Confiture of the weekend: canned clementines. Clementines are back and usually sold in jumbo bags or boxes. Generally, no matter how bad the scurvy, it is daunting for one person to consume all those clementines in a reasonable amount of time, leaving a plethora of tiny oranges that seem to multiply overnight. What's a girl to do. Well, can them, of course.
It is really quite easy, if not a bit tedious, as one must first peel all those little teeny oranges. After about, two, the sticky white membranes get all mashed onto your fingers and the process slows and becomes messy, so be sure you have a bar rag of some type to try and keep the hands free of goo.
Then, stuff jars with clementines, make a simple syrup, pour over the clementines in the jar, screw on a lid and process for 10 minutes.
Some people like to break up the clementines into sections to get more in the jar, but these German Leifheit jars are constructed in the funny triangular shape which allowed for a snug insertion of whole clementines. The simple syrup had a bit of spice. Rather than give you strict measurements, as I do not know how ravenous your desire for clementines was, so I have no idea how many were laying on your counter.
After peeling all the clementines you are planning to use, stuff them(whole or sectioned) into jars. Now, count the number of jars. Fill one jar with plain water while it is stuffed. Pour that water off into a measuring cup. Multiply that amount of water by the number of jars and that will be the amount of water for this canning job. (So, if you get 1/2 cup of water out of your clementine stuffed jar and you have 4 stuffed jars, you will start with 2 cups of water.)
This past week we have been reading Brad Thomas Parsons' wonderful book, Bitters. Since we have never been a huge fan of cloying sweetness, the idea of a little bitterness gains rave reviews. While our bar is set up with your basic Angostua, Peychaud and orange bitters, we also keep a nice celery on hand for that special kick to our Bloody Mary's. We are enamored of The Bitter Truth's homage to Jerry Thomas' bitters recipe, Bittermen's Burlesque is another fave as is The Bitter End's Memphis. But I digress....(and so should you by reading our Cookbook Of The Day post on Bitters.)
Back to the clementines which, I might add, got their name from my cat "Clementine" whose lovely orange mane was the first inspiration for clementines. But again, I digress...
BACK TO THE RECIPE:
While my "simple syrup" started out simple, it became more complex. I added a sachet of mixed spice and finished it off with shot of orange liqueur and a dash of orange bitters.
Lucinda's Canned Clementines
28 clementines, peeled
1 1/2 cups water (see the note for measuring)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon grains of paradise
1/2 cup orange liqueur
6 dashed of orange bitters
Peel and remove as much of the white membrane as possible. Fit the clementines whole or in sections into canning jars.
Take the spices and wrap them in a piece of cheesecloth and tie off. In a small saucepan, add the sugar and water and stir until the sugar is just dissolve. Add the spice packet and bring to a boil. Remove the spice packet, making sure to drain any excess syrup back into the saucepan. Add the orange liqueur, the bitters and stir.
Pour the syrup over the clementines, leaving a 1/8 inch of rim. Wipe clean the jar rims and screw on the lids, hand tight. Process in boiling water for 10 minutes.
Remember to time from the point the water boils. Sometimes with a syrup base, it will weep through the lid a bit, don't worry if that happens.
If, by chance, you find yourself some leftover syrup, consider yourself lucky. Just pour it in a little container and stick it in the fridge. Then you can add it to carrots, sweeten tea, make vinaigrette, the possibilities are endless.