These honeyed mandarins really are an often overlooked treasure. If you are ever feeling a little down in the winter, it can completely transform your day to have a pot of these mandarins bubbling away on the stove. The orange oil can lift the spirits and combined with the other aromatic spices, it will be the best pot pouri for your house and your soul! The same affect happens when you open the jar. You preserve the entire citrus fruit in this recipe and the fruit can be strained from the juices and used in all sorts of ways. It is wonderful with vanilla ice cream or plain yogurt and granola. You can finely chop it and add it to a kale salad or with steamed broccoli. We make a dish at Happy Girl with wild rice pilaf and honeyed mandarins. They go with so many savory dishes that usually call for raisins or dried cranberries or cherries. Oh, and the liquid – you didn’t discard the liquid did you? It is ambrosia. I just looked up ambrosia in the dictionary and it was there. Just add a splash to some sparkling water, sit back and enjoy!
This recipe works great with any kind of orange citrus such as kumquats, blood oranges, cara cara or others. You can also experiment with the spices and herbs that you use.
4 pounds (1814 g) mandarins
4 cups (946 mL) honey
1 cup (236 mL)lemon juice
1 cup (236 mL)orange juice
9 cinnamon sticks
1 ½ Tablespoons (22 mL) cloves
4 star anise (optional)
Slice the whole mandarin in half from top to bottom and then slice the halves into three wedges. Place the mandarins in a non-reactive pot and cover with water. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce and simmer until peel is tender to the touch, about 15 minutes. Drain and add back to pot. The liquid you have drained off is actually tasteless and can be discarded.
Combine mandarins, honey, lemon juice, orange juice and spices in the pot. Cover and simmer until the mandarin slices are well glazed, about 40 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, pack hot mandarins into jars, leaving slightly more than ½ inch headspace. Ladle hot syrup into the jar to cover mandarins, leaving ½ inch [1 cm] of head space at the top. You can selectively add whole spices to the jars as the contrast of color is beautiful. Wipe rim and put on the lids fingertip tight. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and process in hot water bath canner for 10 minutes.
Yields 6 8-oz jars and will keep up to one year.