Mandarin Marmalade

When we moved here we inherited a small collection of juvenile citrus trees planted by the previous owners. A naval orange (good), a lime (good) and 3 mandarin trees (why?).

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike mandarins, I’ve just never seen the point of them. Why, when you could have an orange or a lemon would you choose the insipid mandarin? Perhaps I should decide afterall that they chose us.

Between them, our tiny orchard produced enough fruit to send me into a tiny panic about what we were going to do with all this bounty. (The basket shot above only represents what was leftover once I could peel and bottle no more. Please imagine it packed to overflowing.)

Determined to get my country housewife, preserving apron on I eventually settled on mandarin marmalade. I used this recipe from A Table for Two which has beautiful pictures and is written by one of the Australian Masterchef contestants. I only found that out when I went back to the page to find a recipe link, but there you go.

Sadly, my mandarins must be low in pectin as I couldn’t get the silly pot of goop to set on its own and ended up having to add jam setta.

The verdict? It’s really very nice. The bitterness of the zest puts some punch into the bland stand-alone flavour of the mandarin but it is definitely a mandarin marmalade. Next year, when I’ve forgotten how long all that peeling and chopping took (and I'm not pregnant) I might try adding some whiskey to the mix as well for even more kick.

No matter how accomplished a country housewife I become I don’t think I’d ever be up for making this more than once a year. Prepping all that fruit took forever, even once I roped my mum in when she came over for tea. (I’m paying her in marmalade.)

NB: The drink in this photo is hot Milo. I’m not sure that many people outside Australia understand or appreciate the joy of drinking hot Milo on a cold winter morning and it is truly their loss.

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