08 May 2014

Kumquat Marmalade - And Marmalade Tips

Kumquat Marmalade

Here I am with Kumquat Marmalade. I know, I know, when I posted my Tangerine Marmalade in March, I said that was going to be my final post about marmalade until next winter. But then I came into some kumquats ...

Homemade marmalade is so much better than store-bought that if you've only ever had store-bought and think you don't like marmalade, you need to try homemade. It will be a revelation! That said, I'm not going to lie to you -- cutting the peel into fairly fine shreds can be fiddly work. 

The Truth About Marmalade 

A friend brought me two pounds of organic kumquats. That's a lot of kumquats. And I usually use two pounds of fruit in a batch of marmalade. But, like I said, that's a lot of kumquats. So I decided to make just a small batch. Did I mention, one pound of kumquats is a lot of kumquats? 

Mind you, I'm not so speedy with a knife that I'm going to be posting videos of my slicing and dicing on YouTube or anything; but I do have fairly decent knife skills and good, sharp knives. And it took me nearly an hour. But don't let that scare you off. If you've never made kumquat marmalade before, you need to make this! 

Marmalade Tips 

Always use organic citrus when making marmalade. There's no peeling away the pesticides, dyes and waxes because you're using the peel. Marmalade is all about the peel! And wash the fruit well, even if it's organic or homegrown.

So many marmalade recipes give inadequate or unclear directions. If you're new to marmalade-making, I think you will find the directions I give here very thorough. If something is unclear, do let me know so that I can fix it. 

As with any marmalade, use a sharp knife. I used my Wusthof Classic 3.5-Inch Paring Knife 4066/9cm and found it to be the perfect knife for finely slicing kumquats. Someday I'm going to experiment with chopping the kumquats in the food processor, but then that will be jam, not marmalade. I do so love the lovely shreds suspended in marmalade.


Kumquat Marmalade

Small-Batch Kumquat Marmalade (water-bath canned)

(Makes 3 half-pint jars)

1 pound (450 grams) organic kumquats
1 3- to 4-ounce (85 to 113 grams) organic Meyer lemon
1 quart (1 liter) water
1 pound (2 1/4 cups / 450 grams) sugar 

1 Scrub the fruit well. Line a 1-quart bowl with a couple layers of cheesecloth (muslin, for those in the UK). Cut a piece of kitchen string about a foot long. Cut a thin slice off each end of the kumquats, then cut them in half lengthwise; remove seeds and any bits of dry pith and save them in the cheesecloth-lined bowl. Slice kumquats crosswise as thinly as possible and put them into your jam kettle (the Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 2-Quart or 3.5-Quart Round French Oven is perfect for this). Cut the lemon in 1/4-inch-thick round slices and put them in the bowl. Tie up the cheesecloth with kitchen string; put it in the jam kettle and tie one end of string to pan handle. 

2 Add water to the fruit in your jam pan. Bring to a full boil. Boil, uncovered, for 7 minutes; no need to stir. Remove from heat, cover and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Refrigerate for 8 hours or for a day or two. 

3 When ready to make the marmalade, get your jars ready. Get out canner (or large pot deep enough that water will be 1 to 2 inches above the tops of the jars), two kitchen towels, 2-cup glass measure, thermometer, jar lifter, tongs, half-pint jars, new lids (never reuse lids), bands. 

4 Put a folded kitchen towel in the bottom of the large pot (unless, of course, you have a canner with a rack). Fill 2/3 full of water and begin heating the water. Heat extra water in a teakettle or saucepan. Submerge clean jars and new lids in the hot, but not boiling, water. They'll be hot in about 10 minutes, but just keep them below simmering until ready to use.

Marmalade Tips

5 Start heating fruit mixture over medium-high heat. Before it gets too hot to handle, remove the cheesecloth bag to a clean bowl; squeeze the juice into the bowl and remove any seeds that might have escaped from the bag. Pour the juice into the jam kettle; discard the bag. Continue heating and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and boil very gently, loosely covered, for 25 minutes, or until peel is very tender; no need to stir. Add the sugar to the jam kettle and stir until it is dissolved.

6 Bring mixture to a full rolling boil (big bubbles all over the pan that cannot be stirred down). Keep it boiling hard, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or until it registers 220 degrees, stirring occasionally. When done*, remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes (keeps the peel evenly distributed in the jars).

Note: *Doneness can be difficult to determine. There are several tests recommended by various experts. I've tried them all, and they don't work for me. In my experience, they all result in overcooked marmalade. I cook it until it's 220 degrees and "looks right." If the marmalade has thickened and darkened a bit and it's 220 degrees, hold it at 220 degrees for one minute, then have the courage of your convictions and take it off the heat. After you've made it a few times, you'll get a feel for it.

