Sunday, November 20, 2011
I fell in love with clementines last winter.Somehow they taste so much sweeter here in France than I remember from the States. They're such a healthy, easy snack; I buy them by the bag-full. So you can imagine how distressed I was to see the ones from the bag I bought last week starting to spoil right before my very eyes. I probably lost almost a third of the bag before I decided to see if there was some way to make jam from the good ones left. Christine Ferber to the rescue! You'll remember that I sent over a few favorite cookbooks this summer in preparation for my move here to France. Madame Ferber's book, Mes Confitures, is one that made the trip. She's the queen of French jams and jellies, and sure enough she had two different recipes for clementines. She uses her own homemade apple jelly instead of store-bought pectin. Not something I wanted to do, so I called my friend, Jean, who makes excellent jam.
I asked her where she buys her pectin and was surprised to learn that she never uses pectin! She thought there would be enough natural pectin in the lemons that are added to make the jam set. To be sure, she suggested buying 'confisuc,' special French sugar with a gelling agent especially for making jam. I decided to give it a go, as my Brit friends say. Now, my cookbook says to remove all the white part of the clementines. I hope you're not offended, but that just didn't happen. How in the world do you get all that off those tiny segments? I boiled the fruit, sliced lemons, sugar and a bit of cinnamon together and then let the mixture rest overnight in the 'fridge. My kitchen smelled heavenly-all cinnamon-y and citrus-y.
This morning I drained all the liquid from the fruit and brought it to a boil again. It boiled until it started to set; then I added the fruit back and cooked it a bit longer. I ended up with these three jars plus and a slightly larger one. While I would have liked a bit more firmness, the jam set up fairly well. And the taste is yummy...kind of a cross between marmalade and Christmas. I'm happy that most of my clementines didn't go to waster. Next time I must remember to check the bag to see if it carries a 'sell by' date!