Friday, January 22, 2010

hot buttery lemon!

I had a very full night of cooking this evening: when I read Heidi's post about her freezer-clearing Ribollita, I was inspired to clear out my own freezer. Although the soup itself's a post for another day (we haven't eaten it yet), the recipe has quite a lot of waiting while things simmer for 10 or 15 minutes.

We had a big bag of clementines that needed to get used up - I used to be able to eat a pound or so of them at a sitting, but apparently I am getting old, so now even one gives me heartburn. (... perhaps because I used to eat them in 1-pound increments).

Anyway, I decided to use my simmering time productively, and started cutting them into quarters. I'm trying to make fewer very sweet preserves this year, and I love pickles (really, anything vinegary), so when I was looking for a recipe for the Can Jam I had bookmarked this recipe for pickled oranges, too. Since I had surplus clementines, that turned into pickled clementines instead. I changed the spices somewhat, and decided to add a vanilla bean. It smells good, but since these pickles are supposed to mature for two months before you eat them, it'll be a while before I know whether this was a good experiment or not.

Pickled Clementine Quarters
adapted from Sensational Preserves

  • 2 lbs clementines (or so - enough to make about 8 C cut-up fruit)
  • 2 1/4 C sugar
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 thumb-sized hunk ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 5-in piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tbsp allspice berries
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split
  • 2 1/2 C white wine vinegar
Wash clementines thoroughly and quarter them if they are small (mine were tiny) or cut into wedges if they are larger. Put them into an oven-safe pot and add water to cover. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the peels are tender.

Meanwhile, make the brine: heat the sugar with the spices and vinegar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat to a simmer; simmer for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 275F.

Drain the clementines, discarding the cooking liquid. Put the fruit back in your oven-safe pot and pour the brine over it. Cover and cook in the hot oven for an hour, until the peels are translucent. (NOTE: mine never got translucent - I hope it doesn't matter too much!)

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the oranges to your prepared jars (warm, clean, etc.). I really packed 'em in there, being careful to distribute the spices amongst the jars. Boil the vinegar on the stove for an additional 10 minutes (keep the jars with the fruit in the off but still-warm oven). Pour the brine over the fruit to cover. Rotate the jars to expel any air bubbles.

Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. Store in a cool, dark, dry place for 2 months before eating.
makes 3-4 pints

Also, since I was already zesting a lemon for the soup, I decided to juice it, plus half of a somewhat-elderly red grapefruit I had sitting around, and make a quick batch of grapefruit curd. It's delicious (who can resist any kind of citrus curd??), but not quite as grapefruity as I might have liked.

Microwave Grapefruit Curd
adapted from the Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving

  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 grapefruit, juiced
  • 1/4 C butter
  • 3/4 C granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
Put the lemon juice and however much of the grapefruit juice it takes to make 1/2 C liquid total into a 4-C container. Add the sugar and butter and microwave on 100% power for ~2 minutes until the butter is melted. Whisk until the sugar dissolves.

SLOWLY add the hot buttery lemon mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly so that the egg doesn't begin to cook. After you've added all the hot liquid to the eggs, microwave for another 1-3 minutes on 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds. Keep going until the mixture has visibly thickened, but don't allow it to come to a boil. Pour into a clean, dry jar and enjoy! (Keeps for several weeks in the fridge, apparently, if you don't eat it first.)
makes about 1 3/4 C curd


  1. I love to see the recipes from those who managed to can something pickled/savory for the jam. Great recipe! Let us know how this turns out after it sits for awhile...

  2. Looks great! I made pickled oranges for the can jam, but they were more sugary than yours. Almost like tangy glazed oranges.

    Do you think the curd would be more grapefruity if you added some zest?

  3. ohbriggsy - Thanks! I'll post an update when I finally get to eat these.

    Libby - A little, but I think having maybe 3/4 grapefruit juice to 1/4 lemon juice would make a bigger taste difference. Or maybe all grapefruit juice. I haven't seen any grapefruit curd recipes that don't call for lemons, but I don't see why lemon needs to be in there, either. I'm not even canning it!