Thursday, June 30, 2011

Canning with Kumquats

I knew what a kumquat was.  I never knew what to do with them...until now!!  A very sweet skin, and a very tart fruit.  I eat them whole, enjoying the adult-level of citrus complexity.  But, I am aware that the rest of the world may give me a squishy-nosed face while I tell them this.  Alas, I needed to find a way to make everyone happy.

After purchasing a basket at the farmer's market this weekend, I was tempted to put them in a salad or sauce.  The boy immediately expressed his disdain for their taste.  Great.
Then, I came across this blog, and it encouraged me to make a marmalade.  I've never canned before.  I've always been intrigued to try, but never quite made the leap.  But, if you'd like to try this with me, I can assure you, the finished marmalade was worth the 12-hour soak period.
(full recipe and photos after the jump)

Start by washing the fruit in lukewarm water.  Cut small portions off each end, just exposing the inner fruit.

Cut in half lengthwise, and slice the seeds and white membranes out with a paring knife.  You just want to save these in a separate bowl in the fridge to create some natural pectin to add to the marmalade later.  This makes a naturally occurring gel-like consistency.  I know, I sound like a genius.

Finely slice the kumquats width-wise and put all in a bowl.  I used a whole super-full basket worth, but I was too lazy to I guessed on 1.5 pints.

This meant that I should add about 2.5 cups of water to the entire fruit bowl.  I also wanted to cut some of the sugar out, so I used less than the recipe called for.  Closer to 1.5 cups.  Here's the fun part.  Cover and let sit overnight.  Seriously.  You have to wait a whole don't have a cheese tray ready and waiting any time soon.

That little baby bit of seeds and membranes you cut?  Toss in 2-3 sheets of cheesecloth and boil for 5-ish minutes.  It said to use one cup of water per pint of fruit.  I just used 2 cups and it worked just fine.  Once it's cool to touch, squish it like a stress-ball.  An odd gel-like substance will ooze out.  That's good.  Save that.

Now, take the big pot you used to boil the pectin nonsense, and add enough of the juice/sugar-water to bring it back to the original amount of liquid you measured (I think I over watered, but again, I don't think you can really mess up).

Whisk your pectin-goo back into the fruit-water you just added to the pot.  Once this is all whisked together, add all the fruit in, and bring to a rolling bowl.

Look at the color!!

Once you're at a rolling boil, stir pretty regularly.  I don't really know what a "gelling-point" is, so I just took it off when it looked like what warm jam looks like.  But do take it off the heat immediately once it's where you'd like it to stop cooking.

Because I'm not expert at the science bit of canning, I'll make sure you reference the link I sent you at the top.  But I was able to make 3 of these baby baby mason jars full of marmalade with a whole basket of kumquats. AND...even the boy says he likes it.  Win!

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