Kumquat Marmalade and Kumquat Spoon Fruit

kumquat marmalade

960_GKES_preserveKumquat marmalade is terrific with toast in the morning. But kumquat spoon fruit is a specialty of Greece. When I asked Neni how the kumquats—which are preserved whole in simple syrup, are served, she said on a spoon, with a glass of water. I couldn’t believe it, and then I heard form Megan, who is shooting pictures for this blog, that she’s had spoon fruit served the same way in Greece. Neni also serves the fruit on top of a small dollop of Greek yogurt, for desert, although it seems to me perfect to consume after making love or taking a nap.


kumquat-marm-and-spoonKumquat Marmalade

Makes 4 half-pints

This marmalade needs to rest over night, but it sets very quickly.

1 large lemon
1 lb kumquats, washed and thinly sliced horizontally
2 cups water
4 cups sugar

  • Remove the zest from the lemon and julienne. Remove the fruit. If the peels were very thick, you will have a thick pith leftover (the white layer between the yellow zest and the yellow fruit. You can save this: it makes a fabulous lemon spoon fruit, prepared the same way as the kumquats below.
  • Pour the kumquats, lemon zest and water in a pot and bring to a boil over a high heat. Boil for about 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and let it come down to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight.
  • In a large wide heavy bottomed pot add the pulp, the rinds and their cooking water, and the sugar. The marmalade will thicken quicker in a wide pot than a deep one. Be sure the pot is not filled more than halfway, to lessen the opportunity of a messy foam-up. Bring the marmalade to a boil over a high heat, then turn the heat down to medium and boil the marmalade hot enough so that you can’t stir down the bubbles for about 10 minutes. Watch carefully: the marmalade can burn easily. When the bubbles take on color, the marmalade is most likely done.
  • But do a set test to be sure. Put a bit of the marmalade on a spoon and allowing it to cool in the fridge. If the marmalade wrinkles when you push it with your finger, it is ready to can. Depending on humidity, the juiciness of the fruit, or what’s happening on Mount Olympus, your marmalade may be a little looser or stiffer. As long as you are within the realm of spreadability on toast, you’ve succeeded.
  • Have ready 3 sterilized half-pint jars and bands, and new lids that have been simmered in hot water to soften the rubberized flange. To sterilize the jars and bands, boil them in water for 10 minutes (at sea level; see below for altitude adjustments). Pour in the marmalade, leaving about 1/4 inch of headroom at the top of each jar. Wipe the rims, place on the lids, and screw on the bands fingertip tight.
  • Place the jars in a deep pot with a rack so the water can circulate around the jars. The pot must be deep enough to cover the jars with 2 inches of water and then still have an additional couple of inches so the boiling water doesn’t erupt all over your stove. Cover the jars with hot tap water and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Boil the jars for the prescribed amount of time. Process the jars for 5 minutes (see below for altitude adjustments). Pints are processed for the same amount of time. Boiling water, whether it is boiling violently or mellowly, is still boiling at the same temperature, so you can reduce the heat as long as the water continues to boil. If at any time the water is no longer covering the jars, add additional boiling water. If the water stops boiling at any time, you need to bring the water back up to a boil and start your timing over from the beginning. Turn off the heat and let the jars rest in the water for about 5 minutes. Remove the jars and place them on a towel or rack.
  • Allow the jars to rest untouched for 12 to 24 hours. The cooling stage in water bath processing is important because the rubber seal will be soft coming out of the water bath and needs to stiffen to complete the seal. Once cool, check the seals. You can check a seal by unscrewing the band and lifting the jar by the edges of the lid. If you can lift the jar, the seal is good. If the lid comes off, the seal has failed and you must refrigerate and eat the product, or reprocess the jars with new lids following the same procedure. Label the jars and store them in a cool dark place for up to a year. You do not need to store the jars with the bands on. Refrigerate after opening.

To sterilize jars: For every 1,000 feet in altitude, boil an additional 1 minute (it takes 10 minutes at sea level).

For water bath canning: If the processing time at sea level is 20 minutes or less, add 1 minute of processing time for each 1,000 feet above sea level: add 2 minutes for every 1,000 feet if the processing time is more than 20 minutes. If you live at 3,500 feet, round up to 4,000.


kumquat-spoon-with-yogurtKumquat Spoon Fruit

Makes 3 1/2 pints

Kumquats have a low pH, so are safe to water bath can, Nonetheless, Neni adds lemon juice. Probably because she doesn’t can them at all, she just pours them into old jars and stores them on the shelf! The kumquats are tender but chewy, sweet but also quite tart. There are three 12 hour or so rest periods in making this dish.

1 ½ lbs kumquats, whole
1 ½ pounds sugar
1 ½ cups water
3 teaspoons lemon juice

  • Wash the kumquats well and place in a large bowl. Cover with water and let rest on the counter for 24 hours. Drain the kumquats and layer them in a heavy bottomed pot with the sugar. Let them rest overnight. Heat the kumquats and sugar over a medium high heat and add the water. Boil, skilling off the foam, uncovered for about 1 hour, until the syrup thickens and no longer produces much foam at all. Set the kumquats aside and allow to rest overnight. The next day, boil the kumquats for 10 minutes to thicken the syrup to about the consistency of runny honey.
  • Have ready 3 sterilized half-pint jars and bands, and new lids that have been simmered in hot water to soften the rubberized flange. To sterilize the jars and bands, boil them in water for 10 minutes (at sea level; see below for altitude adjustments). Pack in the kumquats, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to each jar, and cover with syrup, leaving about 1/4 inch of headroom at the top of each jar. Wipe the rims, place on the lids, and screw on the bands fingertip tight.
  • Place the jars in a deep pot with a rack so the water can circulate around the jars. The pot must be deep enough to cover the jars with 2 inches of water and then still have an additional couple of inches so the boiling water doesn’t erupt all over your stove. Cover the jars with hot tap water and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Boil the jars for the prescribed amount of time. Process the jars for 5 minutes (see below for altitude adjustments). Boiling water, whether it is boiling violently or mellowly, is still boiling at the same temperature, so you can reduce the heat as long as the water continues to boil. If at any time the water is no longer covering the jars, add additional boiling water. If the water stops boiling at any time, you need to bring the water back up to a boil and start your timing over from the beginning. Turn off the heat and let the jars rest in the water for about 5 minutes. Remove the jars and place them on a towel or rack.
  • Allow the jars to rest untouched for 12 to 24 hours. The cooling stage in water bath processing is important because the rubber seal will be soft coming out of the water bath and needs to stiffen to complete the seal. Once cool, check the seals. You can check a seal by unscrewing the band and lifting the jar by the edges of the lid. If you can lift the jar, the seal is good. If the lid comes off, the seal has failed and you must refrigerate and eat the product, or reprocess the jars with new lids following the same procedure. Label the jars and store them in a cool dark place for up to a year. You do not need to store the jars with the bands on. Refrigerate after opening.

To sterilize jars: For every 1,000 feet in altitude, boil an additional 1 minute (it takes 10 minutes at sea level).

For water bath canning: If the processing time at sea level is 20 minutes or less, add 1 minute of processing time for each 1,000 feet above sea level: add 2 minutes for every 1,000 feet if the processing time is more than 20 minutes. If you live at 3,500 feet, round up to 4,000.

Photos:  Megan Scholow

One Comment on “Kumquat Marmalade and Kumquat Spoon Fruit

  1. Beautiful! I have only recently discovered your site, thanks to Julia della Croce, and I am enjoying everything I find here. Thank you!

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