This cheery kumquat marmalade is full of bright orange rounds of thin sliced citrus, specks of vanilla bean, and a splash of apple brandy.
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Marmalade has a very special place in my heart. It’s sweet, and tart, and so very pretty in its jar and on the plate.
With its thinly sliced rounds and specks of fresh vanilla bean, this kumquat marmalade is particularly cheery and bright. A splash of apple brandy gives the preserve a depth of flavor and warmth. Spread this beautiful kumquat marmalade on buttery toast, on crackers with soft cheese, or between shortbread cookies for tasty treats perfect for brunches and tea times.
The Lovely Kumquat
Depending on where you live, kumquats can be tricky to find. If you do spot a bag or two, this Vanilla Brandy Kumquat Marmalade is a perfect way to preserve them long term.
Kumquats are delicious by themselves though. Most citrus fruits carry bitterness in their rinds and piths, but the skin on the kumquat is tender and sweet. The juices inside are contrastingly tart, and you can pop the whole thing your mouth, seeds and all.
Because the rinds are so thin and flavorful, making marmalade from kumquats takes a lot less work and preparation than their thick skins cousins. Just slice the little grape-sized fruits into thin rounds, discarding the stem ends. Fully of essential pectin, the little seeds inside are easily poked out with the tip of the knife and saved to the side. When the sugar and fruit is mixed up together and ready to cook down, wrap the seeds up in cheese clothe and tuck the bundle into the mixture – it will help the marmalade gel and thicken as it cooks.
Vanilla Brandy Kumquat Marmalade
- 4 half-pint jars
- 1 ½ pounds kumquats
- 2 cups sugar
- ¼ cup brandy
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 cups water
- Sterilize the jars and lids as per proper procedure.
- Wash the kumquats thoroughly. Slice the fruit into thin rounds, removing the stems and seeds as you go. The seeds are full of pectin – bundle them together in cheese cloth and set aside.
- Mix together the sliced fruit, sugar, and water in a large bowl and tuck the bundle of seeds in among the mixture. Slice the vanilla bean open, exposing the seeds, and tuck this into the mixture as well.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours, or chilled in the refrigerator overnight.
- Once the fruit mixture has properly macerated and the juices have thickened, transfer the contents to a non-reactive jam pot or wide skillet (if chilled, allow the mixture to come back to room temperature). Bring the mixture to a hard boil, stirring often to keep the fruit from burning the bottom of the pan. The marmalade will need to boil for 20-30 minutes, until properly gelled at about 220 degrees F.
- Remove the pan from heat and discard the seed bundle and the vanilla bean shell (the little black seeds will have distributed throughout the marmalade). Stir in the brandy.
- Funnel the marmalade into the prepared jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Stir to remove any air bubbles, wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth, and apply the lids and rings to finger-tip tightness.
- Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, and then let the jars sit overnight to seal. If any don’t seal properly, store in the fridge and eat first.
- Due to the high acidity, marmalade has a much longer shelf life when processed properly than other kinds of jams.
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