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If you've fallen in love with Korean food after Netflix's Squid Game, this green tangerine syrup is 1 of the easiest Korean home preservation projects you can try: it only needs 2 ingredients and is ready almost immediately!
It's been a while since my last post. I must confess that I feel less inclined to cook these days, as I no longer hold dinner parties. (The hot and humid Singapore weather doesn't help either- in case you didn't know, we're not meant to switch on the air conditioning when we cook, as the oil will collect inside the AC and it'll be bad for your health!) How about you guys, do you still bake and cook often? Anyway, when sogoodk sent me an email about their Korean green tangerine syrup kit (and when I received some lovely Instagram messages from readers!), I decided to get off my lazy ass and back into the kitchen. (This isn't a sponsored ad FYI! Also, in the end, I decided to buy just the green tangerines (sogoodk throws in the xylitol sugar for free) as it works out to be more economical than getting the kit.)
Why make your own tangerine syrup?
It's very simple to make your own Korean green tangerine syrup, or chung gyul cheong. Best of all, it only takes 1 week to mature, unlike with maesil-cheong (plum syrup), which takes 3 months. My maesil syrup has finally matured- I had the first sip the other day and it tasted great with cold sparkling water. My only complaint is how much syrup you need to make a good drink- that jar of plum syrup won't last very long at all! I'll definitely make a bigger batch next year.
PS Another fun and fast fermentation project for impatient people like myself is makgeolli!
As we all know, the simplest things can ironically be the hardest to do, so I've compiled some tips to help you with your Korean green tangerine syrup making!
1. If you have a large batch of tangerines, separate them into smaller quantities. It's hard to ensure the sugar and tangerines are properly mixed if the quantities are too big.
2. Sogoodk recommends discarding the ends as they are slightly bitter but since these precious green tangerines cost me $132, I decided to waste not, want not and tossed them into the jar too! So far, so good!
3. My sliced tangerines kept floating above the syrup- I was concerned that they would grow mold but they didn't. (Also checked with sogoodk who said they're still good to eat, so don't worry if this happens to you too. I shake my jars every day or so to make sure all the fruit gets some sugar covering it.)
4. Don't fill the jars to the top- this syrup produces gas like crazy! When I made maesil-chung, I wondered if any fermentation was happening as I could barely see any bubbles. Well, with the green tangerine syrup, the bubbles form almost immediately. I opened the jar an hour or so after I'd filled them up, and there was already so much gas, the syrup burst out! It makes for a very, very messy and sticky kitchen!
5. If you need glass jars, you can get them very cheaply from Ikea. I used the Korken glass jars from Ikea to store the syrup. Initially, I was a little concerned that the Korken glass jars would shatter if boiling water was poured into them (to sterilise them) (as they're so thin and cheap), but the IKEA website said that it would be OK as long as you warm the jars up first (Pour in hot but not boiling water to heat up the jars, before using boiling water to sterilise the jars.) Everything turned out OK, thankfully, but these jars are definitely much thinner than the one that sogoodk includes in its chung gyul set, which includes everything you need to make the syrup (1 kg tangerines, 1 kg sugar, label + glass jar for $80). As they say, you get what you pay for.
Note: the Korken jars are also not very airtight- as the jars were too tall to be stored upright in my fridge, I placed them horizontally and A LOT OF SYRUP LEAKED OUT!!!
PS fermentation experts- is this green tangerine syrup a ferment? I thought not as there is no starter, but so much gas was produced, I wondered if it worked like sourdough fermentation?
How to use chung gyul cheong (green tangerine syrup)
- Add sparkling water and ice for a refreshing drink on a hot day
- Add hot water to make a comforting tisane before you go to sleep
- Use in cocktails!
- Salad dressing
- Meat marinade
- Add to jellies!
Now you can drink your chung gyul cheong whilst you eat some Korean cold noodles (reviews of instant versions here) and watch some K-drama!
PS You can gift jars of this syrup to friends as well- I brought some to my Dentist friend's when I went over for dinner and she really liked them! If you don't have Jeju tangerines on hand (they're seasonal), here are some other food gift ideas for you (click here for vegan food gifts only)
Korean green tangerine syrup recipe (chung gyul cheong)
- Sterilised glass jars
- Sterilised wooden spoon
- Large pot or bowl
- Cutting board and knife
- 1 kg Korean green tangerines Korean tangerines have thinner skin- you're using the entire fruit here which is why these work best. Also, since you're eating the skin, try to get pesticide-free/ organic produce!
- 1 kg sugar My tangerines came with xylitol sugar but you can use regular sugar too. Basically the fruit and sugar are in a 1:1 ratio
- Sterilise the glass jars by pouring boiling water into them. You may want to prepare your glass jars by using hot (but not boiling) water first- this helps to prevent accidents in which the glass jars shatter! Dry the jars completely.
- Clean the green tangerines. I like to soak my fruits in baking soda for 5 minutes (to remove any pesticide residue) before rinsing, scrubbing with salt, and then rinsing well again. Remove any stems that may be on the fruit and dry the fruit well.
- Slice thinly and mix the fruits with ⅔ of the sugar in a large bowl.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, transfer to the sterilised glass jars before topping with the remaining ⅓ of the sugar.
- Leave at room temperature for a week before transferring the jar to the fridge. I open my jars every day to allow any gas out- you'd be surprised how quickly the syrup starts fizzing! Mine exploded (when I opened it- the jar was super full) after only a few hours!
- According to sogoodk, the syrup should last for 1 year if refrigerated. Use for drinks, salad dressing etc, making sure to scoop only with a wooden spoon.
Off to make myself a cup of tangerine hot tea before I go to sleep!
Hey! Thank you for sharing this. Going to try it sometime soon. Just have a doubt. Are we supposed to heat the tangerines after mixing with 2/3 of the sugar? If not, how much time did it take for the sugar to dissolve?
Hi Niranjana, thanks for stopping by! No, you do NOT heat the tangerines after mixing with sugar 🙂 It will dissolve slowly at room temperature. The amount of time taken depends on the room temperature as well as the size of the batch you're making. I live in the tropics and as I was making a big batch, it took almost an entire day to dissolve! For a better syrup, I would suggest making it in smaller batches of no more than 1kg sugar, so that you can ensure the sugar dissolves evenly. (Stirring will also help the sugar dissolve more quickly) Hope this helps!
I might try this with Tahitian limes. Also you might like to try oven sterilisation for your jars. Wash and rinse them then place the jars into a 110 (Celsius) oven for 15 minutes till they are nice and dry. I usually boils the lids in a saucepan for 5 mins or so. That way the jars are nice hot if your pouring boiling water into them or you can let them cool slightly if you putting other stuff in them.
Hi Kayt, sounds great! Ive never had a Tahitian lime before, let me know how it turns out! Thanks for the tip on oven sterilisation- I've not tried that method as it costs quite a bit to work the oven here but may pop the jars in the next time I'm dehydrating something! 🙂
Was a fun project for the weekend. Can't wait for next year to make more fruit syrup!