Since I can’t grasp the concept of moderation, I turned 4.5 pounds of Kumquats into 2 gallons of marmalade this weekend.
Glad I mentioned this plan a couple weeks ago, because Sunday, the SF Chronicle ran an article called Spirits: Bartenders find new ways to sweeten the deal on the nontraditional sweeteners local bartenders are concocting, and even mentioned the blood orange marmalade used at Midi, which inspired this project.
[Feel free to skip down to the recipe if you don’t care about the process] The first batch was 2 pounds of fruit (arduously seeded by hand), 8 cups of water and 8 cups of sugar. Chopping the fruit in my Cuisinart, I discovering that the blades did little damage to the seeds I missed, which mostly floated to the surface while soaking, so the second batch was tossed into the food processor whole and seeds were skimmed off the next day. It cut prep time by more than half.
The chopped fruit is soaked in water overnight to soften the skins and to release the natural gelling agents (pectin) from the seeds, which makes your marmalade set up, or else you would be left with fruity simple syrup.
I mixed Thai basil into one batch and tarragon into the other. Both added a delightful kick and complexity to the marmalade, but didn’t overpower or remove any toast-topper potential.
Kumquat Marmalade Recipe:
- 2.5 pounds kumquats, washed and stemmed
- 1/2 gallon water (8 cups)
- 4 pounds sugar (about 9 cups)
- Optional fresh Thai basil or fresh tarragon, finely chopped
- Pulse kumquats in food processor until finely chopped
- Soak fruit in water for 24 hours, then skim and discard seeds
- In a large saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour
- Stir in sugar gradually and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently and skimming off foam and errant seeds
- Add optional herbs to taste to the hot marmalade
- Follow proper canning procedure if you intend to save for more than a couple weeks