29 June, 2011

Mandarin Madness......the tree that should be dead

I'm not sure what these scrummy winter fruits are called in America....I think it could be mandarin oranges but google in this case was NOT my best friend! Anyway, in Australia they are called "mandarins" and I have one lonely tree growing in my backyard and it is now winter which is when the fruit ripens. The tree has been there now for about 18 years and for the last 8 years it has been in about 1 foot square of soil and hemmed in by a pool fence, a small wall and the pool pump plus assorted pool toys that hide there when it gets windy which it was last week!

When we originally put the pool in and had it landscaped the landscaper was going to rip it out because he reckoned there was no way in the world it would survive but amazingly the tenacious little thing is still going (I wouldn't say strong, but still going) and we harvest multitudes of sweet, juicy, good sized mandarins every year. It never gets watered or sprayed or fed or cared for in any way EVER! Maybe I SHOULD love it more seeing I seriously love it's fruit but I get scared that if I actually did anything to it there is always the chance it might curl up and die on me.

Anyway, it is that time of year again and DH went out yesterday afternoon, in the rain, and decided it was time for the first picking. What to do with heaps of mandarins before they turn in to compost in the house and start attracting fruit flies I hear you ask??

Marmalade is a quite usual thing to do with mandarins and cakes and desserts of different varieties are also fairly usual but one thing I did last year (and plan to do again this year) is mandarin jelly because it is so easy and the kids love it!

BUT don't do what I did with my first batch last year and wait till the mandarins have annoyed you so much, and everyone has eaten their fill, that you have to do SOMETHING with them and accidentally add the juice of an off, putrid, sour, stinky mandarin.....your jelly will taste disgusting!

So here is the recipe using fresh, sweet smelling, yummy mandarins!

Mandarin Jelly
500ml mandarin juice
2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
1 tablespoon powdered gelatine

heat the mandarin juice and sugar on the stove till the sugar has dissolved
dissolve the gelatine in the hot liquid
whack it in the fridge to set (after you put it in a bowl of course!)

How easy is that??? If you want "adult" jelly try substituting some of the mandarin juice (about 75ml or to taste) with an orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier.


  1. Hehehe - that icky manadrin certainly made for some icky jelly! :D

  2. That was truly rubbish bin worthy!

  3. I'm seriously jealous of your mandarin success. I've put heaps of effort into my poor little one, and it's trying to die!

  4. Believe me it was NOTHING I did that has made this tree survive! Maybe they really like being ignored? lol

  5. And 500m2 I went and read your blog...........poor little "sulking" tree! Very unbecoming in a tree indeed!! I killed a dwarf meyer lemon in much the same way your dwarf imperial mandarin is dying. I think I loved it to death.

  6. I never knew that making mandarin jelly was so easy :) Thank yo Jenny.. I do love the new look of your blog by the way. What a talented daughter you are, Kylie :)

  7. Kylie is very talented indeed.........and yes Susan,actually any jelly is really easy! Makes me wonder why I have bought jelly packets for so many years.