that's my bit of weird. And so clementines are ideal for me. They are a variety of mandarin orange and are easy to peel and almost always seedless. the pith is tender and not as fibrous and I eat them like candy each time I enter the kitchen. Its easy to eat 3-4 of them without giving it much of a thought.
This marmalade is very easy to put together and probably takes just 2 hrs with very little hands-on time. You dunk whole clementines in water and boil them until softened. When cool to handle you coarsely chop them up, return to the saucepan and cook down with sugar and vanilla. Let it cook for 30more mins and its done. Boiling the clementines to soften them also leeches out some of the bitterness in the skin leaving you with a milder fruit for the marmalade.
Clementine & Vanilla MarmaladeYield - 2 CupsCooking Time - 2hrIngredients:
- 15 - Clementines, whole
- 2 - Lemons, juiced and zest of one
- 2 cups - Sugar
- 1 tsp - Vanilla Extract or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (optional)
Notes: You can also flavor your marmalade with whole spices like cloves, cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, ginger or even chillies. Drop them in along with sugar and make sure you fish them out once the marmalade is done.
- Wash the clementines and add them to a non-reactive saucepan with water just enough to immerse them. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15-20 mins until the clementines are soft.
- Drain water and allow fruit to cool. When able to handle, chop them whole as coarse/fine as you desire, discarding any seeds in the process. Return to the pan along with zest of a lemon and juice of 2, vanilla bean seeds or extract and sugar.
- Simmer on low heat for about 30mins until the fruit mixture comes together as a jam. I was going to use this in a recipe for fruit cake and so let the mixture cook for 40-45mins to a point where the fruit is essentially candied and not jam like. Check on it, more towards to end, to ensure that the sugar does not burn.
- When you are happy with the consistency, remove from heat and cool completely before transferring to a clean, air-tight jar.
A pretty bottle filled with this jam and a hand-written tag would make a beautiful gift. With clementines in season its also a good thing to make and keep on hand. If you plan to make a larger batch or store it long term do follow proper canning procedures. The marmalade could be used to flavor cake/cupcake frosting's specially a cream cheese based one. It would be great stirred into a chocolate cake batter since chocolate and orange go really well together. I used about half the yield in my fruitcake this year for a perfectly intense citrus flavor. I reserved half for a batch of linzer cookies too, but that is if it lasts long enough. This is what my breakfast looked like....
|Nutella & Clementine Marmalade on whole wheat toast|