Every year, come August, I get a desire for a nice sweet cold tangerine. When we harvest them in December, they are fantastic right off the tree. (I don’t grow them, I help my wife’s uncle with the harvest.) Well, you aren’t going to get a really nice, fresh tangerine in the summer so I have the next best thing – tangerine liqueur.
We generally get a case of tangerines after harvest and often times can’t eat them all – since when they are right there in front of you the desire kind of goes away. Well after a number of years of throwing them away as they rot, I got to thinking about what I could do to use them up.
Jam is a pain in the ass, so I busted out the white liqueur and chose that method of preservation instead. In Japanese it’s called Mikan-Shu. (Pronounced me-can-shoe or something close.)
There are recipes all over the net and they all differ a little, but the gist of it is to make alternating layers of tangerine and white rock sugar in a jar of white liquor. They even sell white liquor in the grocery stores here just for the purpose of making different fruit liqueurs. (I’m sure most people know about Umeshu – Japanese Apricot or Plum Liqueur.) Some recipes call for a few slices of lemon. Others call for adding some peel just for the first week to 10 days. The amounts of sugar called for also vary. (I tend to make mine a little less sweet than most recipes call for.) It’s pretty hard to screw it up. You just let it sit for at least a month, remove the fruit (squeeze the juice out of it through some cheesecloth back into the jar) then serve over ice on a hot summer day.
Well this year I made up an early batch. Then some neighbors gave us a big bag of lemons, so I made up some lemon-shu as well. Can’t wait for the hot days of summer!!!