About this recipe:This kumquat jam resembles a marmalade, with lovely rind pieces that spread across your hot buttered toast. It takes time to slice the kumquats as they're small; ensure you've a few hours! You don't want the seeds in the jam, so using a food prosessor is a no-no. The extra seeds have the pectin that will be used help set the jam, though.
1kg kumquats, washed
1 litre water
1kg sugar (plain, not jam suagr)
small piece muslin cloth
4 clean glass jars, sterilised in the oven at 100 C, when your sugar is added
small saucer, placed in the freezer
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Slice your kumquats as thinly as possible and get them into the pan, keeping the seeds aside. It's incredibly time consuming, but very much worth it at the end. Crank up the stereo!
Use the muslin to wrap up all the seeds and tie with the kitchen string, leaving one length quite long. Put the small bag into the pan, using the string to tie onto the handle outside the pan, so it's easy to pull out later.
Add the water, and bring to the boil. You want to soften the rind, so depending on how thick the kumquat skin is, and how thin you've cut it, this takes anywhere between 25 minutes to 1 hour. Just check regularly after the 25 minute mark - if it's still got a bit of bite, leave for another 10 minutes, and then check again.
Once your rind is soft, remove the muslin bag, squeeze out the excess juice (careful: hot!) and discard. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1/2 hour. Put your glass jars in the oven now too to get sterilised.
To test if your jam is ready, grab your plate from the freezer, drop a teaspoon of your jam on it, stick it back in the freezer and wait 1 minute. Remove plate from the freezer and drag your finger through the jam. If it wrinkles, it's ready to jar. If it doesn't, pop the pan back on the simmer for another 5-10 minutes, and repeat the process. Don't be freaking out if this takes a couple of go's! Sometimes the fruit is water heavy, or the seeds lack pectin to help the jam set.
Once your jam wrinkles, it's ready to be put into jars. Take the pot off the heat and let it settle for 5 minutes. Take your glass jars out of the oven now too. Using a clean dessert/soup spoon, just take a couple of minutes to remove the scum that collects around the edges of the pan. You don't want this in your jam, so just spoon it out and discard it, so looking at the pot from above you should have this lovely amber jewelled liquid.
Taking your time, spoon your jam into your glass jars. I like to do this over the sink, with a tea towel wrapped around the jar to protect my hand, and going spoon by spoon. If you're more techy, you can always use a funnel and slowly pour your jam into your jars.
Lid them, and let cool! This jam will last in a cool dark place for 12 months, and then refrigerate after opening.
Now just get some fresh sourdough bread, a little lovely salted butter, and indulge in your own handmade kumquat jam!