What fun and yummy little fruits kumquats are.
For those of you unfamiliar with these petite citrusy bites, they’re all kinds of entertaining. For instance, you can pick them up and pretend to be a really big scary giant, just hanging out with an orange. See? Fun!
Or if prancing around the kitchen shouting fee-fi-foo-fum at the cat isn’t really your idea of a good time, you could always offer them to unsuspecting boyfriends, telling him of course they can be eaten skins and all; and try to supress your giggles while his face puckers up and turns inside out. Ha!
But if winding up your loved ones ain’t your thang, I guess you could just make marmalade. It’s not quite as fun, but it’s sure as hell deeeeelicious.
I love marmalade and will always have a jar of it in the fridge for weekend toast-fests. I’ve made it plenty of times before, but never with kumquats, so I hit the interwebs for a little inspiration. I found quite a few recipes recommending adding vanilla extract, which seemed straight forward enough; but I also found several recommending using rice wine (or a mixture of rice wine and water) as the cooking liquid. Alcohol in a recipe is always guaranteed to grab my attention, I was intrigued.
For my own marmalade, I decided to use vodka. I figured the citrus flavour could handle a bit of a kick, and hell, even if it didn’t work, it would certainly make the weekend toast-fests a little more entertaining. I got lucky, it worked; and boy does it taste good.
Kumquat, vanilla and vodka scented marmalade
Generally when I make marmalade I use slightly less sugar than fruit, but I know some people prefer a sweeter taste and match the weight of sugar to fruit. I also use just enough liquid to cook the fruit, but I generally ‘eyeball’ it instead of using those pesky measuring cups; but this time, in the interest of blogging, I was very good and kept account of everything I added.
Makes enough for two large jars
400 g kumquats
¾ cup of vodka
1 ¼ cup of water
1 tsp vanilla extract (not essence!)
375 g sugar
Wash the kumkuats well as you will be using the whole fruit, skin and all. Half, then quarter them and make sure to remove all of the pips. Place in a heavy bottomed pot with the vodka, water and vanilla essence and bring to a simmer. Cook the fruit until the skins are nice and soft, which will take about 15 minutes; you’ll need to keep an eye them and add more liquid if needed.
Once the fruit has cooked, you can add in the sugar. Slowly bring to the boil, stirring all the while and cook until the mixture becomes think and jammy. To check when it’s done, you can drip the mixture into a bowl of ice water, if it hardens up, your jam is done. You could also just use a sugar thermometer, but where’s the fun in that?
Slather over hot buttered toast and serve with a steaming bucket of tea (preferably Barry’s) and enjoy, especially on a slow Saturday morning.