I stood in front of the display of Satsuma tangerines at Whole Foods. I was not there to buy fruit. I had a list and a budget. I looked down at the tangerines. The display was artful and tantalizing. Lovely oranges, yellows and dark greens swam before my eyes. I mumbled to myself that I have to remember not to go to Whole Foods on an empty stomach. Of course I reached for a paper bag and starting filling it with these little beauties.
If you have not had the pleasure of tasting Satsuma Tangerines do yourself a favor and buy them today. They are available for a short time each year and then they are gone. You will have to wait for the next season and this is not advisable.
When I got home and sat down to peel the thin skin off of a Satsuma I took my time and enjoyed the process. It reminded me of my favorite author. MFK Fisher. Most of you hard-core foodies are familiar with Mary Francis. If you love food and life and the sensual pleasures found in food then pick up any of her books. The tangerine reminded me of her book Serve it Forth. In the essay Borderland she describes her secret love of dried tangerine segments. “My pleasure in them is subtle and voluptuous and quite inexplicable.” This line is Mary Francis at her best. Her erudite musings on food and life are beautiful to read. I lose myself in her books. I do not read them on the bus or at a crowded cafe but save them for a quiet place where I can stop and just stare off into space and think about what she has written. I am always inspired to cook and eat, usually with a few good friends after reading MFK Fisher.
I enjoyed my honey sweet tangerine and was pleased with my lack of self-control at Whole Foods. I had no regrets about not sticking to my budget.
You can cook with Satsuma tangerines but eat one fresh as well. Enjoy the perfume of sweet citrus and then experience the sweet juice as you bite into each little segment.
Jen Yu describes her first experience with Satsuma Tangerines in her stunningly beautiful blog Use Real Butter. Fall Fruit and Yogurt Salad.
You can add Satsuma tangerines to salads, make a fruit salsa for fish, bake a lovely tart or make a sweet and tart Satsuma marmalade.
Todays recipe is not a gourmet recipe. I wanted to make something for my 12-year-old son. He was getting over a cold and his throat was sore.
Jello! Always my favorite for soothing a sore throat when I had a cold as a kid. It is easy to make your own jello and the ingredient list does not contain words hard to pronounce.
My son and I read a box of Jello at the store. He was not enticed by the disodium phosphate or the adipic acid and fumeric acid.
We made our own jello with just a few more steps than the boxed kind and it was delicious. Little bits of Satsuma flesh dotted the jello and a bright citrus flavor dominated the taste instead of the usual cloying sweetness of packaged jello.
Top your jello with some fresh made real whipped cream or just eat it plain. This is not gourmet but a real treat.
Satsuma Tangerine Gelatin
You can substitute honey or agave nectar for sugar in this recipe but reduce water by 1/4 cup
I recommend honey since Satsuma tangerines have a honey note that is intensified with honey.
1/2 ounce or 2-1/4 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
2 1/2 cups cold water
1 cup fresh squeezed Satsuma tangerines
2 tangerines sliced into rounds
1 cup cane sugar, or to taste since this recipe is slightly sweet without added sugar
If substituting the sugar with honey or agave nectar remember to reduce water by 1/4 cup. Agave nectar gives this recipe a nice slightly brown color and rich molasses flavor.
Bloom the gelatin in 1/2 cup cold water in a large bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes and then stir.
Boil 2 cups of water with the tangerine slices and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add tangerine juice and pour hot mixture into cold water and gelatin mixture. Mix throughly and put in the refrigerator to set.
It should set up in about 2 hours. Leave the tangerine slices in the jello as it will increase flavor. You can remove them before serving but since Satsuma tangerines do not have a bitter pith then they are sweet and tasty when left in whole slices and eaten with the dessert.