You know that very first clementine of the season? You peel back the fragrant skin and pop a little bright orange wedge in your mouth, and the taste of that tart juice makes you think of everything you love about winter? It makes you want to open a Christmas present with one hand and sip mulled wine with the other (presumably in this fantasy you have three hands, so you can finish your delectable clementine). Well, this was not that moment.
It was bad. Way too sweet, mealy, dry. Ugh. A bag of bad clementines is one of life’s small yet significant disappointments for me. However, I’ve never throw food away because there’s almost always a way to transform it. Sure enough, apparently you can make clementine cake, clementine sauces, clementine muffins, and even soups that used clementines as ingredients. Considering I had a whole bag to deal with, I decided on marmalade. This is kind of a quick-and-dirty version of how to make marmalade, so if you’re looking for something that comes out very firm and professional store-bought jam/jelly-like, this is not the recipe for you. (There are many recipes you can find online that take upwards of 24 hours, so if you have that kind of time for peeling all the little white shreds off and making a bag from cheesecloth and immersing it and– you get the point… please let me know how that goes!)
The lazy way: all I did was to gently peel the outer layer of skin off each clementine with a vegetable peeler (trying to get as little of the white portion underneath as possible). If you have a zester that makes nice thin lines or curls of peel, even better, because then you can skip the next step. Then chop the peels into very thin short strips. Take the clementine wedges, trying to remove as much of the white part on the outside as possible, and just throw them all in a food processor (unless they have seeds- then you have to remove those first). Pulse it until you have a soupy mess of clementines, and then put it in a pot with the strips of peel, the juice from two large lemons, and about 1.5-2 cups of sugar (I used half white, half light brown). I also added some fresh grated ginger – about 2 tablespoons – as an afterthought about halfway through. Bring it to a boil, and then simmer for about an hour. Scoop it into glass jars and let it cool. It will firm up a little as it cools. I didn’t do any kind of fancy canning procedure, so this needs to be refrigerated, but if you have the means to can or jar things so that they’re shelf-stable, by all means do that! I think it’s supposed to stay good in the refrigerator for up to a year this way though.
Last step: enjoy on top of bread/toast/bagels/muffins, swirled into yogurt or oatmeal, used in a sauce or marinade, with cheese and crackers, or even in a cocktail? Ooh, this could get dangerous…