March is an impatient month for me. Signs of spring thaw (and rain!) pop up everyday, but it is not yet time for the first bright spring vegetables or even rhubarb. You would think winter is a bad time for the home preserver, but it is the peak time for citrus and tropical fruits. As much as I try to eat locally, the pop of citrus during the winter is much appreciated and needed with the monotonous parade of cold storage apples, root vegetables, and kale.
In Houston, there was a small kumquat tree in the community garden where I gardened at. While I never got the opportunity to make marmalade with those kumquats, the thought stuck with me until this year. Kumquats are the opposite of most citrus fruits and have a sweet peel and sour flesh. This makes kumquats the perfect candidate for making marmalade. Meyer lemons are also in season now and lend an exceptional fragrance and sweetness to this recipe. Because you are using the entire fruit in marmalade, try to buy organic fruit.
Small Batch Meyer Lemon and Kumquat Marmalade
adapted from pbs food
Note: This recipe made the perfect amount for 3 Weck 1/5 liter tulip jars, which are a bit under 8 oz.
24 oz (by weight) kumquats
1 large meyer lemon
about 1/3- 1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup water
Place a small ceramic plate in the freezer (this will be used to test the thickness of the marmalade). Slice each kumquat in half (latitudinally) and remove the seeds. Usually there are one or two large seeds that pop out easily with the tip of your paring knife. Then slice each half thinly; I usually got four slices per half. For the meyer lemon, halve and remove any seeds and slice thinly as well. In a small saucepan (I used a 4 qt), combine the fruit, honey, and water over medium heat. Keep an eye on the pot and stir frequently and bring the mixture up to a boil and cook until everything is thick, about 15-20 minutes of total cooking time. Taste to make sure the marmalade is sweet enough. Pull out your frozen plate and drop a small spoonful of the marmalade on the surface. If the mixture sets up within a minute, it is done. If canning, fill your processed jars and can in a water bath for 10 minutes.
What to do with your delicious marmalade? I confess that I am really liking the combination of marmalade and cream cheese on toast for breakfast! Or use it fill thimble cookies, use it as a filling for a plain sponge cake, or use it to add sweetness and acid to a marinade.