Tangerine Syrup

I recently ordered a 25lb box of tangerines from a farm just south of San Antonio. I anticipate Austin’s local citrus options all year long, and now winter has descended upon us in her chilly cloak. The Christmas tree is up and I’m working my way through these jewels, eating one for every one I juice or chop up for marmalade. Don’t forget to enjoy as much as you can fresh!

This syrup makes a fine and very versatile holiday gift for any household. (This syrup would also do your larder well stashed in the back for a dreary February day, an instant burst of sunshine.)

Tangerine Syrup

yields 9 half-pint jars

adapted from Linda Ziedrich’s lime syrup in The Joy of Jams, Jellies & Other Sweet Preserves

1. Place 9 half-pint jars in your canner pot and bring to a boil. Combine the following in a heavy-bottomed, wider surface area pot and melt sugar granules over low heat:

  • 6 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • zest strips of 2 lemons (using a potato peeler)

Raise heat to med-low and bring syrup to a boil, then reduce heat to just high enough to maintain a simmer; simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from scorching. Syrup will become glassy and the bubbles will be about the size of dimes (or slightly smaller), spaced throughout the pot.

2. Juice ~3lbs tangerines to produce ~3 cups tangerine juice. Up the tangerines to 4 or 5lbs (yielding 4-5 cups juice) if you’d like a slightly less sweet, more zingy syrup. 

3. Add between 3-5 cups strained tangerine juice to the reduced syrup and bring the mixture back to a boil. Remove pot from heat. Warm lids in a saucepan, bringing them to a simmer and removing from heat.

4. Place fine mesh strainer over your canning funnel, and ladle syrup into warm jars. Wipe rims clean of any syrup spills, use two-piece lids and process in waterbath for 10 min.

Once sealed and stored, the tangerine juice will create a film and settle toward the top so give the jar a gentle shake before use to redistribute the mixture.

Not-canned variation: Reduce recipe volume by half and use 2 pint jars, storing them in the fridge, where syrup will keep for about 3 months. Alternately, make the whole recipe and divvy it up amongst 9 half-pints or other decorative syrup pouring vessels and give to local friends as gifts as you would a sealed jar (with a note that it must be refrigerated).

Now, what to do with it, suggestions of what to put on the gift tag.

Here’s a running list of the great things you can do with syrup (failed jelly or intentionally made syrup):

  • Fun cocktails or mixed with club soda for fabulous, additive-free sodas
  • Added to hot chocolate, hot toddys, hot tea, hot anything
  • Sprucing up ice cream and sorbet recipes, or poured directly over ice cream
  • Granita additions
  • Use as part of the sugar/liquid portion of granola recipes
  • Pancakes, muffins, breads (sub syrup for sugar and some liquid content)
  • Add vinegar and spices to make a marinade
  • Reader idea: glaze tarts or meats
  • Reader idea: delicious dipping sauce for Chinese dumplings
  • Reader idea: Added to milk and plain yogurt to make summertime frozen yogurt
  • Reader idea: Spread on whole wheat bread dough, roll it up, and bake
  • Reader idea: Marmalade Quick Bread or Muffins (works with any jam/jelly, set or not
  • Reader idea: Mix with other fruit for interesting tart fillings
  • Reader idea: Turn plain oatmeal into fruity-good oatmeal
  • Reader idea: Spiced tangerine syrup with rum!

If you have ideas for creative syrup uses, add a comment below and I’ll add it to the list here!

Check out these other syrups for fridge storage:

Orange cardamom syrup, scroll down through the citrus-copia of fun winter citrus ideas for a link to Addie’s simple syrups methods

Parsley simple syrup

Basil simple syrup (you could do this same process for mint simple syrup, too)

(I’m not sold yet on my apple and pear syrups recipes, so I’ll have to work on them again next season. Sorry!)