A Gift of Sweet, Syrupy Clementines

A sweet, delicious DIY gift.

I don’t know about you, but a gift at this time of year of something precious and sweet, all tied up with a bow in a glass jar is as wonderful as something in a familiar little blue box.

OK, almost as wonderful.

“Honey-Preserved Clementines” could not be easier, either, especially for a can-o-phobe like myself, who admittedly gets a little nervous around water-bath equipment.

But since these jars get stored in the refrigerator, you can skip that sort of, kind of scary step.

This recipe, published in the Dec. 2009/Jan. 2010 issue of Fine Cooking magazine, comes from my friends and prolific cookbook authors, Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough.

Slice seedless clementines, then place them in a saucepan with water, honey, sugar, cloves, cardamom pods and a cinnamon stick. I added the seeds and pod of a vanilla bean, just because I happened to have one on hand. I’m thinking a slice of fresh ginger might be a nice addition, too.

Slice your clementines horizontally.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then let it simmer for a bit. Take it off the heat and let it sit out overnight, covered, for eight to 12 hours, according to the directions. I actually let mine sit out for a good 17 hours and it was fine.

Carefully place the clementine slices into a quart jar or smaller jars. Boil the syrup for a few more minutes to reduce it, then spoon it over the clementines in the jars. Once the mixture has cooled, screw the lids in place and store the jars in the refrigerator.

Now, comes the fun part — enjoying the clementines. Weinstein and Scarbrough suggest stirring some of the syrup and slices of clementines into yogurt or rice pudding,  topping ice cream, adding to beef stew, accenting lamb tagine or using some in a stuffing for roast turkey, chicken or duck.

No doubt, you’ll come up with lots of other uses for these sticky, tender citrus slices drenched in sweet, unctuous syrup. The jars make great gifts, too — well, if you can bring yourself to part with them.

After resting overnight, the clementine slices go into jars before the syrup is added.

Honey-Preserved Clementines

(Makes about 1 quart)

1 cup honey

1 cup granulated sugar

5 whole cloves

2 green cardamom pods

1 (4-inch) cinnamon stick

1 slice fresh ginger (optional)

1 vanilla bean (optional)

1 1/2 pounds firm clementines (5 to 7), cut horizontally into 3/4-inch-thick slices

In a 4-quart saucepan, bring 1 cup water and the honey, sugar, spices, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon stick and ginger, if using. Slice vanilla bean in half, scrape seeds, and add seeds and bean to saucepan, if using. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Gently slip clementines into the liquid without stirring. (If any slices are mostly rind, place them rind down.) Return to a full boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, cover, and set aside over night, or at least 8 and up to 17 hours.

Spoon and gently pack the slices into a 1-quart canning jar or a couple of smaller jars. Bring the syrup in the saucepan back to a boil over medium-high heat; boil 3 minutes to concentrate the flavors.

Pour syrup over slices to cover. (If you have a little bit of syrup leftover, use it to stir into tea or yogurt or to top biscuits.) Cool to room temperature. Seal and refrigerate for at least 1 week before using. The clementines will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Variations: Substitute 1 1/2 pounds seedless thin-skinned oranges (such as Valencia or blood oranges), seeded Meyer lemons, or seeded tangerines.

Adapted from a recipe by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, as published in the Dec. 2009/Jan. 2010 issue of Fine Cooking magazine

More Goodies in Jars to Make: Preserved Lemons

And: Meyer Lemon and Vanilla Bean Marmalade

And: Microwave Meyer Lemon-Orange Marmalade with Thyme

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Date: Tuesday, 13. December 2011 5:25
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Fruit, General, Recipes (Sweet)

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  1. 1

    These look great! I’m a sucker for preserved/canned citrus. And why not? They go with everything. Nice!

  2. 2

    A dielightful gift, indeed! So festive.



  3. 3

    Does the peel taste bitter or are they ok to just eat as is? Easy and simple recipe.

  4. 4

    Those look gorgeous! They remind me vaguely of some orange confit I made awhile ago. I used to be can-o-phobic, but I think with time and experience I’m slowly getting more comfortable. Thinking about things like pH levels is just slightly intimidating for someone like me who never liked science, which is saying a lot since I normally am pretty fearless in the kitchen.

  5. 5

    Sally: The peel is not too bitter at all, especially because the syrup is so sweet. Try it. I think you will like it. ;)

  6. 6

    Brilliant idea, and it won’t break the bank!

  7. 7

    Carolyn, this recipe is just right! We are obsessed with citrus this time of year and even have some cute clementines growing in the back yard. We’ve candied them and jammed them, and your recipe seems to be somewhere just in between. Cannot wait to try. Yum!

  8. 8

    Oh this just looks beyond delicious!! I love clementines and what a great way to enjoy them!

  9. 9

    I’ve never preserved clementines but love them and have 1/2 a box of them left in my refrigerator.

    The ingredients in this recipe sound fantastic. I’m so excited, I’m going to preserve some this week. YUM! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  10. 10

    These would make the perfect gift for my neighbors, thanks!!

  11. 11

    These look absolutely wonderful. Clementines are one of my favorite citrus fruits. This is such a beautiful and delicious home made gift.

  12. 12

    This would be an amazing gift, the clementines preserved with honey and flavored with all the spices here must be fantastic!

  13. 13

    Hehe these are just as exciting as that little blue box! :D

  14. 14

    what a neat idea, carolyn! this sounds like the perfect gift for co-workers, with the added benefit being i could keep a few jars for myself. :)

  15. 15

    Carolyn, you’re awesome. This is just what I was looking for. But do you think it would work just as well to do the clementines in their little sections, or do they have to be sliced?

  16. 16

    Molly: You might be able to do the clementines in sections. But remember, you have to keep the peel on them, as that’s part of the yummy flavor and texture.

  17. 17

    […] More Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough Recipes: Honey-Preserved Clementines […]

  18. 18

    Do we really have to wait 1 week before eating them? Christmas is next Tues, so we have to tell our giftee to not eat for 1 week?

  19. 19

    Arlene: Patience is highly rewarded with these. You can eat them after making, but the fruit softens more deliciously if you wait a few more days, and the syrup continues to infuse with spices the longer you wait.

  20. 20

    I love this idea. I just bought a box of clemintines so I will definitely try this. Plus I love all the

  21. 21

    I love all the ideas and ways to use them. Sorry I accidentally hit submit.

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