I had the best intentions when I bought a 5-pound Cutie box of Clementine tangerines. Round, colorful snacks to toss in the car when I’m driving around. Compact balls of vitamin C.
I ate just two. The rest sat in the bottom of my refrigerator’s produce bin inside its mesh bag – for weeks, long past when they would have tasted very good. I do that with apples sometimes, too.
I hate feeling food guilt. Waste not whine not. I adapted my orange marmalade recipe for the tanerines.
But I cannot leave a recipe alone. So when I was adding the sugar, I reached for my jar of vanilla sugar, a container in which I’ve embedded a bunch of vanilla beans, so they’ll flavor the sugar. But those beans had been in there a while, so long that they were hard and shriveled. So I dumped all the vanilla beans in with the tangerines. After that, I needed a little something to balance out the vanilla beans, so I added some candied ginger.
That did it. Perfectly delicious.
Now, what to do with a vat of Tangerine-Ginger, Vanilla-Bean Marmalade?
Spread it on toast or crumpets or English muffins. Or spread it on chicken before cooking, or let your imagination go wild and put the marmalade on something else, like ice cream or pound cake.
But most of all, I’d use jars of this gorgeous golden marmalade as Gifts, of course. I suggest you buy the smaller, 4-ounce canning jars. A little marmalade goes a long way (and you’ll have more to give away, and keep for yourself).
Doni’s Tangerine-Ginger Vanilla-Bean Marmalade5 pounds tangerines, seeded 2 lemons, seeded 10 cups water 4 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and crosswise 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons pureed candied ginger (or finely chopped) 7 cups sugar
Either thinly slice the fruit, or chop it in batches in a food processor – enough to turn the lemons and tangerines into smaller pieces. Transfer the citrus to a large bowl, or a large stainless steel stock pot.
Cover the tangerines and lemons with the water. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and let the mixture stand at room temperature for 24 hours.
Pour the mixture into a large, non-reactive pot and put it on the stove over medium heat. Scrape in the seeds from vanilla beans and toss the beans into the pot, too.
Add the salt and ginger. Allow the mixture to come up to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently until the rinds are tender, the fruit begins to fall from rind and the marmalade turns a translucent hue. Stir occasionally, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Remove from the heat. Add sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Boil gently until mixture is 210 degrees, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour and a half.
Fish out the vanilla beans and cut into 2-inch-long pieces and set aside. Divide the boiling hot marmalade into the jars and sink a mall piece of vanilla bean into each jar of marmalade.
Cover with jar likds and refrigerate for up to two months, or process in a hot-water bath according to usual canning procedures to preserve.
Makes about two dozen 4-ounce jars of marmalade (or 1 dozen, 8-ounce jars).
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.