Wednesday, December 4, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Treats Day 3: Mulled Orange Juice

     When my brother and I were growing up, we didn't have much in the way of family nearby.  Our Grandparents lived 300 miles away.   Our closest Uncle was nearly 600.  We had a few third cousins around but they were usually busy with their own Uncles and Grandparents during the holidays.  This meant my Mom was free to set up any darn traditions she wanted.  And she was good at it.  To add humidity to the air and make the house smell lovely in the weeks preceding Christmas, Mom would simmer oranges, cinnamon, and cloves on the stove. We also made pomanders on occasion.  Yesterday, I mentioned our yearly Christmas Eve ritual. 

      I have also told the story of sitting with my Mom on Christmas Day waiting for the rest of the family to wake up, savoring the last predawn moments watching the tree, listening to Christmas music, and drinking a warm drink. Mom used to heat up a bunch of different juices. We had warm cranberry juice, warm grape juice, hot apple juice (of course), but her favorite to make around Christmas time was mulled orange juice.

     Mulled Orange Juice uses the same spices as her simmer fragrance and smells just like Christmas to me. Mom made hers with ground spices in the microwave using “a little of this, a little of that” but the ground spices always ended up sinking leaving a spice sludge at the bottom. This way, you get the flavor without the ick.

Crackers on the Couch 12 Days of Christmas Treats Day 3: Mulled Orange Juice

Christmas Mulled Orange Juice
Serves 4 (scales easily, can be made individually in the microwave also)

5 C orange juice
1 tsp whole cloves
2 sticks cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Boil orange juice, cloves, and cinnamon for about 5 minutes until it takes on the flavor of the spices. Fish the cloves and cinnamon out with a slotted spoon or pour though a strainer. Portion into serving mugs and top with a smidge of nutmeg.

I have discovered that using high pulp orange juice clogs the strainer; a low or no pulp juice is really the way to go with this.

Shapow!! Bonus Craft!
Crackers on the Couch 12 Days of Christmas Treats Day 3: Orange and Clove Pomanders

  1. Tie ribbon around orange like wrapping a package
  2. Use a toothpick to make a pilot hole
  3. Poke a clove into it
  4. Repeat 3 and 4 until you have the pattern you like
  5. Allow to air dry, checking for mold
These will keep for a long time if properly dried. Buy cloves in bulk if you can find them, they can get pricy paying baking isle prices!  This is a great craft for little guys.  Mine had fun making patterns and faces and since we used tangerines, we got some coverage before their attention span wore out.

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