Monday, December 20, 2010

mandarins preserved - oh my!

for weeks we here at the hippychick homestead have been enjoying the sweetness of a wealth of california mandarins.

oooh mama, they've been good but as of late the lovely mandarin stash began to show signs of the dry and shrivels.  we frowned not as these babies were perfect for many uses.  for us, we choose to preserve the orange lovelies in a simple herbed sugar syrup.

here's how you do it...
  • cook up a simple syrup
    • 1 part sugar to 1 part water
    • just enough to fill your jars for me that was 4 cups each sugar to water
    • note you can use the leftover for other goodies
      • mix with seltzer or your favorite adult beverage
      • add to a homemade sauce for a bit of sweetness
      • mix it into cookies, muffins, cakes, cobblers
      • make some homemade sodas
      • blah, blah, blah
  • i added in a good meaty zingy bit of herbal tea  to the simple syrup for flavor and spice
    • cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, hibiscus flower, red rooibos and lemon rind
  • i sliced the mandarins four times around to allow the syrup to penetrate
  • put everything together in a large soup pan and let it simmer for twenty minutes or so
  • then i canned it up and processed for 20 minutes
the hibiscus flower infused it's ruby color into the mix creating a lovely compliment to the bright and lively orange of the mandarins.  now, as with most good things, we must wait.  in truth, we really don't have to but i imagine with a bit of time soaking in the sweet juices the fruits will prove that much more of a delight upon the tongue.

i may be giving seasonal red grapefruits and local meyer lemons a similar treatment in the near future.  ooh the pairings one could make with such goods...

and if you're not into preserving the drying beauties, pull out your whole cloves, dress the mandarins all around and allow them to dry completely for a lovely smelling bit of home decor.  i've strung up a few and hung them on my holiday trees.  the aroma is seductive.

you could
  • stick them with cloves and slow simmer in apple cider or a favorite juice.  
  • cook with them.  mandarins are great additions to cooked meals.
  • eat the fruits up saving the peel for later culinary use.  
    • to save the peel, dry it, chop into bitty pieces and store in an airtight glass jar.


give this a shot!

1 comment:

Conny said...

I preserved mandarins for the first time last year (not whole but individual sections) and was pleased with the results. Even a year later, they taste as good as they did going into the jars. Just thought I'd chime in that it was worth the effort. Cheers~