I still remember my first kumquat. I was stalking the produce aisles of Central Market, and I came to that section where they keep all the weird stuff that most people can't identify. Of course this draws my attention, because I'm nosy like that. The first thing I see are these tiny little oval oranges. So I have to have them. No clue what I'm going to do with them, but that comes later, right?
I ended up just eating that first small bagful, but I knew the kumquats were meant for so much more. So when they appeared once again this week, I dug myself up a recipe that would allow me to enjoy these beauties all year long. Sweet, sour, sticky, and now dolloped in my car's cup holder as I tried to maneuver my toast and coffee and fifteen bags in time to catch the bus, it was very much worth it.
Adapted from The Amateur Gourmet blog
1½ pounds kumquats
1 pound sugar
Juice of 1 orange plus enough water to equal 3 cups
2 tablespoons powdered fruit pectin
4 tablespoons Grand Marnier
Wash kumquats thoroughly. Cut each kumquat into very thin slices, discarding seeds. Put kumquat slices into a large pot and mix with the sugar. Pour in the orange juice/water mixture and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium. Cook kumquats until syrupy, about 45 minutes.
Sprinkle the fruit pectin over the kumquats and stir in. The kumquat syrup should thicken after a few minutes. To test the marmalade, put a spoon in the freezer for at least five minutes. Remove the spoon from the freezer and pour about half a spoon of the marmalade into the cold spoon. Return the spoon to the freezer for a minute or so. Remove the spoon from the freezer and feel the underside of the bowl of the spoon. It should be neither hot nor cold. When tilted, the syrup on the spoon should run sluggishly. Stir in the Grand Marnier and allow the syrup to cook for another minute or two. Remove the marmalade from the heat and let stand for five to ten minutes.
Pour the kumquat marmalade into 4 half pint jars and twist on the caps. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat, remove the lid, and allow the jars to sit in the water bath for another 5 minutes. Remove the jars to a rack to cool.
Makes 4 half pint jars