I like canned mandarins. If you notice, most of them are made in China and shipped here. I don't know about you, but I prefer not to buy food from China if at all possible. I don't have a mandarin tree (aka tangerine) but we do have a heavily producing orange tree. The neighbor has mandarins so I am going to try this recipe out using their fruit at some point. Normally we consume the oranges we grow by either slicing them or cutting them up and putting them into the blender with other fruit and ice cubes. Many mornings our breakfast drink consists of two or three different kinds of fruit or canned juices blended with the ice cubes. It's delicious.
OK back to the mandarins. Since I won't buy them from the store there must be another way to get little tangerine pieces into a can or jar. Oh yeah, how about canning them just like I can any other fruit? It's really that easy but I didn't think about it until just this year. So now I'll share the secret recipe.
I don't use mandarins, I use oranges. Take your oranges. Peel them. Take off all the white stringy parts. They will become bitter during canning. Put the slices in your canning jars. Cover with either boiling water or syrup. I like a light syrup of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. You can make them as sweet as you want going all the way to 1 to 1 if you wanted. Or you could just cover them with boiling water. Put the lids on and hot water bath between 15 and 30 minutes, depending on the size of the jars. That's all there is to it.
But I'm lazy at times when it comes to canning. Or rather, I don't really care what the food looks like so it doesn't matter if the slices are perfect or if you just cut the orange into slices. I did both. Both taste the same. One looks nice and one doesn't. I suppose it depends on what you are going to do with them to depend on whether you take the time to individually peel or do as I do. I cut the orange in half. Then I go around the sides cutting off the peel. The I slice off the top. There's half an orange in very little time. And because you are cutting away the peel you don't have to worry about any of the little white strings.
I then put the orange chunks into the jars. Pack them in but don't smash them down. Fill the oranges to about 1/2 inch from the top. Fill with the liquid to 1/2 to 1/4 inch. Seal. Water Bath. See how simple it is? Each of the small cans costs about a dollar. If you get the oranges for free then it only costs for the lid and a few cents for the sugar. You can save so much money. Even if you had to buy the jars and the oranges, the first time you used those jars you'd break even. Every year after that would be huge money savers.
Now for our breakfast for tomorrow. Mandarin Soup, or in this case, Orange Soup.
1 pint canned oranges
water (the liquid from the oranges plus the water to equal 1 1/2 cups liquid total)
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons potato starch or cornstarch
3 tablespoons Tang or other breakfast drink. I wonder if the lemonade tang would taste good? Or strawberry?
3 whole cloves
2 more cups of water
3 tablespoons lime juice (if you have it, otherwise orange juice)
Drain the juice from your canned pint. Add water to that juice to make 1 1/2 cups of liquid. Combine this liquid with the sugar, starch, and tang. Stir until blended. Add the cloves. Heat this mixture up over a medium heat until it thickens. Whisk in the rest additional water. Heat to a simmer. Take out the cloves (they were to add taste but you don't want to leave them in) then stir in the orange pieces and the lime juice. That's all there is too it. We like this cold rather than hot so I made it tonight and we will eat it for breakfast.
It's an easy recipe and it can all come from your food storage and fresh fruit.