In California many locales associate themselves with a particular produce item, resulting in growers, farm tours, festivals, etc, all celebrating that particular fruit or vegetable. Gilroy has it’s garlic, Camino has it’s apples and Placer county has mandarin oranges.
The first mandarin orange trees were planted in Placer County in the 1880’s when Welsh settlers established the town of Penryn. Today over 30 mandarin growers throughout Placer County make up the Mountain Mandarin Growers’ Association. From Auburn to Loomis, Lincoln to Newcastle, the warm days and cool nights make this area a perfect place to grow this sweet, seedless, popular fruit. I live in Placer county again and this is my second year enjoying the locally grown mandarins.
With my mandarins ready go, I was inspired to make marmalade. I love sesame bagels with cream cheese and orange marmalade. Butter and marmalade on hot biscuits is also delicious. One of my favorite treats is usually only available when I am staying at a hotel. I love Continental breakfast, especially when they serve croissants, butter, and orange marmalade. Maybe it’s the hot coffee in cups with saucers and starched white napkins that make it taste so much better than it does at home. I turned to the internet in my search for a recipe for mandarin orange marmalade and again inspiration came to me in the form of the blog A Table for Two. Blogger, chef, and food photographer Billy Law’s beautiful site has recipes, travel and food posts and wonderful photos. It was this post with it’s gorgeous photos and story that inspired me to give mandarin marmalade a try.
I followed the recipe as it was written on A Table for Two with a couple of exceptions. Our locally grown Satsuma Mandarins are seedless so I didn’t add the cooking pouch with the seeds and pith. Also, after an hour of boiling I added an envelope of liquid pectin because it didn’t seem to be jelling. It is still thin in the jars today, but I am hoping with time it will jell more. I actually like it a bit thinner for spreading anyway.
Hopefully I will be back with more mandarin recipes before the season ends. I have my eye on a recipe for mandarin bread.
Embrace the local produce of your region. For me, it added to the sense of coming home again to Placer County.