Marmalade will continue to thicken in the jars, taking as long as two weeks to set completely.

7 Do one jar at a time. With tongs, remove a jar and lid from the water. Ladle the marmalade into a spouted 1-quart glass measure; then pour the hot marmalade into the hot jar, leaving 1/4-inch headroom. Stick a knife or something (I use a chopstick) into the filled jar right next to the glass in about 4 places to release any air bubbles. Check the headspace measurement again and add more marmalade if needed. Wipe off the top of the jar with a damp towel, carefully place the lid and screw the band on "finger tight" (firmly, yes, but don't crank it down). Repeat for all the jars. Put the water back on the heat.

8 Return filled jars to the water bath, adding enough hot water to have water 1 to 2 inches above the tops of the jars. Jars must be upright and not touching. Heat to a gentle boil, covered, and set timer for 10 minutes. Adjust the heat to keep the water at a simmer. After 10 minutes, move the pot off the heat and take off the lid. Let the jars sit in the water for 15 minutes. If you're not using a rack with handles in your "canner" and don't have a jar lifter, just ladle out some of the water so you can lift the jars out with an oven mitt. Remove the jars and set them on a kitchen towel on the counter.

The lids will make a popping sound when they seal, so just count the pops as the jars start cooling. Leave them undisturbed for 24 hours (don't tighten the bands or press the lid to check the seal). Then, if you lost count of the pops, check the seals by pressing on the center of the lids; they should be a bit concave and not move. Properly sealed jars are ready to be stored in the cupboard. Any jars that did not seal should be stored in the refrigerator.

Note: Of course, it's nearly time to start thinking about Strawberry Freezer Jam and, in a few short months after that, Peach Freezer Jam.



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18 comments:

Cranberry Morning said...

That looks just delicious, Jean! This morning my husb. brought up a jar of my homemade peach jam and put it on an English muffin. I don't usually eat bread, but I had to have a bite of that. It was wonderful! I'll have to try kumquat sometime.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Judy! You'll love it. It is sooo good, if I do say so myself. My new favorite marmalade. In August, I'll be making peach jam. Love that, too.

Joanne Young said...

Lookin' good, Jean! Especially, that CLEAN stove!
As you know, I will try this (hopefully soon).

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Joanne! Wish my stove looked like that today, but I just did some frying! :D You're going to love the marmalade.

Angie Schneider said...

I love love kumquats..they have a very different aroma and taste than other citrus fruits. I wish I could taste your marmalade, Jean. Looks so GOOD!

Joanne Wilson said...

I like the sound of this, I suspect the kumquats are far easier to get hold of than Seville oranges! I will be looking forward to your peach jam recipe in a few months, my little peach tree is looking very fruitful.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Angie. Yes, kumquats are unique. I love them on salads, too.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Joanne, thank you. Yes, they are much easier to get than Seville oranges! And, of all the various citrus combinations I've used, the kumquat marmalade somehow comes closest to the Seville orange marmalade.

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

MARMALADE!...even the sound of the word works for me. Pure poetry. And you are spot on, Jeani, it’s all about the peel. Peel appeal and pealing the peel. Those little bits of texture in the mellow-sweet glurp work. Now we get to kumquats. Uh-oh. Not in my database of lovelies. But that’s something I would try based on your recommendation and mutual love of other kinds of marmalade. Rally the battle cry! “Mar-ma-lade!”

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thank you, Sully! I'm sure you will like kumquats. In fact, they're a good little snack just eaten out of hand. Tart on the inside, sweet on the outside - a little taste explosion in your mouth!

Sue/the view from great island said...

Living in Los Angeles I can't believe I've never used kumquats, I see them everywhere! I guess I've never known what to do with them, and this marmalade sounds like the perfect solution.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Sue! I hope you will give it a try and let me know how it turns out for you!

Karen S Booth said...

I ADORE kumquats and marmalade, so this is a recipe for me, and I have bookmarked it to make when kumquats come my way! Karen

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Karen, thank you soooo much! In the hands of a marmalade master such as yourself, it's sure to be outstanding.

Sippity Sup said...

I can see why you might need both a a tangerine and a kumquat marmalade recipe. I imagine the sugar would need adjusting etc. GREG

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

That's it, Greg, and I think people who haven't made it before need to see just how to cut the different fruits.

Charles said...

Blast - I missed my chance. I think they had a great big shelf of kumquats at my local store a few months ago, and now they're nowhere to be seen. I've never really used kumquats at all in cooking or baking, so I'll save this recipe for the next time they're available. Quite excited to try it - it sounds lovely!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Charles, thank you! I *know* you're going to like it! And, of course, I'm going to want to hear how it turned out for you.

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