You might have noticed I’m obsessed with Honeybells. I’ve fallen hard for their clever marketing ploys, but I don’t care. I love them.
Florida citrus growers must have had an adman the likes of Don Draper working on the Honeybell campaign, bestowing the fruit with that lovely name, a nod to their bell shape and sweet flavor. It was meant to appeal to folks outside the Sunshine State, but I know I’m not the only Floridian who looks forward to them every winter.
Now I know damn well these are just tangelos, and that’s what I should call them. Minneolas are tangelos, too, and they’re equally juicy, easy to peel, and have the same vibrant flavor with very few seeds. But the words Minneola and tangelo don’t have the same allure as Honeybell.
Besides the pretty name, the campaign hits us with the scarcity principle, constantly reminding us this fruit will only be available in January and February. Get them now, before they’re gone! And it’s true, over the years I’m hard-pressed to find them come March. Sometimes I wonder if they’re holding back on us, filling warehouses with fruit for some black market. How could the season possibly be that short? That is not the normal. I’ll think about that while I eat another Honeybell.
This year I decided to get one over on them, and by them I mean those crafty, Honeybell-hiding citrus barons. I’m making my own Honeybell jelly so I can taste them all year long. I use fresh hibiscus because it enhances the citrus flavor and I like that punch of color. You can use fresh or dried flowers (and good old Red Zinger tea works, too).Starting today, this jelly is the centerpiece of Saturday morning breakfasts. Just add carbs: croissants, bagels, toast, muffins…. Or stir it into yogurt. Whatever floats your boat.I can’t wait to open a jar right in the middle of summer. Here it is, the secret to Honeybells all year, but unless you know where they hide them, you’ve only got a few more weeks to make it:
- 4 cups fresh Honeybell (tangelo) juice
- petals from 6 hibiscus flowers or 1/4 cup dried flowers
- 2 teaspoons calcium water*
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2 cups sugar or 1 cup honey
- 4 teaspoons Pomona's pectin*
- Add the juice and hibiscus petals into a saucepan. Add calcium water and lemon juice, mix well.
- Combine the sugar and pectin in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- Bring the juice mixture to a boil. Stir in the sugar/pectin mixture until it dissolves and continue stirring, allowing the mixture to return to a boil. Remove it from the heat.
- Refrigerate the jam and use it within a few weeks, or follow directions for water bath canning (link below the recipe) to preserve it for up to a year.
- *I use Pomona's pectin and the calcium it comes with because unlike other types of pectin, you can use any sweetener you like and adjust it to your taste (you'll find a link for it below).
- If you use another type of pectin, consult the directions for juice/ sugar/ lemon/ pectin ratios.
- The hibiscus flowers will work just fine in any recipe.