Author Notes: I believe citruses are perfect winter food, be it clementines,mandarins or oranges. Last year, we indulged in some Clementine curd and red-wine poached kumquats. This year, the kumquats play centre stage in a recipe where I employed the services of my blender for many reasons – it is done in a snap and helps concentrate the flavours by making every part of the fruit contribute. I particularly adore this Kumquat marmalade for its finely hacked citrus bits. —Kitchen Butterfly
Makes: a portion of jam
1/2 – 1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely minced/grated ginger
2 cups water
Crushed seeds of 4-6 cardamom pods
- In a spice/coffee grinder, blend the cardamom seeds with some sugar, to crush the seeds and maximise the flavour extracted.
- Wash the kumquats and remove the stalk/stalk bed. Slice the kumquats in half length-ways then separate the skin from the central fruit flesh and seeds being careful not to discard anything of the membrane and seeds – set them aside in a small bowl as they’re pectin-rich, perfect for providing a great set.
- Put the kumquat skins and the water in a large non-reactive bowl. Then put the membrane and seeds in a cheesecloth spice bag or in a makeshift cheesecloth bag – add to the skins in water. Cover and let stand for about 12 hours or overnight.
- After the ‘rest’, gently squeeze the cheesecloth into the bowl with the skins and water, to release the translucent, thick pectin-rich juices. Repeat the squeeze until most of the juices have been extracted, then discard the membrane and seeds.
- Put the kumquat mixture in a blender or food processor and pulse a few times, till the skin is chopped up and you get a cloudy, orange mixture.
- Pour the fruit mixture into a heavy-bottomed, medium sized saucepan and add the cardamom sugar and the ginger, stirring to dissolve it.
- Bring to a boil on high heat, 1 – 2 minutes and then turn down heat to a simmer to prevent excessive caramelisation and preserve the colour. Allow it to simmer, checking for ‘readiness’ by visual inspection – skim off any foam, and gently stir occasionally. From the world of jam gelling, it is ready when the temperatures reach about 100 degrees C (or 215-220 degrees F) and a teaspoon of mixture dropped onto a cold plate gels.
- Remove the pan from the heat once it has set and let stand for about 5 minutes. Then use as you want or can, according to your favourite canning recipe.
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