December 3, 2010

Mandarin Jam

I made Mandarin jam today, which is very easy and not all that time consuming except for the part where you tediously remove all the pith.  In fact that and a thirty minute boil are all that stand between you and a toast slathered with jam.  I'm supposed to give these pretty jars away to a few special people at Christmas, but the leftovers went in the fridge just a few hours ago and I CAN'T STOP EATING IT!  It's so darn good I wouldn't be surprised if someone missed out on a gift.  They'd never know anyway!

Mandarin Jam

I adapted the recipe from The Traveler's Lunchbox.  She says here that the recipe could be made using any citrus fruit and I wholeheartedly agree.  Lemon, grapefruit, tangerines, even limes!  In this case however be sure to seed your fruit and up the sugar and lemon levels.

I found some nice mandarins at a local produce store locally, they were smooth, with only a few green patches and heavy for their size.  So juicy in fact it was difficult to zest them without getting any pith. (I think my zester is incredibly dull as well.)  

Made almost two and a half cups worth of jam.

1 kilo (a generous two pounds) of mandarins (I used twelve)
450 g white sugar
juice of two lemons

Wash two or three of your mandarins and zest them careful to avoid the pith underneath.  You want enough to make a tablespoon or so of zest.  Peel all of the mandarins, getting as much of the pith as possible.  Peel the oranges over a bowl to catch the inevitable stray juices.  Puree the oranges for a few minutes until pureed (mine never got totally pureed, they stayed a little chunky, but I like it better that way.)

Combine the mandarin puree, zest, sugar and lemon juice in a large heavy bottomed pot and bring to a boil.  When it boils lower to a slow boil and simmer for 25-30 minutes.  At 20 minute put a plate in the freezer.  After 25 minutes put a little of the jam on the plate and return to freezer for about two minutes, until the jam is cool.  If you run your finger through the jam and it holds the trough, it's finished, otherwise try again.  At the same time taste the jam to see if it needs more sugar or lemon juice.

Pour the jam into sterilized jars and process anyway you see fit, or throw it in the fridge to keep for a few weeks.

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