This recipe is completely and entirely dedicated to everyone in my family over 50, namely my mum, dad and grandma, who love marmalade. Although I’ve recently discovered my 29 year old sister does, and always has loved marmalade too (of any sort). I had thought it was something your tastebuds had to grow into, being quite bitter. But apparently not! There are a select group of younger people who also seem to get around marmalade and bitter flavours. Alexandra – thinking of you here too ❤️
If you are a marmalade lover – and if it wasn’t clear, I’m very much not – then this kumquat recipe is a great way to spice up your bitter marmalade life. Or if, like me, if you have a bunch of kumquats at home and want to use them for something, this is also the ideal solution. It’s also a lovely thing to give away to people – particularly during this strange time (I write this in April 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic).
I grew up in a garden with kumquat trees, and so they remind me of home. They are native to south Asia and the Asia-Pacific regions and for anyone who has no idea what they hell I’m talking about, they are like very small, very bitter oranges. There isn’t much you can do with them as far as I know. Although my dad likes to pop a couple of whole kumquats gin or brandy. He pokes them with a fork and then leaves them to infuse them over a few months. As they are so small, they are difficult to to get much juice from and similarly very difficult to zest, so your options are limited. This kumquat marmalade recipe is adapted from Stephanie Alexander’s, the godmother of Australian cooking, recipe. The recipe is apparently the recipe her mum used to make. I am however very lazy and do not necessarily pull all the pips out of these tiny fruits and secure in a muslin bag. I tend to chop as many out as I can (get a good audiobook ready), although I have also just let them boil in the marmalade and then pull them out as it cools ever so slightly before I pour it into jars.
Sterilise your jars by running them all through the dishwasher before pouring the marmalade into them whilst they’re still hot (or alternatively soak them in VERY hot water). 10 cups of fruit / sugar made about 9 (various sized) jars.
Kumquats are in season in Victoria from November – March (early summary – early autumn).
- 1-2 kg cumquats
- Roughly equal amount of caster sugar
Cut the cumquats into quarters removing as many pips as you can. Place the fruit in a large bowl and barely cover with water. Let it sit overnight.
Measure out the fruit and liquid, counting how many cups it makes, into a large heavy based saucepan. Remove 1 cup of water / liquid. Bring to the boil and cook until the fruit is soft
Add the same number cups of sugar as there were fruit (e.g. if you removed 7 cups of fruit/liquid, then add 7 cups of caster sugar). Boil rapidly until it reaches setting stage – about 70 minutes.
Let it cool slightly and then remove any additional floating pips. Pour into pre-sterilised jars.