I’ve never met Ella. She is an in-law of my in-laws. Does that make her an outlaw?
Regardless, she is the sweetest person, and she made it known on Facebook that she was in possession of a bodacious amount of kumquats at her home in Florida, just hanging on the tree waiting to drop off and rot. So, social media being what it is, we made a pact for her to send citrus from Florida to Washington so that I could make some yummy marmalade . . . and I did.
Kumquats are a weird and wonderful kind of citrus. They are small—about grape sized. The ones Ella sent me were gonad sized fruits. Humongous. The rind is sweeter than the pulp. In fact, the pulp is downright sour, and the seeds are really sour. Recipes I found recommended using the pulp and seeds (encased in netting) to infuse the marmalade so as to create natural pectin. (Since issuing this post, a reader reminded me that there are also sweet kumquats–Meiwa variety. The tart variety used here–Nagami–is more often found. To learn more about kumquats, see this helpful site.)
What I ought to disclose now—before you get too far down this road: This is a multi-day process to make kumquat marmalade. Don’t get into this unless you have two days to devote.
This makes a tart marmalade. If you want it sweeter, add more sugar. After much internet searching, recollections of botched kumquat experiences, and trial and error, I ended with this process: Cut off the stem end—be brutal. Quarter the fruit. Pull the segment off the peel.
Put pulp/segment into the reserve bowl. Put the pulp into a net bag or cheesecloth. Tie off. Put into a bowl to catch juice. This will make your pectin/thickening.
Put peel into the keeper bowl. Slice the peel into strip. Weigh the peels. Add the same weight of sugar to the peels.
For these big kumquats, I quartered them. For smaller ones, you can cut in half and turn inside out. (The pulp and seeds make pectin. Save them so you don’t buy manufactured pectin.)
Resting: stir peels and sugar. Let set overnight. Set pulp aside in separate bowl.
The next day, put the peel/sugar mixture into a big pot. Start to cook.
Add any juice from the pulp/segment net bag collected overnight.Place the net bag (still enclosed) with pulp and seeds into the bubbling peel broth. Simmer for about 30 minutes, then squeeze and remove the bag. Simmer peel mix until it shows shimmering on cold plate. Est. 30-60 minutes. Test for pectin by dropping juice on a cold plate. If it globs, then it is ready. Put into sterilized pint canning jars and process in water bath for 12 minutes (at sea level). We are at 2,500 altitude, so I processed mine for 15 minutes (1 minute extra for every 1,000 ft above sea level).
Yummilicous marmalade all finished and ready for toast!
Wow! What fantastic marmalade. And just to show you how awesome I am, here’s a picture of me and Flavor-Flav getting our timers out to make sure the marmalade is cooked just right!
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This recipe sounds great for tart kumquats. But did you know that there’s also a sweet kumquat. Here in New Orleans, we grow both kinds – Meiwa, the sweet one, and Nagami that’s tart. My own tree is a sweet kumquat, with both the peel & the flesh sweet. When I make marmalade with it, I always have to include some lemon, also from my own tree, to make it tart enough. Now that it’s the beginning of June, my kumquat tree just finished it’s flowering and itty, bitty fruit are starting to appear.
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Jo-Ann, yes that is right. Thank you for the reminder. The sweet ones are like candy, and you can pop them into your mouth–peel and all. I will make sure to add this clarification.