kumquat marmalade with star anise

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.

I love making jam.  My first ever blog post was a small batch 10 minutes apricot jam, and I repeated this recipe with strawberry jam on my first-year blogaversary.

*(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.

kumquat marmalade with star anise and cinnamon
sticky and gooey with a touch of spice
bottled for gifts and future baking




  1. Albie Bredenhann says:

    LOVE these Sam!! I better pull up my own socks as I’ve got some serious photographic competition now! 🙂

  2. Thanks Albie and thanks for all your tips, help and guidance 🙂

  3. Perfect for orange malva pudding ;)!!

  4. Wow, Sam – I made something similar recently, but did not post it!! Yours looks much nicer, however!! I love the styling!!

  5. Sam, your photo’s are stunning! The studio is working out 🙂

  6. Thanks Lolly pops, it sure is 🙂

  7. Sammy, those photo’s are MAGIC! Wow. 😉

  8. Oh Wow – this would be lovely with a glazed Christmas ham … I seem to have Christmas on my mind already!!!!

  9. I LOVE kumquat marmalade. I grew up with it and it’s still my very favourite ‘jam’. Looks spot-on – just like my moms.

  10. Thanks Bern, as a non marmalade fan I was quite blown away with this jam and had me reaching for the toaster to smear on bread. I cant wait to eat it on a toasted English muffin. Glad it sounds like your mom’s :-).

  11. Thanks Jan, and this reminds me that I have a gammon in the freezer for xmas in July. Think I’ll do it in Spring instead.

  12. Wow this looks so delicious and your pictures are absolutely beautiful! 🙂

  13. I also saw them at fruit and veg and had to buy them! Funny, I also made a marmalade… Having never tasted them before I was happily surprised. Your recipe sounds delicious!

  14. Thanks Robyn, Foodie minds think alike ;-). I actually find the taste more pleasant than orange marmalade.

  15. Total no-brainer! God Sam, your pics are so mouthwatering… I got to get me a decent camera…
    Robyn x

  16. Thanks so much Robyn, and yes a nice camera can help 🙂
    Sam x

  17. Thanks Mike, I have been so impressed by the number of men that make jam and bake. One of my guy Tweet friends made this recipe last week end and loved it. Enjoy!

  18. I’m making this jammin’ marmalade right.now!!!

  19. Lovely Elena, let me know what you think.

  20. I haven’t made this, but a friend of my daughter’s did and I was fortunate enough to share in the bounty. It’s delicious!
    I’ve had it on toast (and straight off the spoon) and am looking forward to having it on a toasted bagel with cream cheese. I’ll be making a batch myself, not even a question.

  21. Hi Mary that is so lovely to hear and glad you enjoyed it. I loved all the spices in that marmalade.

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