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bowl of lemons

I’m rewatching Grey’s Anatomy at the moment. I’m to the part where everyone, including Callie, knows that George slept with Izzie. George and Izzie don’t know yet that they are totally not supposed to be together, and Meredith and Derek still haven’t figured out that they ARE supposed to be together. In the meantime, we’re still a whole season away from Tumor-Izzie and Dead Dennie, and George won’t die for a couple more years. 

Don’t worry, I’m also reading.

bowl of sliced lemons

But Grey’s is like my comfort food. I’m so attached to these doctors, their silly sex lives, and their interesting cases. D hates it; he’s super fond of exclaiming, “These people need to stop with the sex and do their damn jobs!” But then we’d just be watching regular medicine, no melodrama whatsoever, and who wants to see that?

Not. Me.

Anyway, that’s all beside the point. The point is that, like Grey’s, candied citrus is becoming my comfort food. It’s super easy and non-threatening (great for a first attempt at preserves, actually), and it’s completely delicious. I ate my candied clementines straight out of the jar for weeks, and I can’t wait to dive into these candied Meyer lemons. They’re a little more tart than the clementines, but still with that delicious, sweet, vaguely vanilla-y taste. And they look so impressive and fancy in the jar, despite the purely minimal amount of effort required from you.

jars of candied meyer lemons

Candied Meyer Lemons
Adapted from Food in Jars, via Saveur
Makes about 8 8-ounce jars

You will need:
3 lbs. Meyer lemons, sliced (remove pits as you go)
2 c. water
4 c. granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean

Prepare your jars for canning: sterilize the jars and rings, and simmer the lids in a small pot of water. Also prepare your canning pot by bringing a lot of water to boil.

Combine sugar, water, and vanilla bean in a large pot and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Add lemon slices and cook about 15 minutes, until lemons are softened.

Divide lemons up among your jars to within 1/2″ of the top of the jar. Wipe the lips of the jars, and add lids and rings. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner. Let sit overnight, without disturbing. Any jars that don’t seal, refrigerate immediately and use those first.

punkdomestics

This is the first year that I’m being hard-core about homemade gifts.

collection of jars

I’m totally going to toot my own horn right now: I’ve eaten enough of my own canned goods to know that they’re pretty tasty. There are some talented canning bloggers out there who have yet to steer me wrong. I’ve also not hospitalized anyone, and the few “test” jars I’ve given to friends and family have received great reviews, so I’m going bigger. Almost everyone who receives a gift from me this year will receive at least one jar of something I’ve canned this year.

Like so many other bloggers, including Ring Finger Tan Line, who gave me a box of her goodies a couple weeks ago, I’m sending boxes of goodies to college buddies and family members. Those lucky people will get an assortment of sweet and spicy roasted almonds, jams, pickled peppers, and candied clementines.

pickled pepper close-up

I haven’t published posts about everything I’ve canned this year, but here is a round-up of the various jars my friends and family will be receiving, just in case you’re wondering which recipes I wound up deeming “gift-worthy.” Enjoy!

As you can see, things are pretty heavy on the peach-strawberry side this year. I may try to get in a batch of something with apple or pear before the weekend, to mix things up a bit, but it’s also nice to have the taste of summer when it’s cold outside. (If you’re not in Austin, that is.)

jar labels

Now, let’s talk about packaging. I went pretty simple with my jars this year. I tried the whole “fabric under the ring” thing, but it just isn’t me. Instead, I got craft paper gift tags, plus a stamp, from a  craft store, and stamped each label with the “Homemade for the Holidays” stamp. On the back of the tag, I either signed my name or suggested ways to use this particular preserve. Then, I tied a bow around the ring with raffia and attached the gift tag. For the lids, I wasn’t a fan of my Sharpie scrawl on metal, so I cut out circles out of craft paper (tedious, but pretty) and used adhesive spray to attach the paper to the lid. Then, I labeled the jar with the  contents and the month/ year I packed the jar.

Maybe next year I’ll get even braver and there will be a Christmas giveaway!

bowl of clementines

These clementines might be my favorite thing I’ve canned. They’re easy, quick, seasonal, sweet with enough bitterness to be fun, and so pretty in a jar. When I first saw the recipe on Saveur, I knew I had to make them immediately, but then I got cold feet. What would people do with a jar of candied citrus? All manner of things, my wandering mind discovered.

Since they’re delicious, peel and all, you can use them to garnish cocktails, serve them alongside hot chocolate, dip them in chocolate, mince them and fold them into scones or mix them into icings, layer them on top of a cake, or just snack on them. Which is what I’ll probably do with most of mine. I think they’d also be nice served in a spicy Christmas ale.

candied clementines in jars

Making them makes your house smell wonderful, too. The sliced clementines on the counter and the vanilla-infused syrup heating on the stove made my apartment smell like Christmas. Since it was 80 degrees in Austin that day, I’d have taken any tiny bit of Christmas spirit I could get. As citrus season is upon us, I’d like to try candying other sweet/sour fruits: Meyer lemons, key limes, tangerines. If you try another fruit, let me know how it goes!

The night I made them, I had about a pint of the sugar syrup left over, and it was so infused with the vanilla and citrus that I just ate half of it with a spoon, and then dreamed of all the wonderful things I could do with it. As I ate too many clementines right out of the jar, I thought of the following things to do with the leftover syrup:

  • Use it in mulled wine.
  • Make a lemon-rosemary cake, and soak it in the syrup.
  • Use it in mojitos.
  • Add powdered sugar to make a glaze for sugar cookies.
  • Drink it. Straight up.

You might not have the leftover syrup that I had, but I sincerely hope you do, because it inspired me in a way that a leftover ingredient never has before.

clementine jar labels

Candied Clementines
Adapted from Food in Jars, via Saveur
Note: Marisa says she got a total of 64 ounces of candied clementines (8 8-oz. jars). I did 16-oz. jars, but only got 2 (32 ounces). Your mileage may vary.

You will need:
3 lbs. clementines, sliced (I discarded the ends.)
2 c. water
4 c. granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, halved

Prepare your jars for canning: sterilize the jars and rings, and simmer the lids in a small pot of water. Also prepare your canning pot by bringing a lot of water to boil.

Combine sugar, water, and vanilla bean in a large pot and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Add clementine slices and cook about 15 minutes, until clementines are softened.

Divide clementines up among your jars– I used tongs to fill each jar with clementine slices, then poured the sugar syrup over the slices until the jars were full to within 1/2″ of the top of the jar. Wipe the lips of the jars, and add lids and rings. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner. Let sit overnight, without disturbing. Any jars that don’t seal, refrigerate immediately and use those first.

clementines and jars

For a great canning primer, see the Food in Jars Canning 101 posts.

Candied Clementines on Punk Domestics
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