Kumquat Vanilla Marmaladefeatured

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

Yield: Makes one (1-pint) jar


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


  1. 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.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil over moderate heat. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add the vanilla bean seeds and pod to the kumquat mixture. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered about 45 minutes.
  3. 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.
  4. Ladle the hot marmalade into a sterilized jar, filling to within ¼ inch of the top, and seal with a sterilized lid.
  5. 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.


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.


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