Saturday, December 7, 2013

Gifting Boozy Clementines

When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out – because that's what's inside. When you are squeezed, what comes out is what is inside. – Wayne Dyer

On the fourth post of Christmas, my true love gave to me...boozy clementines! Why not? 'Tis the season for them to be in the grocery stores.

It’s a bonus they’re usually “on sale” now. You probably have noticed this yourself – they’re placed inside the front door of most groceries. If they aren’t on sale they soon will be. Of course, "on sale" is a relative term...

Photo: Romaryka, Flickr CCL
Oranges (and clementines) have been a special Christmas treat for decades in rural Nova Scotia. Although they’re available all year round that wasn’t always the case. 

During the time my parents were children (1920-30s) they were a rarity. I remember my mother telling me how excited people used to get when they arrived at the village dry goods store. They were special. 

Even when I was young (many decades later – I’m not that old) my sister and I always received an orange in the toe of our Christmas stockings.

Clementines are a variety of mandarin orange that are small, smooth skinned and very easy to peel. They are almost always seedless, which makes them ideal for this recipe.

The origin of the clementine is a little murky. One story says the clementine was the result of a hybrid discovered by Father Clément Rodier in the garden of his orphanage in Algeria. Some studies state that the clementine is possibly a variant of the Canton mandarin that grows in China.

Clementines are front and centre in grocery stores from November through January. Because of shipping and storage they are usually picked before their prime and allowed to “ripen” off the tree. When you buy them give them a sniff. They should smell very citrusy. Those are the good ones. Flavour won't mysteriously appear if it's not there to start.

I suggest the 250 ml jars because I’m notorious for opening a can of fruit and then never finishing it. The smaller jars yield two small servings. Of course larger jars can be used. Just increase quantities accordingly.

More detailed directions for canning foods than I outline below can be found at:

Boozy Clementines
Time: about 1/2 hour
6 x 250 ml jars (or 3 x 500 ml)
18 clementines (approximately)
2 tbsp Grand Marnier® per jar (or other orange liqueur*)
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups water

Wash the jars, lids and rings in very hot water, and let dry. There is no need to sterilize the jars. The processing time raises the temperature enough to kill any bacteria that may be present.

Peel the clementines and remove as much of the white membrane as you can from the segments. Pack the jars with the fruit segments. Depending on the size of the clementines you’ll average about 2.5 fruits per 250 ml jar.

Bring the sugar and water to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.

Add two tablespoons of liqueur to each of the jars (for 250 ml) and cover the segments with the boiling syrup. Place the covers and rings on each jar and tighten.

Place the jars in a large pot of water with enough water to cover the jar tops to one inch above. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes.

Remove and let cool until the tops pop down. Check the tightness of your jar rings.

Note: If the centres of the tops don't pop down as the jars cool they are NOT sealed. Re-process for a further 10 minutes and try again. I had two that didn't seal the first time. Second processing did the trick.

Well sealed canned clementines will last unopened on your shelf for at least 12 months.

* Triple Sec®, Cointreau® or my homemade Grand Orange liqueur can be substituted. For my liqueur recipe, click here.


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