Kumquat Vanilla Marmalade

Monday, March 30, 2009
Kumquat Vanilla Marmalade

Kumquat Vanilla Marmalade

Back in January, I brought home my very own little kumquat tree to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Our happy lucky kumquat tree

Our happy lucky kumquat tree

It flourished and was happy, and bore much fruit! Eaten as they were, they proved to be too tart to really enjoy, so I decided to try my hand at some homemade marmalade.

I researched a few recipes, and they were all pretty similar and simple too. All it took was a little pre-planning since the fruit had to soak overnight in water to soften up the rind.

Thinly sliced kumquat soaking in water

Thinly sliced kumquat soaking in water

Here’s a question for you. For some reason, every recipe I read called for soaking the seeds in a cheesecloth bag along with the fruit. Can anyone tell me why this is necessary? As far as I can tell, it wouldn’t provide any extra flavor…do the seeds have some sort of magical stabilizing attribute necessary for successful marmalade making?

In any case, I was amazed at how simple the process is for making marmalade. Really, you only need 3 main ingredients – your citrus fruit of choice, water, and sugar – and you’ll have yourself a jar of homemade marmalade in no time!

I decided last minute to add a little sumthin sumthin to my recipe. Vanilla bean. I had been saving this splurge purchase for a special occasion, and knew this was her moment to shine. I made the slit along the bean, greedily scraped out every precious seed, and inhaled the sensuous perfume released into the air. As I stirred it into the amber liquid, I savored the little dark flecks that appeared everywhere.

Now that I know how easy it is to make marmalade, I can’t wait to start experimenting with other flavors. Some Meyer lemon marmalade for your morning scone? Or perhaps some blood orange marmalade to spice up that margarita? The possibilities are endless :)

Kumquat Vanilla Marmalade
2 cups thinly sliced kumquats (roughly ½ pound whole kumquats)
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean

Halve the kumquats and remove the seeds. Tie seeds in a cheesecloth bag. Thinly slice the kumquat halves into slivers. Combine with the bag of seeds and water in a non-reactive container and let stand, covered, at room temperature for 24 hours.

Bring the mixture to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered about 45 minutes.

Stir in sugar and boil over moderate heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming off any foam, until a teaspoon of the mixture dropped on a cold plate gels.

Ladle the hot marmalade into a sterilized jar, filling to within ¼ inch of the top, and seal with a sterilized lid.

To preserve with an airtight seal, put the jar in a deep pot. Add enough hot water to cover the far by 1 inch and bring to a boil. Boil the jar, covered, for 5 minutes and carefully transfer with tongs to a rack. Cool completely.

Makes one (1-pint) jar.

Notes on Sterilizing Jars for Preserving from Gourmet Magazine
Wash jars in hot suds and rinse in hot water. Put jars in a water-bath canner or on a rack set in a deep pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil and boil jars, covered, 15 minutes from time steam emerges from pot. Turn off heat and add lids. Let jars and lids stand in hot water 10 minutes.

Lift 1 jar from hot water with tongs and fill without drying. Lift both sections of 1 lid from hot water and screw on jar without drying. Repeat procedure for remaining jars and lids.

Print Recipe

42 Responses to “Kumquat Vanilla Marmalade”

  1. How neat that you have your own kumquat tree! A homemade marmalade sounds really wonderful and vanilla is a great addition!

  2. Bob says:

    I’ve never had kumquat. One more thing on the list of things to try. That marmalade looks wicked good, now that I know it’s so easy I might just make some myself. ;)

  3. Kaethe says:

    Hi Steph! A canning tip learned from my mom – she and I prefer to use the inversion method for sealing jars (I think it’s easier!). Basically, you still boil the empty canning jars (and threads/lids). When jam/marmalade/jelly mixture is ready, remove a jar from boiling water, fill with j/m/j, immediately cover with lid, screw threads as tight as you can (since the jar is really hot). Then place jar bottom-side-up on a cooling rack. After 5-10 mins of cooling, turn jar right-side-up; the tight seal should be formed! (Once jar is completely cool, you can usually tighten the lid a little more.)

  4. Kelly says:

    I’m jealous that you have your own Kumquat tree. That must be amazing. The resulting marmalade also sounds delicious. I find that vanilla beans make anything extra special.

  5. Wow, that’s so impressive.

  6. Peko P says:

    This is AMAZING — with vanilla is a wonderful and novel touch. Here in Kyoto, I just made Yuzu Liqueur and after I fished the yuzu peels and flesh out of the shochu, I made some wicked marmalade and candied peel. I had been thinking that I wanted to try kumquat marmalade before they go out of season. I think that I will try this. Thanks!


  7. anna says:

    Ooh, that looks good! I love kumquats – I have a ton of them in the fridge right now. I’ve made meyer lemon vanilla bean marmalade before and it’s incredibly good. I also have some blood orange marmalade – it’s intense but it’s delicious. I eat it in plain yogurt sometimes since it’s pretty loose.

  8. Marci says:

    The marmalade looks wonderful! I’ve made meyer lemon marmalade that also required using the seeds. I asked an avid canner why this would be..she said the seed offer pectin, allowing the marmalade to set up.

