The last of the kumquats are disappearing off the shelves, which makes me really sad. I love the little guys, they’re like nature’s Sour Patch Kids (my favorite candy). Preserving them keeps them around all year long, though, and this kumquat and vanilla bean marmalade will allow you to enjoy them through the summer months.
In addition to their sweet/sour/bitter flavor combination, I love preserving kumquats because they’re one of the easiest citrus fruits to put up. Their skin is edible from the start, so they don’t require the same elaborate soaking and boiling ritual that oranges or lemons need.
If you’ll eat the marmalade within a few weeks, you can skip the processing part and just store it in the refrigerator. If you’re new to canning or need a refresher, check here.
- 24 kumquats (preferably organic)
- juice of 1 lemon
- juice of 1 Clementine or Mandarin orange
- beans from 1 vanilla bean, pod reserved for a separate use (add it to your vanilla bean sugar!)
- Wash the kumquats and gently scrub the outsides.
- This is the slightly painful part: cut of a small slice of the stem end and discard. Now you need to slice the kumquats into about 1/8 inch slices and remove the little seeds. Be very careful, the kumquats can get a bit slippery. Make sure you use a sharp knife, it will cut easier.
- Weigh the fruit. Measure out an an equal amount of sugar and set it aside. Measure out an equal amount of water.
- Place all of the ingredients in a medium-sized, non-reactive pan. Boil until the kumquat skins are only slightly chewy and the mixture reaches 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir constantly to prevent burning. If the mixture begins to get too thick during cooking, add a little bit of water. Continue cooking until the mixture is glossy and syrupy.
- Pour into canning jars. If you aren't going to consume the marmalade within a few weeks, process the jars in a water bath for 10 minutes.
- This recipe keeps the kumquat skins slightly chewy, which is how I think marmalade should be. But if you prefer a more tender skin (of if your kumquats have thick skins), then boil the fruit in the water for about 30 minutes before adding the sugar, fruit juices and vanilla bean.
P.S. Can we talk about how much I love this beautiful little tea cup? I really love little Japanese ceramic teacups, but I find anything that holds near-boiling liquid but doesn’t have a handle to be really impractical. I guess I need to start making pots of tea so I’m not pouring the incredibly hot water directly into the cup? Is that the secret?