Winter is a living thing in New England, especially this year. When it weeps, freezing rain or snow (usually snow) tumbles into every last corner of these hills. When the season takes a sigh, almost as exhausted with itself as we are, windows and walls rattle from the gusty wind. But when she beams, as winter is most definitely a she, the clouds scurry and the sun warms our chapped grins. Our lips hurt but we smile anyway, right?
There are a few ways I know that New Englanders are in the midst of winter, meaning: we’ve all cheerfully resolved to live through the duration of this six month long situation. First, we accept that it will snow and it’s no big deal. Sprinkle another 4 inches or pour on another foot. We have this white splendor thing down.
I also love when everyone notes how pleasant the temperature is when it hits a balmy 20 degrees. In those moments, we’re giving genuine thanks that it’s 20 degrees and not zero. We take to the streets in sunglasses, rejoicing.
I know winter has settled in for real when my perennially-filled vessel of clementines tires even me. We keep them around for a quick dose of vitamin C, immune-boosting power and a sweet pick-me-up sometime between lunch and dinner. But when I’ve stared at the same vessel, refilled instinctively with every market trip, for months on end, I’m so over it all — the season and the fruit.
The clementine is actually innocent. Its only crime is that it blesses us with citrus-y abundance during this coldest of seasons; this particular one is perhaps the coldest and snowiest season of my lifetime. It’s not your fault, my darling clementine. It’s just that right about now, I’m so over winter and your association with her. I want to find ways to put you up, put you away, perhaps for some other season when I’ll yearn for snowier times. Perhaps I’m looking for a way to urge spring to get here already.
It’s in these times that I tumble my darling clementines into boiling vats of sugar syrup and wish them well until we meet again, which will be at least within a year, because that’s how long these candied gems are shelf stable. But if I’m being honest, you know they won’t last that long. They get spread on top of cakes, smeared into butter on toast, and shaken into vodka cocktails with lots of ice. They’re even perfect as a stand-in for pineapple on top of that Easter ham.
Use a very sharp knife to slice the clementines and aim to get them as thin as possible. Put a few of these processed jars in your pantry. But make sure to gift them all winter long. They make the prettiest gifts, with a super bright color that warms up the chilliest folks.
Adapted from Saveur
Adapted from Saveur
Makes: 8 to 9 half-pint jars
Ingredients:For the clementines
- 4 cups (2 pounds) granulated sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 vanilla beans, split length-wise
- 4 pounds clementines, sliced thinly
- Bring sugar, water and vanilla bean halves to a boil in a low shallow pan over medium-high heat. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium.
- Add the clementine slices and cook, stirring occasionally, until the clementines are super soft and sticky, about 25 minutes. Remove the vanilla beans and carefully ladle the candied clementines into cleaned half-pint jars. Wipe the rims and seal.
- Store, as is, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. If canning, process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes and store in your pantry for up to 1 year.
- Washi tape
- Pinking shears, optional
- Cut lengths of tape long enough to stick from one side of the jar over the lid down the other side. Lightly stick them to a table; write the label across the tape.
- With pinking shears, trim a bit of the end off of each piece of tape. Apply to the jar, taking care to press the tape into each nook.
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