I spotted the kumquats at Food Lovers Market and at R10 (around a dollar) a bag it was a no brainer. I have never made anything with kumquats so I felt inspired to get up close and personal with this fairly unusual fruit.
Jam was the obvious choice, and having recently made oranges preserved in brandy with star anise and cinnamon and simply loving the flavour, I thought to carry these spices into the jam, but a little more subtly.
*(a little sidebar titbit of info) – In deciding whether to call this a jam or a marmalade, I did a little research to discover the difference between the two:
Jams and marmalades are similar to each other in that they are both fruit preserves and the processes used to produce them is basically the same.
Jam – the whole fruit and fruit juice is used
Marmalade – the fruit, the pulp and the juice is used, but pertains only to citrus fruit
Jelly (USA) – is a jam made from the juice of a particular fruit
Thus a marmalade can be a jam, but a jam cant be a marmalade and a jelly can be neither.
This is an incredibly easy and straightforward recipe. There is a short period of slightly tedious labour in the pip removing stage, but the smell of the cinnamon and anise wafting through your home whilst its bubbling away on the stove makes this all worthwhile.
What you need to make this (double up if you want a bigger batch)
- 500 – 600 gms fresh kumquats (ripe)
- 500gms sugar
- 500ml water
- 3 – 4 star anise cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
How to make this:
- prick the kumquats in a few places with a toothpick
- bring a pot of water to the boil and then add the whole kumquats and simmer for 15 minutes
- drain and allow to cool a little (in order to handle them)
- pierce the top of each kumquat with a sharp pairing knife and squeeze out the pip. I found the smaller ones had one pip, whereas the bigger ones had a few, so suggest cutting in half and removing the pips whilst trying to retain as much of the fruity flesh as possible
- At this point decide if you want a fine cut marmalade or a chunky one. If you want it fine (I think this is preferable), finely slices each kumquat (pips removed), otherwise leave it chunky
- dissolve the sugar and water in a pot and bring this to the boil
- add the chopped up fruit with the star anise and the cinnamon and boil vigorously for a few minutes and then turn it down to a slow boil (lid off) and simmer for 45 minutes (you can pretty much just leave it)
- by this time the sauce would have become thick and slightly caramelised
- at the same time boil the storage jars in a large pot of water – remove and drain
- scoop the hot jam/ marmalade into the jars and seal
- pop the sealed jars back into the boiling water for 10 minutes (this gets rid of any bacteria etc)
- remove from the pot, drain and allow to cool
I loved the flavour of this marmalade and that it generated a lot of soft jelly jam from the flesh, which offset the stronger skin bits.