My dad has a kumquat tree in the backyard… this thing has been producing more kumquats than we know what to do with, since I was a kid. Kumquats have a really unique flavor – the fruit itself is tart and sour like a lemon, but the peel (instead of being bitter like most citrus peel) is sweet and mild. It’s an interesting combination.
I remember once, when I was maybe 12 years old, we made kumquat preserves… Unfortunately, my mom didn’t know how to can it properly, and that batch of “preserves” ended up moldy after a few weeks. :( It tasted great, but we had to throw most of it out, sadly.
Making preserves (or in this case jam preserves) is really not that hard. You just need to make sure the jars are properly sterilized and sealed. If you don’t want to bother with this step… well, that’s what the freezer is for! Most grocery stores sell plastic freezer jars for jam (next to the glass jars for home jam/jelly making) – just fill with jam and stick in the freezer. If you do want to try your hand at water bath canning, it’s pretty simple. You don’t need any fancy equipment – just a deep enough pot, and some type of rack that fits in the bottom (so that the glass jars don’t touch the bottom of the pot).
I love the flavor of these kumquat jam preserves – sweet, with a little bit of citrus tartness to it. It’s not bitter at all like a marmalade, even though it contains kumquat peel. When my dad brought over a grocery bag of kumquats last weekend, I figured it was time to make these jam preserves again.
Kumquat Jam Preserves:
- 2 lbs. kumquats
- 3 T. apple cider vinegar
- 3 T. low sugar pectin
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 T. butter
- 3 c. sugar
- Large stock pot with lid
- metal rack
- 6 half-pint jars with new lids and rings
1. Wash the kumquats.
2. With a sharp knife, slice each kumquat into quarters (longitudinally), and remove the seeds. (This step will take awhile).
3. Put the seeded kumquats into a large microwaveable bowl, and microwave for 8-10 minutes until soft and juices are flowing out.
4. Put the kumquats (plus juices) into a large measuring cup. If you do not have enough to make 4 cups, add water to top the fruit/juices off to 4 cups exactly.
5. Put the kumquats, vinegar, pectin, salt, and butter in a large pot. Bring to a boil, and simmer for about 4-5 minutes. Add the sugar.
6. Return to a hard boil, and boil for 1 minute longer. You now have kumquat jam preserves! At this point, you can ladle into clean (sterilized) containers and refrigerate for up to a few weeks (or freeze). If you would like to water bath can your jam, follow the instructions further.
7. While you are prepping your fruit, set the clean jars, rings, ladle, and tong in the large pot with water to cover over high heat. Bring this to a boil for about 15 minutes to sterilize.
8. Once the jam is made, allow it to sit for about 5-10 minutes to “settle” so that the fruit doesn’t float up to the top of the jam after processing. When ready to can, remove the hot jars from the hot water, and fill with your sterilized ladle. (Meanwhile, put the clean new lids into the hot water to soften the adhesive.) Wipe the rims off with a paper towel soaked with the hot water. Place a hot lid on top of each jar, and screw the rings down finger tight. Place the sealed jars (carefully) back into the hot water (setting the jars on top of the wire rack – not on the pot bottom). Bring the water back to a boil.
9. Process the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. (You may need to add more time depending on elevation.) Do not be fooled by air bubbles escaping from the jars when you put them in the hot water – make sure the water is actually boiling before you count down the 10 minute processing time. Allow your jars to sit on the counter, undisturbed, overnight until cool. You will hear a popping or pinging sound as the jars seal themselves. When completely cool, test the seal by pushing the lid down with your finger. If the lid moves up and down – it is not sealed properly and the jam inside will need to be refrigerated and used up within a few weeks. Otherwise, if your seals are proper – you can store your jam in a pantry for up to a year.