A specific type of orange was developed here in Innoshima – the hassaku. It is generally larger than a navel orange and has a bitter initial taste that I would describe as a cross between an orange and a grapefruit, with the inner fruit tasting mildly sweet. I love them. They are now my favourite fruit and I wish I had access to them before! Below is a picture of a bag of hassakus, with two natsumikans (summer oranges) in front of them. Natsumikans are HUGE, like a large grapefruit. They have a very thick rind and pale orange, nearly yellow flesh. The bananas are for size reference…
After falling in love with hassakus and later on being able to afford bread as a splurge, I decided that a major splurge was in order – marmalade. Not just any marmalade would do – I had seen miniscule jars of hassaku marmalade and got it into my pretty little head (okay, debatable adjectives) that I was going to find a decent size jar of hassaku marmalade. So I did…and it cost me the equivalent of about $10 Canadian…Ouch.
It was really good, but I being the strange person that I am prefer a more bitter marmalade. So although my love affair with fresh hassakus remains extremely passionate, it does not extend to the jammy side of things.
How ironic it was then, this morning, when an extremely kind older lady presented me with a jar of homemade marmalade! If that’s not a spectacular thing to happen right at the start of one’s day, I don’t know what is.
I can’t tell you how it compares to my hassaku marmalade, because I won’t open it until the other jar is nearly finished. Fridge space is limited in my little apartment size fridge and I won’t sacrifice it for the sake of a marmalade review!
*N.B. This is in reference to the phrase “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” from Robert Burns’ actual phrase “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft agley,” The point being that to me, oranges are mere mice compared to hassakus (The joke being that my best-laid scheme to produce a pun based on that line went completely awry by the necessity of explaining it…).