Jan 14, 2010

Clementine sciroppate recipe

The marketplace these days is a beautiful winter palette. If you've visited my photoblog Tuesday Jan. 12, you'll have noticed the gorgeous abundance of this season's produce: different kinds of artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, puntarelle, crisp fennel bulbs, ribbony radicchio, cavolo nero, pumpkins and parsnips; and also wonderful wild kiwi fruits, blood Tarocco oranges, juicy apples and clementines.

Clementines are a very popular smooth and glossy citrus fruit. Initially imported from Spain, Morocco, and other parts of North Africa, Clementines are a cross between a sweet orange and a Chinese mandarin. They are small, very sweet, and usually seedless. Many think of Clementines as small tangerines, but they're a different variety entirely, with a distinctive taste. The y produce a delicious fresh-squeezed juice, but Clementines are mainly an eating fruit. Its small size and lack of seeds make it particularly popular with kids.
They appear on market stalls in the northern hemisphere around November, and they are available for 4-5 months.

Canning them is an excellent way to carry the flavors of winter over into the summer months. The zesty citrus and their syrup are quite pleasant over plain vanilla ice cream, or fresh ricotta, Asiago or goat cheese; or as a topping for spongy chocolate cake.

1 kg (2.2 lbs) small unwaxed, organic clementines
200 g (1 cup) sugar
1 lt (1 quart) non-sparkling mineral water (I use Evian)
4 to 6 10-oz capacity mason jars and capsule screw caps*

Sterilize the marmalade jars and by boiling them in plenty unsalted water for 10 minutes.

During this time, soak the clementines in water and a fistful of baking soda to remove any outer substances from the rind–though very easy to peel, in this recipe the clems keep their skin on.

Put the whole fruits in a large stew pot in plenty mineral water and bring to a boil. Lower the flame and keep at a medium simmer for 15 minutes. Fish out the fruits with a slotted spoon and set aside; saving the water.

Stir in the sugar and resume the boil, at which point add the clementines back to the pot; and boil for 30 more minutes. The sugary water will thicken and become a syrup.

Spoon out the fruits and divide them among the sterilized jars, pouring in just enough syrup to cover them (depending on jar size, you should get 5 or 6 fruits in each).

Firmly close the lid of each jar, turn the jars cap side down and wrap them close together in a warm fleece or woolly blanket in a dimly lit room, away from drafts, overnight. This rather mysterious-sounding procedure is the technique that guarantees pasteurization. Thanks to the heat, jars are hermetically sealed, and through natural vacuum, air is expelled. The result will be that the capsule in the lids of the jars will no longer "pop" when pressed down. If the capsule still pops, repeat pasteurization process with a new lid. Once the jars are vacuum sealed, they can be stored in your pantry for 10-13 months.

Tip: Stir some of the citrusy syrup in one or two tablespoons of mustard (according to taste) as a rascally piquant condiment for bollito misto, cotechino or grilled meats.

*Safe and hygienic preserving is obtained by using new jars and special lids with soft rubber gaskets that ensure a "venting" effect during pasteurization, and that provide an effective, long-lasting vacuum seal. Furthermore, the paint must be suitable for contact with the foods on the inside. The jars and lids I use are The Quattro Stagioni Line by the Italian manufacturer Bormioli Rocco. 
To learn more about the technical features on their website, click HERE


  1. That's a wonderful sounding recipe. we still have clementines in the main market up here. If they're not too soft I will try it soon. Does this pasteurizing process work for other kinds of fruits?

    We have a glut of plums every summer and this sounds like a good thing to do with them.

  2. Oh that sounds great and I will definitely try it. Have a great weekend Hugs Myriam

  3. This sounds lovely, Lola, and I've sent your link to my m-i-l who is the preserve queen and who has just bought a lot of clementines.

    Are you back home all the time now. Is the shooting all finished?

  4. Love clementines! I liked learning about them. Thanks! :)

  5. mmm! They look and sound delicious! Maybe at mid-term break, I might get to try them, too busy, much too busy, at the moment.
    And thanks for the helpful link to quattro stagioni site, will find time to go there!
    You're a gem!

  6. Love clementines, especially when the leaves are still on...just look sooooo fresh.

  7. Always preferred Clementines to oranges. Well, to a certain extent. Oranges are my passion fruits, always. Although, like every passion, they are demanding. So I end up with Clementines most of the time.

  8. Wait, do you really can them whole, with the peel on?

  9. Hi L: I've been seeing clementines in one or two markets lately. They're so pretty. Now I'm going to buy some on your recommendation. Sounds delish...

  10. Those look lovely. I just picked up a big sack of blood oranges here a week ago. Love those, but can't always find them. Nice not-as-sweet-as-regular-oranges flavor to them.

  11. Clementines are one of my very favorite fruits! Best I ever tasted were fresh from the tree when I was on the California coast a few years ago.

  12. Reading this has made me hungry!

  13. The many possibilities for using these makes my mouth water.
    We always process our canning jars in a boiling water bath after filling to be sure of pasteurization.

  14. Thank you for your comments!

    The heat from the boiling hot sauce poured into the jars expands the gaskets, creating an airtight seal, and through natural vacuum, all the air is expelled: pasteurization! In this way the safety capsule in the jar lids won't "pop" when pressed down.