Thursday 01 January, 2015 by Uncle Spike
Here’s something a little different from my kitchen…
In the orchards we have mostly clementine trees, which are ‘in harvest’ right now. As with all fruit-producing trees, the product varies in quantity, quality and of course size. To be marketable, the fruit should be at least the size of the ‘O’ made between thumb and middle-finger (e.g. about 5cm, or 2″).
Larger fruit is always ok of course too, providing that it’s not due to over-watering in the early growth season, whereby one ends up with a large fruit, but up to 1cm of ‘air’ between the rind and the flesh segments – they taste fine, but folk feel ‘cheated’ that the edible product is smaller than the visible fruit.
However, smaller fruit is just left to drop and rot. When I’m stripping a tree for juicing, I don’t care, large or small, the juice is just as good 🙂 But I have found other uses for these smaller fruit. One use is clementine jam, where the peeled fruit are boiled together in a big pot, then mashed up, the empty segment husks removed, and jam made from the pulp. Another is what I call Caramelised Baby Clementines. I don’t have any recipe, just had a go once, and liked the result – and so this is what I do. It couldn’t be simpler…
When picking from a tree, or sorting through a load of fruit for packing or juicing, there are a number of small, often hard underdeveloped fruit that are ‘no use’. Well, if they look ok (no disease or other blemish), I wash them and leave them to one side.
Weigh the fruit and throw a load into a pot of boiling water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and allow to ‘simmer’ for about five minutes.
Drain and refill with cold water, then replace to the heat and repeat Step Two another THREE times, so a total of FOUR short boilings. This tenderises the fruit, but more importantly, the acidity and bitterness of the rind is largely resolved by doing this.
Add 90% of the starting weight of the fruit in granulated sugar to the four-time boiled and drained fruit. Leave the sugar it to melt over the fruit from the residual heat for half an hour or so. Then return to the heat and bring to the boil. Simmer on a low heat for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they turn a deep orange/golden colour.
Scoop into a sterilised jam jar and place in a darkened storeroom, as you would with other jams and preserves. As it cools, the sugar is fairly sticky, but still spoonable. The fruit now has a curious semi-hard rind (shell), but the inside is soft and full of liquid (juice and molten fruit flesh).
Absolutely divine; either as an addition to your breakfast table, or as a snack pinched straight from the fridge (I love them as a great energy boost when working).