Kumquat Vanilla Marmalade

by autumn on April 14, 2011

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I am on at least one TSA watch list. Not the big, scary TSA watch list, but the handwritten one I imagine the folks at LaGuardia keep taped to the back of the x-ray machine. The one that has my name and in parenthesis “5 pints of kumquats?”

Since I’m gluten-free and can’t always have all the eating adventures I’d like when I travel to a new place, I end up exploring a lot of markets and grocery stores. After a recent visit to South Carolina, this meant that I came back to Queens on a marmalade mission with 5 pints of kumquats and 2 flats of pint jars in my suitcase. (Also: BBQ sauce, grits, cowpeas, fancy chocolate, and pickled garlic, but these have nothing to do with marmalade…)

I first heard of kumquat marmalade in Ashley’s Canning and Preserving book. With my love for all things uncomplicated, the idea of making marmalade with a cute little citrus whose peel you already eat really stuck with me. When it came time to make my own kumquat marmalade, I looked to White on Rice Couple (who looked to Blue Chair Fruit) for the fruit to water to sugar ratio and general guidance.

I mostly followed their directions, except I boiled the rind-soaking water with half of a scraped vanilla bean and let it steep before adding the rinds. I left the bean in overnight, removed it on the 2nd day and proceeded with the day two instructions over at White on Rice.

As for separating the fruit segments from the rinds, there’s no way I was going to do that. I took the lazy easy way out and halved the kumquats lengthwise then sliced them thinly across, as you can see above. The only thing that went into my cheesecloth packet were the seeds. My advice for this marmalade would be to aim for a slightly loose set. My first batch set quite firm and and my second batch looked too loose right after processing, but after a couple weeks it’s near perfect.

And because I didn’t feel like marmalade adequately showcased the cuteness of the kumquat, I made these:

Kumquat Jello shots in miniature teacups, of course.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Helen April 26, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Wow! I made kumquat marmalade the other day and boiled it WAY too long. It’s now a jar and a half of kumquat candy. The jello shots are too cute.


2 autumn April 26, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Thanks, Helen! I also found that the pectin in the kumquats was a little unpredictable. I ended up boiling for way less time than the original recipe called for.


3 Melanie April 27, 2011 at 1:41 am

I made regular kumquat and kumquat vanilla bean marmalade last year from my neighbors kumquats. She told me the other day that the vanilla version was her favorite. I got calamondins from a friend’s house (and a few off my small bush). Their marmalade is almost as good as kumquat and they are easier to deseed since they are juicier and the seeds are bigger. I got tired of slicing and ended up just tossing them in the food processor. Still tastes just as good.


4 autumn April 27, 2011 at 9:59 am

I love vanilla bean in pretty much anything, but I thought it went so well with kumquats. And I have to say, I am more than a little jealous of your generous neighbor with yummy citrus. I’ve hear about calamondins, but have never had the chance to try them. I would love to!


5 Melanie April 27, 2011 at 1:41 am

Oh, I forgot to mention I made a hot pepper version with kumquats and limes. Yummo.


6 Mindy September 5, 2011 at 6:56 pm

I’d love this recipe! I’m just really getting inot canning. I’v been overloaded with peppers and pears lately. I have a kumquat bush, but the things are loaded with seeds. I’ve been wanting to make marmalade with them since I planted the bush 3 years ago. Hopefully, this will be the year. I’ve been really enjoying plundering around your blog.


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