ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Make Cumquat Marmalade

Updated on April 7, 2012
Cumquat Marmalade on Sourdough Toast. Image:  Siu Ling Hui
Cumquat Marmalade on Sourdough Toast. Image: Siu Ling Hui

One of the most quintessentially Australian home-made preserves is cumquat (or kumquat) marmalade. Despite its popularity, this citrus preserve has escaped mass commercialisation. It's still something that one makes at home and gives to family and friends. "Commercial" production remains firmly in the "cottage industry" realm, and these small quantities are at farmers' markets, country fairs, school fund raising fairs etc.

Nagami or Oval Cumquat. Image:  Andre Bonn - Fotolia.com
Nagami or Oval Cumquat. Image: Andre Bonn - Fotolia.com
Marumi or Round Cumquat - somewhat covered in spider webs on my cumquat hedge! Image:  Siu Ling Hui
Marumi or Round Cumquat - somewhat covered in spider webs on my cumquat hedge! Image: Siu Ling Hui

What Are Cumquats?

Also spelt kumquat, this species of citrus is native to China and Japan. It was not known to Europeans until 1846 when Robert Fortune, the famous Scottish botanist who managed to smuggle tea plants out of China to India for the East India Company, collected samples of these for the Royal Botanical Gardens.

The botanical name for the cumquat, Fortunella , reflect Fortune's role in the 'discovery'. There are 3 main varieties that are grown for their small golden-skinned acidic fruit:

  • Nagami or Oval Cumquat (F. margarita ),
  • Marumi or Round Cumquat (F. japonica ), and
  • Meiwa or Large Round Cumquat (Fortunella crassifolia ; F. Margarita x F. japonica ).

The cumquat plant is a small bushy tree which can easily be grown in pots. Hardy and cold-resistant, they are very attractive plants, particularly when laden with golden baubles of fruit. It makes a great plant for the patio.

The three Marumi cumquat trees that I planted years ago along one of my fences have now become a 5 metre high, dense hedge which yields absolutely kilos of fruit almost year round. In temperate Melbourne, my biggest crops arrive in late winter/early spring and autumn with a smaller crop during summer. The recent late August pick yielded over 6 kg of fruit.

Spiced Brandied Cumquats. Image:  Siu Ling Hui
Spiced Brandied Cumquats. Image: Siu Ling Hui

Uses of Cumquats

Cumquats are not just good looking but great in cooking as well!

Cumquat marmalade has a wonderful sweet-acid balance. Apart from spreading it on your morning toast, it's also great for steamed jam puddings.

Brandied cumquats are another way for preserving them. The brandied fruit makes a lovely after dinner treat, on its own or dipped in chocolate. It can also be used as an ice-cream topping with a drizzle of the brandy preserving liquid. When making steamed cumquat marmalade puddings, I sometimes add some brandied cumquats to the marmalade before pouring the pudding batter over.

Whole candied cumquats are one of the most beautiful candied fruits ...if you can stop the fruit collapsing. The "collapsed" fruit are still delicious even if they aren't pretty. I have only managed achieve perfection once!

Fresh cumquats are also a good substitute for the tropical kalamansi lime (Citrus mircrocarpa ) in Asian cooking. The latter is a small sour fruit which looks like a round cumquat except for coloration. This lime, which turns yellowish green when ripened and has pale yellow flesh, is usually picked used when unripe for squeezing over noodles and sambals (chillie pastes) in Singaporean and Malaysian cuisines.

Recipe: CUMQUAT MARMALADE

The only 'measurement' in this recipe is the ratio of sugar to fruit. Sugar, apart from being a sweeter and a natural preservative, helps increase the density of the mixture and thereby aids in setting.

As I prefer the fruit flavour to dominate and I don't like very sweet jams, I work on a 50% sugar to fruit ratio ie for every 1 kg of fruit, I add 500g of sugar. You can increase the amount of sugar to suit your personal taste.

This method is a 3-day process. [I use this same process for all citrus marmalades.]

Washed & halved cumquats, soaking in water. Image:  Siu Ling Hui
Washed & halved cumquats, soaking in water. Image: Siu Ling Hui

Day 1: Clean & Prepare The Fruit

Step 1: Clean the cumquats. Place the cumquats in a large basin of water. Use a small, soft-bristled brush to gently scrub off dirt, particularly around the stem. (Tip: I use a battery operated toothbrush to do this. This toothbrush forms part of my food preparation equipment and is used only for cleaning food. Never use them for anything else and most certainly not for cleaning teeth! )

Step 2: Drain the cleaned cumquats. Using a tweezer, pull out the stems attached to each cumquat.

Step 3: Cut each cumquat in half widthways. Place them in a large bowl made of non-reactive material. [Glass is best, stainless steel is fine. Do not place them into aluminium containers.] Don't worry about de-seeding them at this stage.

Step 4: Pour enough water to just barely cover the cut cumquats. Cover with cling film and leave to soak overnight in a cool place.

Cumquat seeds set aside to be wrapped in muslin before cooking marmalade. Image:  Siu Ling Hui
Cumquat seeds set aside to be wrapped in muslin before cooking marmalade. Image: Siu Ling Hui

Day 2: 1st Cooking of Fruit

Pour the cumquats into a large heavy based pot (not aluminium). Bring the cumquats and water to the boil. Lower the heat and leave to simmer, uncovered, for about 45 minutes or until the fruit is softened. Give the mixture a good stir from time to time. The seeds will separate from the flesh.

Remove from heat and leave to cool.

Cumquat marmalade: a breath of sunshine with your breakfast toast! Image:  Siu Ling Hui
Cumquat marmalade: a breath of sunshine with your breakfast toast! Image: Siu Ling Hui

Day 3: Cooking The Marmalade

Step 1: Using a teaspoon, remove seeds and place them in a small bowl. You will need to stir the mixture to get seeds to float to the top. When most of the seeds have been removed, place all the seeds into a dampened square of double-layer of muslin and tie up tightly.

Step 2: Weigh out the de-seeded cumquat mixture and place it into a large clean pot. Note the weight of the fruit mixture. Weigh caster sugar: I work on 50% of weight of fruit mixture. Add caster sugar to the fruit.

Place the pot over moderate heat. Stir mixture to dissolve all the sugar. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches setting point (105ºC on a candy thermometer). [You can also check for setting point by placing a teaspoon of the mixture on a cold plate and then pushing it with your finger to see if it 'wrinkles' up.]

Step 3: Whilst the marmalade is cooking, sterilise your jam jars. Wash & dry the jars and lids. Then place the jars in a 100ºC oven for at least 10 minutes. [I put my jars in the oven when the jam mixture comes to the boil. The jars are taken out of the oven at the time of potting up the marmalade.]

Step 4: Remove the pot from the heat. Ladle the jam immediately into each hot jar (use a funnel to minimise drips), filing each jar almost to the brim. Seal each jar immediately and turn them upside down to cool.

Enjoy!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Foodstuff profile imageAUTHOR

      Foodstuff 

      7 years ago from Australia

      The Good Cook, Thank you! And DO try cumquats! You will love the marmalade!

    • The Good Cook profile image

      The Good Cook 

      7 years ago

      A very informative hub. You know, I have never eaten cumquats - must try some!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)