What does Christmas smell and taste like? For me it is the smell of fir trees, gingerbread and clementine peel.
You instinctively know when Christmas is on the scene. From November to February the shops are filled with clementine’s. The Christmas fruit Citrus Clementia is a hybrid, a cross between a mandarin and a sweet orange. It is thought to have originated in Algeria but is now grown extensively in Spain.
For as long as I can remember it was always the tradition to place a clementine or an orange in the heel of a Christmas stocking. Unfortunately, in this day and age, this tradition may have been replaced by more expensive items such as i-phones and tablets.
There is no need for air fresheners in our house this Christmas. The whole of the flat is filled with the sweet smell of clementine’s permeating from my kitchen.
On Thursday I bought 2 x 2.3 kg boxes of clementines from my local cash-and-carry for £5.00. Since then I have been very busy making various types of clementine marmalade. A total of 18 pots of various sizes – one batch with Cointreau, another with ouzo, the third with brandy and the final batch I caramelised, excellent with pates and also for serving over ice cream.
The basic recipe is below. Once the jam has reached setting point, pour in 4 tablespoons of alcohol of your choice, stir and leave to stand for 10 minutes before pouring in jars and sealing. The marmalade will keep for about 1 year if kept in a cool and dark place.
For more detailed instructions regarding jam making, reaching setting point and sterilising jars, please click on the following link Instructions for jam making and follow stages 3 and 4
Basic recipe for Clementine Marmalade
The juice of 2 large lemons and the pips reserved
- Thinly slice the clementine’s and chop into segments (this can be done by hand or in a food processor). Clementine’s are normally seedless, but if there are any pips put them to one side
- Extract the juice from the lemons and place the pips (and any from the clementine’s) in a small muslin bag tied with string
- Put the fruit and water in a large preserving pan and tie the muslin bag to the handle of the pan, allowing it to dangle in the water. If possible leave to soak overnight (this will reduce the cooking time of the peel)
- Put the preserving pan on a low heat and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer until the peel is cooked and tender
- Remove the muslin bag from the pan. Add the sugar to the pan and stir until all of the sugar has dissolved
- Once the sugar has dissolved bring the pan to a rolling boil and cook until setting point has been reached (20-30 minutes)
- Turn the pan off the heat, add any alcohol, and stir. Leave to stand for 10 minutes
- Using a funnel pour the jam into the hot sterilised jars, place a circle of waxed paper on the top of the jam and seal the jars.
My best wishes to you all for the Christmas holidays and may the New Year find you happy and healthy