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: