Why not give a jar of these delicious honey-preserved clementines as a gift this Christmas? They make great gifts (if you can bear to part with them)!
As a gourmet chef, I learned many years ago not to worry that people would be unappreciative if I gifted them with food. I had worried that they would somehow think I simply tossed off one of my recipes to them rather than putting a lot of thought and effort into finding just the right gift. WRONG! People love to receive food as gifts. And all the better if it is a really good recipe prepared especially for them.
These clementines are that special recipe. They are preserved in a syrup made from honey, sugar and spices. This mixture cures the clementines, drawing water out of them and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. It also makes their rinds ultra-tender and their flesh silky soft. This way, you can eat the entire clementine, rind and all, for many months to come.
I like to make a big batch all at once and put them into different size jars to give as gifts. This recipe will yield: 3 quart jars and 3 pint jars.
These preserved clementines do not require heat processing to seal, but I do like to sterilize the jars before filling them. You do this by bringing the jars in a big pot of water to a boil and boiling for approx. 5-10 minutes turning with tongs ever so often. Carefully remove the jars with long tongs and let them dry upside down on a clean cloth.
- 8 cups honey (divided)
- 8 cups granulated sugar (divided)
- 40 whole cloves (divided)
- 16 green cardamom pods (divided)
- 8 (4-inch) cinnamon sticks (divided)
- 10 lbs. (approx. 50) firm clementines (I use cuties), cut horizontally into 1/2-inch-thick slices (cut off a little slice from the top and bottom before cutting into thick slices).
In two large heavy pots, bring 4 cups water, 4 cups honey, 4 cups sugar, 20 whole cloves, 8 cardamom pods, and 4 cinnamon stick in each pot to a boil over high heat.
Gently slip the clementines into the liquid without stirring. Return to a full boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and set aside overnight.
Spoon and gently pack the slices into the canning jars. Bring the syrup in the pots back to a boil over medium-high heat; boil 5-10 minutes to concentrate the flavors.
Pour the syrup over the slices to cover; discard any excess syrup (or you can save your syrup for other uses). Cool to room temperature. Put a lid on the jars and screw down tightly, refrigerate for at least 1 week before using. The clementines will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Before giving them as a gift, label and wrap. You might want to include a card with some creative ways to use them (see suggestions below).
There are so many culinary uses for these versatile preserves. You can chop them up and add them to frosting a cake, or even decorate with thin slices of the clementines. You can stir them into yogurt or rice pudding. Top your vanilla ice cream with some. YUM! You could even use in a stuffing for roast turkey, chicken or duck, stir into beef stew, add to lamb tagine or stuff into cored apples before baking. But the best way to eat these honey-preserved clementines is all alone with maybe a dollop of mascarpone or creme fraiche. Enjoy!