At this time of year around Noosa and the Sunshine Coast, Cumquat trees are busting with ripe fruit. Many suburban homes have cumquat trees in their gardens as an ornamental, but sadly the fruit is left to rot as it is too tart for most people to eat. However, cumquats make fantastic marmalade – the perfect way to use that cumquat crop that you didn’t know what to do with.
This is an easy recipe provided by my Dad, who is an accomplished jam and marmade maker. You can vary the proportion of limes and cumquats according to your taste – I used about 150g limes and 850g cumquats to make up the kilogram. I don’t recommend doubling this recipe unless you have an extremely large pot. I did double the recipe, and realised halfway through the cooking process that my pot was not going to be big enough and ended up in a right mess!
You’ll need to start this recipe the day before, as the fruit requires soaking.
1.6 kg sugar
Large, deep saucepan
Jam jars, sterilised (see below for instructions)
1. Finely slice the cumquats and limes and put into a large bowl, reserving the pips.
2. Cover the sliced fruit with 1.5 litres of water.
3. Cover the pips with 1 cup (250ml) of water.
4. Leave both to soak overnight.
5. Next day, put the fruit and its soaking water in a deep saucepan. Strain the pips and add the pip soaking water (the pips contain pectin which helps the marmade set).
6. Bring to a boil over the stove and allow to boil until the the rinds are tender and the liquid has reduced somewhat (about 30 minutes).
7. Reduce the heat to low, add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Turn up the heat and boil rapidly for about 30 minutes, then start testing to see if it has reached the setting stage (if using a cooking thermometer, start testing when the mixture reaches 105 °C.)
8. To test: Put a heaped teaspoon of the mixture onto a chilled saucer. Put it in the refrigerator it for a minute or two, then run your finger through the middle of it. If the marmalade stays in two separate portions and crinkles at the edges, the setting stage has been reached. You may need to do this a number of times in 5 minute intervals.
10. Seal while hot.
To sterilise jam jars:
1. Wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water and rinse well.
2. Place the jars and lids in a pot of cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Drain upside down on a clean tea towel.
4. Place the jars rightway up and the lids in a 120°C oven for 15 minutes.