kumquat marmalade

February 19, 2021

Have you ever eaten a fresh kumquat or had kumquat marmalade? Kumquats are awesome; they just take a little bit of know-how in how to prepare and eat. My son has a tree and last time I visited I picked a big bag. Like other citrus, they start to ripen early in the year. 

Kumquats are tiny oval citrus fruits, about the size of a cherry tomato. The seeds are edible, the skin and pith are sweet, and the juice is sour, just exactly the opposite of an orange. They are meant to be eaten whole--pop the whole thing into your mouth, bite down and wait for the flavor explosion!  It's a bang of sweet and sour. I think the folks who invented Sweet Tarts must have been trying to recreate the kumquat experience.

Kumquat marmalade is magic. It has a flowery, perfumed sweetness that is old-fashioned and charming. It has the tiniest tangy bite with zero bitterness so you don't have to bother with blanching the bitterness out of the pith that you have to do with other citrus. Kumquat marmalade is as easy as jam and is completely delicious and wants to accompany your Easter ham, pork chops, chicken, and of course your buttered toast. It's beautiful too! The twinkling jars of the jeweled fruit are simply gorgeous. Here's what I did:

Kumquat Marmalade 

Wash 2 lbs. fruit and cut in half.
Pinch and squeeze the fruit over a bowl to catch juice and seeds. 
Chop the fruit (a processor is useful here).
Strain juice and add to chopped fruit. Reserve seeds. (See note below.)
Add the juice of one orange and one lemon, plus the grated rinds of both.
Measure this mixture, put in a large cooking pot and add equal amount of sugar.
Stir and cook on high heat until full rolling boil, stirring constantly.
Boil for one minute.
Pour in one pouch of liquid pectin and return to full boil, stirring constantly.
Boil for one minute.
Turn off heat and skim off foam if necessary.
Ladle into sterilized jars to within 1/4" of the top; wipe rims clean and screw on sterilized lids.
Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes as you would for other jams.
I doubled this recipe and my batch of 4 lbs. of fruit made 12 half pints of marmalade.

Note: The reserved seeds have natural pectin in them. They can be placed in a mesh bag and added to the mixture while cooking, then discard after it's cooked. This will help the marmalade to firm up but I prefer the guarantee of the liquid pectin. One pouch liquid pectin is a scant 1/2 cup or 1.75 ozs which equals 2 tablespoons powdered pectin. 

The picture below is a newish variety of lemon. It's a Eureka variation with light pink flesh and green stripes against yellow skin. We had a pink lemon tree but lost it last year in a terrible windstorm and our efforts to save it didn't work. I'm searching the local nurseries to see if I can find a replacement. It's devastating to lose a fruit tree. When my husband was digging it up, I couldn't bear to watch.

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  1. I bet this is delicious! Kumquats and loquats are among the Bay Area fruits that seemed ubiquitous, yet not widely used, when I grew up there. A few sad Meyer lemons make it out to the Midwest but not the others.

    1. Hi Claire

      I think it’s also true somewhat for persimmons and even pomegranates. Several neighbors have persimmons and poms and give them away freely. I also love that we have and abundance of local asparagus and artichokes in the spring. I used to grow both in my garden, but when they are in season they are so fresh and so cheap, it’s silly to waste garden real estate on them. Hope you are having a good weekend and are not too cold where you are. It will be 60F today and my son is here now to finish installing our new garden beds.

      Best, Kristen

  2. Hi Kristen , I love your emails , I'm Maria from Gramado , south of Brasil , what do you mean by " a pouch of liquid pectin " , how much would it be in cups for instance ?Thanks

    1. Hello Gramado and thank you! In the states, a pouch of liquid pectin is about 1.75 ozs. and is equivalent to 2 tablespoons powdered pectin.

      I hope that helps.

      I looked up your city and it looks beautiful.


  3. Hi Kristen. I'm curious about your pink lemons (my condolences), and this new variety you showed. Could you comment on the flavor? I have tried Meyer lemons, and unlike many, do not care for them. I love Ponderosa lemons, though! As well as the regular grocery store variety.

    1. Hi Venice

      The pink lemon was very good and somewhat mild. I think it has Eureka as a parent which is a very popular garden variety in CA. I add a squeeze of lemon to most recipes and often if a recipe calls for a tablespoon of vinegar, I’ll add lemon instead.

      Hope you are doing well!



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