Our kumquat tree produced a pretty large crop this year, certainly more than we can eat raw. When this happens (every 2 or 3 years, I suppose) Frank gets inspired to make marmalade. He loves it. I think it’s so-so. But I love using the fruit rather than letting it drop on its way to the compost bin.
Here’s the tree after we harvested enough for one batch of marmalade. We needed the ladder to pick the fruit, we’ll need the taller ladder to get the next batch. This tree is 2 stories high.
Frank has made marmalade in the past, but is always on the lookout for better recipes. This time he selected a recipe from the wonderful cookbook, published in 1938 that was given to my grandmother by an elderly friend of hers. Bam passed it to me when she had pretty much given up on cooking and it’s full of the most wonderful recipes. All providing “The way to a man’s heart” :-). I wonder how the publishers would have felt if they’d known a man would be using their book in the future to preserve fruit!
Frank’s customised recipe goes something like:
Step 1: Spend two hours (this is not fast food) harvesting, washing, cutting and de-seeding the fruit. Cut kumquats in quarters, lemons in thin slices (about 3 lemons in this batch of 12 cups of fruit).
Step 2: Add water to the pot of fruit (the recipe calls for 1.5 cups water for each cup of fruit but we only added 8 cups of water to the 12 cups of fruit since Frank prefers thicker marmalade with more fruit per spoonful.) Let the fruit stand in the water overnight. The recipe calls for 24 hours but surely 12 is plenty. Whichever the duration, this is not fast food.
Step 3: Bring the pot to the boil (don’t remove any of the soaking water) and simmer for 1 hour (2 if you like your fruit mushy). Let stand all day (another 24 hours if you’re following the cookbook – this is not fast food)
Step 5: Add sugar (the recipe calls for 1 cup for every cup of fruit, we used 10 cups) and simmer until the marmalade begins to gel. (The recipe recommends 20 minutes but we cooked ours for 2 hours. Smaller batches might be done in 20 minutes.)
Step 6: Spoon the hot marmalade into sterilised jars, seal and let stand to cool.
Step 7: (The next day and for months) eat, share and enjoy your marmalade. (Who cares that this is not fast food – it’s great homestyle cookin’.)
Our 12 cups of fruit yielded 17 jars of marmalade. They’ll keep for a couple of years but there’s no chance they’ll last that long. We’ve already earmarked about 1/2 dozen as give-aways.
There’s at least one more batch-worth of kumquats in the tree so we need to think seriously about what to do with those. Definitely give some fresh to our neighbours (who love them), maybe preserve some whole in sugar syrup (another The Settlement Cook Book recipe), perhaps make another batch of marmalade so we’ll have some to last through the summer. Of course this rumination could all be made null and void if the cockatoos discover the tree. A flock of cockatoos can strip the tree in one feed – taking one seed out of each piece of fruit and throwing the remains (generally with twig and leaves attached) to the ground.