A pot of marmalade bubbles away on the stove filling the apartment with a bright tangy smell this morning. We spent Saturday helping prepare this year's eggplant field for planting later this month, and one of our take-home prizes was a big bag of mikan. (As was a lovely bamboo shoot, a.k.a. takenoko.) Big, bright, and round these are some of the last ones for the year. They made a lovely marmalade last year that we savored on fresh bread and in cups of tea.
Growing just behind the farmhouse the mikan is one of an assortment of trees, shrubs, and plants that could still feed an extended family year round. The farmstead inventory includes (but is probably not limited to) two kinds of kaki (persimmon), a kinkan bush (tiny, tiny edible orange eaten whole), yuzu and ume (plum) trees, at least one green tea bush with ginger (myoga) at its feet, a healthy stand of bamboo, a few wild vegetables such as fukinoto and warabi, and green and red shiso sprouting just about everywhere imaginable. Chestnut (kuri) and gingko orchards round the edges of the fields, and provide a little something extra for the larder.
The recipe is, as she states on her blog, more of a formula than a recipe. I like it because it's flexible and easy on the sugar. Well, and because it makes a super-tasty marmalade, of course! Perfect work for a wet Spring morning.