A family weekend trip to pick-your-own mandarins, at Watkins Mandarin Orchard, near Wisemans Ferry, Sydney, netted me a large bucket of fruit, probably about 10 kilos. Now what to do with them: jam was my first thought, then cordial, mandarin curd, and mandarin and almond syrup cake.
Really Simple Mandarin Marmalade
- 12 whole mandarins
- 4 lemons, juiced
- Caster sugar, I used 1/2 caster sugar and 1/2 CSR Jam Sugar
Makes about 2.5 kg
Preheat oven to 120C . Wash the jars well and leave in the oven while you are making the jam. This sterilizes them.
Put the whole mandarins, skin and all, and the lemon juice into a large pot. Barely cover with water, and bring to the boil.
Then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the mandarins are really soft and just starting to break apart, about an hour and a half .I did this part of the process at night and let them cool overnight in the pot. Don’t throw away the lemon peel, it’s great to keep in the freezer to flavour winter braises and tagines. Seal it in a small ziplock bag and freeze.
When cool enough to handle, remove the mandarins from the water, and reserve, break the mandarins open and discard the seeds. I find wearing disposable gloves makes this a less messy operation.
Puree all the remaining mandarin pieces, skin and all, with the reserved water, in a food processor or with a stick blender. It doesn’t have to be completely smooth.
Measure the fruit and water mixture you now have, and add the same amount of sugar, eg. to 1 litre of fruit/water, add 1 kilo of sugar. I used 1/2 caster sugar and 1/2 CSR Jam Sugar, which seems to get the mixture to the setting point really quickly.
Place the pot back on the stove and warm the fruit/water mixture before adding the sugar. Stir all the time to dissolve the sugar. Bring up to a rolling boil and cook for 20 minutes, then do the ‘setting test’. Make sure you remove the skum that forms on the surface, often, while the jam is cooking.
To test if the jam is set: spoon a small amount of jam onto a cold plate, and run your finger through it. If the jam stays separated, it’s ready.
Leave the jam to cool for 10 minutes, then pour into the hot jars and seal straight away.