Japanese Fruit: Aomikan Marmalade

Aomikan is a green tangerine that are available in Japan from around the end of August though September. There are simply tangerines that have been harvested a few weeks early. They are tart and tangy. I love peeling them, surprisingly the green peel gives way to juicy orange fruit. Aomikan are one of my two favorite citrus for eating and this year I made marmalade with them!

Aomikan (Green Tangerine) Marmalade 青みかんマーマレード

The Taste of Green Tangerines

Aomikan, or ‘green tangerine’ mark the beginning of autumn. They are more sour than sweet and make a wonderfully refreshing snack in the still hot late afternoons and early evenings of this season.

The early autumn aomikan has a delightful, berry-like ‘tingle on the tongue’ tartness to it, similar to the sensation of a perfectly fresh strawberry.

In this season though, mikan are not quite ripe, but that makes them all the more tasty! Aomikan is one of Peko’s favorite fruit of all time. Aomikan only stay ‘ao’, green naturally for a short time, so this is the time to enjoy them!

source: KyotoFoodie End of Summer Aomikan article

Aomikan – Green Tangerines
Aomikan Marmalade 青みかんマーマレード
Aren’t these absolutely gorgeous?

I love aomikan! Last year I tried to make aomikanshu liqueur (like umeshu, yuzushu, karinshu), but it didn’t turn out very well. I think that I didn’t add enough sugar and I bought cheap aomikan that weren’t very juicy. Since early this year I have made a lot of marmalade with Japanese citrus, like this yuzu marmalade, and had been looking forward to aomikan season so that I could make some aomikan marmalade.

Slicing Aomikan
Aomikan Marmalade 青みかんマーマレード

Sliced Aomikan
Aomikan Marmalade 青みかんマーマレード

Ready to Simmer – Aomikan and Sugar in the Pot
Aomikan Marmalade 青みかんマーマレード

How I Made It
I followed this quick and simple recipe by a Japanese foodie blogger that called for the entire mikan tangerine being used, as is. I was a little disappointed with the result. The marmalade looks pleasantly creamy, but that is the pith, I think. The pith really needs to be removed and the peel needs to be boiled at least once to remove the bitterness. I don’t think that there is a quick and easy way to make excellent marmalade.

I used 10 large, beautiful, juicy aomikan.

Tangerine Marmalade Recipe

  • 5 aomikan (substitute ripe mikan tangerine)
  • 100 g sugar
  • 500 ml water

Scrub tangerines with brush and slice thinly as seen in photos. Simmer sliced tangerines in water for 1 hour and then add sugar and simmer for another 1 hour.

How I Would Make it Next Time
Start with 20 aomikan or ripe tangerines.

Wash the whole aomikan with a scrub brush. Miwa found information in the internet saying to wipe the peel with a towel soaked in shochu (substitute vodka or similar alcohol) to remove wax and (some) chemicals.

Peel aomikan and scrap the inside of the peel with a knife or spoon to remove the pith (see this yuzushu article for photos).

Hand-chop or mix tangerine flesh in blender and squeeze through course woven cloth. You want to separate the juice from the pith and fiber.

Select about half the aomikan peel and boil for 5 minutes and strain. Repeat this process 1 to 3 times, with new boiling water each time. (Thick peel citrus requires a good deal of boiling, aomikan peel is quite thin and delicate so I think that once ought to be sufficient to take the bitter edge off.) You can make candied peel with the remaining peel.

Mix juice, sugar and peel with 500 ml to 1 l of water and simmer for 1 to 2 hours.

Normally, I wouldn’t use white processed sugar, but I wanted to try to bring out the freshness and tartness of the aomikan without complicating the taste with brown or black sugar. Wasanbon sugar, though expensive, could be incredible combination with properly prepared aomikan.

Aomikan Marmalade Served
Aomikan Marmalade 青みかんマーマレード

I am enjoying this marmalade on my bread in the morning and have done a taste test with other marmalade that I made this year and this really is quite bitter. Too bad. Once again, the easy way turned out not to be the best way. By the way, there is no ‘quick and easy’ way in Kyoto cuisine.

Fruit Store in Shopping Arcade
Aomikan Marmalade 青みかんマーマレード
This is the shop where I bought the aomikan. They have some cheap ones out front, but I went in and dug around and found some big, juicy aomikans. They were well worth the extra few hundred yen that they cost. This little old guy that works at the fruit shop is so old that he can’t stand-up straight! I bet he knows everything there is to know about fruit by now.

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15 Responses to “Japanese Fruit: Aomikan Marmalade”

  1. kat says:

    mmm that look really good, I’ve been enjoying these squeezed for our morning juice!

  2. Katerina says:

    Wow! They are so beautiful!!! Never seen them before!!! Thanks!!!

  3. Corie L Stern says:

    Love marmalade and would love to try this version! Best Wishes, Corie

  4. Holly says:

    What a coincidence, I ran across this haiku by Basho just last night:
    departing autumn
    all the more hopeful
    a green orange

  5. Peko Peko says:

    Hi kat, お久しぶりです! You are juicing aomikan? Nice! Very 贅沢!

    Hello Katerina, Yes, they are really beautiful, aren’t they.

    Hello Corie, Thanks for the best wishes!

    Hello Holly, Wow, that is the first quotation of poetry we have had on KyotoFoodie comments, I think. And Basho, no less?!? Perfect, thank you!

  6. ABowlOfMush says:

    Those tangerines are so beautiful! I’ve never ever seen green ones before, I would just think they were limes!

  7. Peko Peko says:

    Hello ABowlOfMush, Quite a handle you’ve got there! I checked your blog and I really like the Chai Spiced Pumpkin Bread recipe.

    Yes, aomikan do look a whole lot like limes. Also, in this season, domestically produced lemons are in season and they are green too! I haven’t had one yet though.

  8. What a beautiful looking fruit and to think that they only harvested it a few weeks early for that lovely colors. I have not seem them here in SF, but then I did not know to look, but now! Thanks for the fun read.

  9. Peko Peko says:

    Hello OysterCulture, Yeah, this is one of those things that we could easily have in the US. It is just a matter of harvesting the fruit a bit early. The colors are indeed gorgeous and the taste delightfully tart! Try contacting some producers and grocery stores over there and tell them about aomikan!

  10. Kathryn Hill says:

    I cannot find an email address for you on your site, so I hope that you see this. I am a blogger for a food blog called The Kitchn (www.thekitchn.com) and I am working on a post about all the different kinds of Japanese citrus fruits. May I use the photo of aomikan that you took here? I need a size that is 540 pixels wide. Please email me and let me know.


  11. Peko Peko says:

    Hello Kathryn Hill, Ah, OK, sure. If you would kindly credit us and links to this here site, sure. These images files are actually 580 px wide. Thanks for the interest!

  12. Archer says:

    Does anyone recommend plant nurseries which sell heirloom fruit trees and other kitchen garden plant species?


  13. diva says:

    wow i love the colour contrasts of the flesh of the fruit with its skin. beautiful. liking the new layout for the blog peko peko. it’s lovely! x

  14. Homer Tsinnie says:

    Thanks for sharing this helpful info!

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