  9. Daily Spud says:

    I’ve made my own jam but not marmalade, though I’ll get to it eventually – and clearly, if it’s that simple, I really have no excuse not to!

    btw regarding the pips, they supply pectin which helps the marmalade to set – so says my preserving handbook…

  10. Robin says:

    The seeds are soaked in the marmalade because they contain the highest concentration of pectin in the fruit. Pectin is the part of the fruit that causes the gel of any preserve you make. It is like gelling insurance for your marmalade to add the seeds, as marmalade is notorious for taking a long time to set you want all the pectin you can get.

    The inversion method mentioned above does not give as strong a seal and does not sterilize the product for long term storage. That marmalade looks wonderful. Makes me want to go in the kitchen and can instead of pack to go away.


  11. Luisa says:

    I believe the seeds in the bag provide needed pectin. I made Meyer Lemon marmalade and it was bitter. My recipe also had the 24 hour soak. The recipe used the whole lemons. Next time I will peel off the zest, chop and just use that & the juice. Including the pith made it so bitter that I really did not like it.

    • Stephanie says:

      you know, with the fresh strawberries i’ve been seeing pop up at the farmer’s market i’ve just been thinking about a meyer lemon strawberry preserve — maybe the strawberries would help sweeten it up?

  12. Jen says:

    You should keep the seeds for a boost of natural pectin so that the marmalade is more likely to set up well. Also the inversion method is not recommended as a method of sealing. You should use water bath, any thing other than water bath and pressure do not guarantee the removal of bacteria. But you should invert your jar for a while after the water bath process so the rind is distributed through out the jar.

  13. Jenny Wren says:

    :) The seeds provide pectin so it gels! I am going to try your recipe tomorrow :)

  14. [...] sweet, although the flesh can be mouth-puckeringly tart. I solved this problem last year by making Kumquat Vanilla Marmalade from my happy little kumquat [...]

  15. [...] sweet, although the flesh can be mouth-puckeringly tart. I solved this problem last year by making Kumquat Vanilla Marmalade from my happy little kumquat [...]

  16. [...] Kumquat Vanilla Marmalade Kumquat Vanilla Marmalade[/caption] Back in January,… [...]

  17. I love, love, love this recipe. I’ve wondered what to do with kumquats all my life. My backyard neighbor’s tree would shed its fruits over our wall. The dogs would chew on them and then let the things drop from their mouths. We humans pretty much followed suit.

    Did I mention that I love this recipe?

    • Stephanie says:

      Haha thanks, Michael! I love this recipe too. It is just perfect with some toasted bread and soft cheese. Could eat the stuff forever. And much tastier I presume than regurgitating it.

  18. Love the kumquats too! makes great chutney as well.

  19. [...] Kumquat Vanilla Marmalade: I was amazed at how simple the process is for making marmalade. Really, you only need 3 main ingredients – your citrus fruit of choice, water, and sugar – and you’ll have yourself a jar of homemade marmalade in no time! Recipe found at Lick My Spoon. [...]

  20. Pam S. says:

    When is the bag of seeds removed in the process..before adding sugar and cooking?

  21. Sandi says:

    The seeds are a natural source of pectin!  :) That’s why they’re added, but then removed.  So you can extract that awesome thickening power without having to bite down into a seed.  

  22. [...] you fancy the food but not the bill, then I found a recipe for Kumquat Vanilla marmalade on Lick My Spoon, which would make a great treat and change to the usual raspberry or strawberry. And if you want [...]

  23. sivan says:

    the seeds have pectin which is a natural thickener (i think).
    i hav a Komquat tree and know I’m going to make this recepie.

  24. Rose says:

    You guard that vanilla bean, but you really don’t have to.  Look on Amazon for them, amazing price!  You do have to buy quite a few, but get some friends to go in with you.

  25. Laurel says:

    Can this recipe be doubled? I usually like to make more than one jar of jam when going to the effort. Thanks!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Laurel, sure thing!

    • Roberta says:

      I made two dozen jars last year, also a dozen jars of kumquat relish with raisines and spices. It was really handy to garnish meat and a treat in sandwiches with ham. This year,s fruit is a really good crop, taken from 3 kumquat trees. I like ginger and would like to make this years marmalade varied to include a ginger and vanilla batch as well as the natural flavoured batch, has anyone got a recipe for both. Last year i used a setting mixture rather than mess about with the seeds. This was quick and highly successful..it was purchased at IGA. I would like to heat up the relish with some chilli has anyone got a nice recipe. It would be a lovely addition in a cheese platter with cracker biscuits. I usually buy quince jelly..but variety is special when you have visitors and they get some to take home for xmas. 

      One of my Kumquat trees has very sweet fruit and I like to refresh myself eating them while iam out picking them.

  26. [...] Kumquat Vanilla Marmalade [...]

  27. […] just hit me that I missed yuzu season, but kumquats are back and I reckon I should make a little marmalade this weekend, inspired by the cocktails at Midi, where they use house-made blood orange marmalade […]

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