Mandarin (Tangerine) Marmalade is one of the most delicious and aromatic citrus marmalades. It’s delicious on toasted bread for breakfast but also between cake layers or with other desserts.
The Argolic plain is full of citrus trees and in Assini, where we live, most of the orchards are cultivated with mandarins.
There are a few varieties of mandarins in Greece such as clementines or nova which most people prefer, or Citrus Deliciosa Tenore, which grows on Chios island and is a PDO (Protected Destination of Origin) but there is also a local cultivar, (Citrus reticulata) which is just called “the common mandarin” which has lots of pips in it but has an amazing taste and is full of juice and aroma. Some people compare it to that of the variety of Chios island.
I have made marmalade and other things using some of the other varieties of mandarins but whatever I have made using the common one is by far the best.
We have two mandarin trees in our yard which are loaded with mandarins. I am not really fond of mandarins as a fruit so I rarely eat them. However, I do love its juice and usually squeeze a lot to drink and I make marmalade or liqueur, give some to friends but still there are so many that I give to my neighbour to feed the chickens.
There are so many mandarins in the region that the price has dropped considerably so the cost of their production is more than the price they sell them so that most producers decide to let them rot on the trees or graft them to new varieties.
I made two huge batches of Mandarin Marmalade, which are enough to last for more than a year, even after giving away a lot.
One was made using some crystal and jam sugar and the marmalade set perfectly. The second batch was made on purpose using only granulated sugar as I did not want it to set, in order to use it in various desserts. The peel is preserved in a wonderful thick and aromatic syrup.
The above is a Mandarin Cake, in which I used both the juice and zest as well as the syrup I made using the second marmalade.
I also made a recipe with pork baked in parchment paper, using mandarins.
I am still using some of the leftover mandarins in sweet and savoury recipes, which I hope to post soon.
I am sure there are many other methods to make this marmalade but I prefer to stick to this method because this helps to remove the bitterness from the peels, which a lot of people do not like.
This is the best period to make Mandarin Marmalade as the fruit is sweet. The amount of sugar to be used will depend if the fruit is sweet or sour. When trying the fruit, if it is tart, add to each kilo of fruit, about 200 to 300 grams more sugar.
Because most pectin is in the peel, by boiling the fruit and discarding the juice, in order to remove the bitterness, most of the pectin is removed, so I have to replace it with sugar containing pectin or add gelfix in order to help it set. Please note that no water is added.
If you don’t mind the bitterness in the marmalade, you will have to add some water to cover the fruit, which don’t discard and use only granulated sugar.
You will have to boil it until it is considerably reduced. You can see below how much it has been reduced from the marks on the pot.
If the marmalade is cooked properly it can be preserved for months, even years storing it in the closet. I still have the Four Citrus Marmalade, which I made last winter, the recipe of which is included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!. The method I used for that marmalade is different from this one.
- 4 kilos mandarins
- 1kilo granulated sugar
- 1 kilo sugar jam
- 4 leaves of fragrant geraniums (optional)
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- Extract the juice.
- Keep the peels and remove anything left inside. Fold the seeds in a cheesecloth or tulle which tie tightly.
- Boil mandarin peels for five minutes. Leave them on the stove top until they cool. Drain, add fresh water again and repeat once more.
- When they cool, drain and remove the the pith from the peels. Chop each peel into very thin strips and then into smaller pieces.
- Put the peels with sugar, fragrant geranium leaves and juice in a large saucepan. Add the seeds together with the remaining ingredients. Once the sugar has dissolved put the marmalade on the heat, mixing occasionally.
- Bring to a boil, reduce the heat slightly and be careful mixing it from time to time, as it may overflow.
- Boil for half an hour and whenever foam forms on top, remove it with a slotted spoon.
- Allow the jam to cool.
- Repeat this procedure for another half hour and skim if necessary. Add the lemon juice and set aside to cool.
- When the marmalade cools it begins to gel. If at this point it does not gel, you can still use it to make desserts or fix it by using gelfix.
Instead of fragrant geranium leaves, which are used to add its aroma to the jam, you can substitute it with spices such as cinnamon, cloves, star anise or cardamom pods or even vanilla.
Try it on top of hot bread, with butter, halloumi or graviera cheese and smoked ham or turkey or lountza (smoked pork fillet). The contrasting tastes of sweet, slightly bitter and salty is amazing.
It is perfect for breakfast. Try it and you will not regret it!
Other relevant recipes:
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!