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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cumquat Jam

Recently, two of my lovely work friends raided their mother's cumquat trees for me. I do have two of my own little trees but they are not yet producing in jam-making quantities. I absolutely love cumquat jam and the fact that it's not easy to find commercially means that I never tire of it (as I do when I OD on cherry or apricot jam!).

Having made my first batch I couldn't wait to tuck in but I'd forgotten that citrus and I have not been getting along so well lately and one teaspoon of this jewel-like jam left me with an ulcerated tongue and skin that felt like it was on fire. I can't tell you how depressing that was...Maybe you'd like to make some and I'll live precariously through you?

Cumquat Jam

1 kg cumquats

1 kg sugar

1 lemon (juice and peel)

1 litre of water


1. Slice the cumquats as finely as possible.

2. Peel the lemon with a vegetable peeler then julienne the strips so you have nice thin strips of peel.

3. Place cumquats (seeds and all*), lemon peel, juice and water in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil then simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until skins are tender.

4. Add sugar and stir to dissolve then bring to a rolling boil for about 25 minutes.

5. While jam is boiling sterilise your jars by washing them in hot soapy water and drying them in a low oven for about 30 minutes. Alternatively you can just put them through a hot cycle in the dishwasher. I never really know how much jam a recipe will make so I usually prepare 5-6 jars just in case.

6. Check whether or not your jam has reached setting point (to test, place a small blob of jam on a cold saucer. Once the jam has cooled a little it should wrinkle up if you push it with your finger). You need to be brave at this point. Don't let the jam boil for too long or it will become progressively darker and will set like a rock. If this does happens don't despair. As long as it is not burnt you can still use it. It will just be hard to spead on bread but will be lovely warmed up as a glaze for meats or a sauce for ice-cream, pancakes etc).

6. Take jam off the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes or so to allow the fruit to distribute itself evenly. Skim off any foamy looking bits and lift out any seeds you see.

7. Pour the jam into sterilised jars making sure that there are no air bubbles. You can fill jars right to the top as the jam will shrink as it cools. Make sure you clean the inside and outside lip of jar with a hot cloth to remove any spilt jam.

8. Seal while jam is still hot, label and store in a cool, dark place for as long as you like!

* you can take all the seeds out, put them in a muslin bag then add the bag to the mixture but I find that they generally rise to the surface while the jam is cooling so I just skim them out then!)



  1. You poor thing Caz, this must be so frustrating for you...

    I love marmalade made with oranges, especially ones from Seville. I haven't had Kumquats very often but I do sometimes get them in my fruit and veg box...the produce is mostly local except for things we can't get here like bananas and oranges, they are fairtrade and shipped over rather then flown, so thankfully no air miles involved.

    I recently heard about compost heap jelly, which isn't as bad as it sounds! Its made from the zest of citrus fruit that may other wise end up in the compost heap. As we use tons of lemons in salad dressing and for drinks I'm dying to have a go at making some as soon as I have time.

    I hope that your relationship with all things citrus improves it would be such a shame if you can't indulge in your lovely jam after all your hard work...

  2. Thanks Deb. I'm starting to think I might be blaming citrus unfairly - I've started eating it again after a week or so off and I seem to be fine. I've had some problems with face creams etc this year so maybe it was that?

    Love the sound of the compost heap jelly too. Waste not want not!

  3. our mutual friend who has just had some absolutely gorgeous twin girls has a cumquat extra reason to visit???