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Kumquat Marmalade

By Cheryl Forberg, RD

With the holidays almost here, I decided to start brainstorming what sort of edible gifts I will make this year. My husband has been making caramels for a decade, but I would like to try something new this season. We live way out in the country; I did not feel like going to the store to shop for ingredients. I looked in the fridge and lo and behold – kumquats and blood oranges (thanks @Melissa’s!)! Even though I have never made it before, marmalade came to mind since it’ll be a great add to holiday breakfasts, as well as a lovely holiday gift.

Full disclosure: Not only have I not made marmalade before; I also know very little about kumquats. So, guess what I am making? You guessed it – Kumquat Marmalade!

I was never a fan of marmalade growing up. Maybe that is because I’ve never tasted homemade marmalade before. While it is usually made with fresh citrus fruits, marmalade also contains a fair amount of not-so-sweet citrus zest (or peel), and we rarely ate anything bitter growing up. I was not a fan.

One of the first things I read about kumquats is that they have a very thin skin, which usually shortens the shelf life. But I also read that kumquat peel/zest/skin is actually the sweetest part of the fruit. Now this sounds like something I might like!

Since I am experimenting, I will not be making a large batch today, which allows me a lot of freedom. I am definitely not making buckets of jam to process in dozens of canning jars. Heck, I am not even going to add pectin. I am keeping this one simple which means there will be lots of ways to tweak it (my favorite thing to do).

Now that I have this recipe figured out, I have also tried it with other citrus fruit including blood oranges and grapefruit. (Blood Orange Marmalade is actually my favorite). The basic rule of thumb is equal parts (weights) of fruit and sugar. So, if you like things extra sweet, you might use a heavier hand. And if you are using sweeter citrus e.g. orange vs grapefruit, you may use less. In any case, I hope you give this a whirl and see how easy and delicious it is! On toast or a bagel, stirred in oatmeal or yogurt, or simply with a spoon.

Easy Kumquat Marmalade

Be sure the fruit is firm and unblemished. Rinse gently before using. And as is always true, the quality of your result is a function of the ingredients you use. Buy the best you can afford. And if for some reason your fresh fruit is not sweet and flavorful to begin with, wait for another day when the fruit is at its peak. I made the same recipe using blood oranges but reduced the sugar by half. Yield was 1½ cups.

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

Ingredients for Kumquat Marmalade

1 pound Melissa’s Kumquats
1 medium Melissa’s Meyer Lemon
2 cups Sugar

For the kumquats, take a thin slice off the top and bottom. And then slice the kumquat thinly (horizontally), in 4 – 6 slices. Remove any seeds and discard.

Instructions:

I found it easiest to prepare my fruit with a small serrated knife. For the kumquats, take a thin slice off the top and bottom. And then slice the kumquat thinly (horizontally), in 4 – 6 slices. Remove any seeds and discard. Roughly chop fruit and transfer to a small 1-quart saucepan.

Carefully remove all of zest/peel/skin from the lemon; chop zest and add to saucepan.

Carefully remove all of zest/peel/skin from the lemon; chop zest and add to saucepan. Carefully remove the pith from the lemon and separate each peeled segment, known as a supreme. Discard pith and any seeds. Chop the lemon and add to the pan. Add the sugar and stir well. Heat pan over medium high heat. When it comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and stir well. Continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly. If it starts to turn brown, it is time to stop. You do not want the sugar to caramelize (or you won’t fully taste the kumquat flavor). Remove heat and cool completely. Transfer to a pint size jar and refrigerate for up to a month.

Variations:

Add 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped Crystalized Ginger before cooking.

Add small splash vanilla, bourbon or rum, after cooking.
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