Monday, March 1, 2010

Marmalade!


My grandma's boyfriend takes pride in his fruit trees. The San Diego climate keeps his garden producing abundantly. This year, he sent my mother home with two huge sacks of kumquats and one lemon. While the proportions are a bit off for me (I've never quite been a fan of the small, bitter orange fruit), I decided, someone's gotta do something here.
I've never made marmalade before, but I sure as heck like it. Pizzaiolo in Oakland's upscale Temescal district serves excellent marmalade as part of their weekday breakfast. I think eating their servings of Blue Chair marmalade made me really turn on to the stuff.
Anyway, so I turned my lazy Friday night through Saturday into marmalade time. I will admit, it was a bit more time consuming that plain ol' jam, but much more exciting. The labor that went into it made me value the end result a lot more than when I've made jam. The recipe below will yield you 1 1/2 pints, about. I filled 3 half-pint Ball's jars.

Kumquat Marmalade
2-3 cups sliced, seeded kumquats, some seeds reserved in a tea ball strainer
water to cover
equal amount sugar as fruit
1 cinnamon stick

Soak sliced fruit in the water to cover, along with the seeds in the strainer (or cheesecloth) overnight, for at least 10 hrs. Remove seeds from pot and add the sugar and the cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hrs, or until marmalade has thickened significantly, almost to the gel point (which means that when you dab some marm' on a very cold plate and tip the plate, it doesn't budge. It's gel!).
When it's almost done cooking, sterilize 3 half-pint mason jars and their lids. Fill jars with marmalade, and process in boiling water for 10 minutes.

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