Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Kumquat Marmalade


It’s hard not to stop by a fruit stand filled with gorgeously colored gems, even if I am in a hurry. My first impulse is always to stop and touch and smell, admiring the lot and making small talk with the purveyor. That day we were in a mad rush to do one thing or the other, but as always, my eyes strayed to the colorful display. The man at the stall, seeing my eyes wander over his merchandise, quickly plucked what looked to me like a tiny orange, and placed it in my hands. “Kim kyat” he said. I assume it to be the little sister of the popular kyat-kyat (Mandarin orange). I look questioningly at him and he motions for me to bite. I raise my eyebrows, “Skin too?” He nods.

I am never one to say no to free food, so I take a bite. Definitely citrus. Even the skin has the distinct taste of citrus rind but…it’s…sweet! I take another, and yet another bite to verify this little observation. Yes, cute little citrus fruit with sweet edible skin! This is my lucky day! But we are in a hurry, so I have to leave the charming man and his delicious fruit. I vow to return though, because even as I am rushing off, there is only one word dancing in my mind, a word that sighed in my head the moment I tasted this fruit and its edible rind: marmalade.

When I get home I hunt for more info on kim kyat but I can’t find any. Hmmm. Searching, searching…little citrus fruit with sweet skin. Could this be a kumquat??? The name certainly sounds similar, and the pictures on the internet certainly look similar. I can’t be sure because I have never seen nor tasted a kumquat before. Yes, just like figs. I was again on the verge of adding another fruit to my stable. Hooray!

So I hurried back another day and got myself a kilo of the kim kyats/kumquats. I let them decorate my dining table for a couple of days (they make a gorgeous centerpiece! just pile them on a white platter or stuff them into a clear glass jar) before finally attempting marmalade for the first time.

I have made jam before, but never marmalade. I seem to have fallen into a jam-making thrall. Honestly, I probably would have gotten to something marmalade-y at some point, but tasting those tiny orange fruits put it on the fast track. To me they just tasted of marmalade, as if it was their life’s wish. So I dutifully complied.

Being totally inexperienced in the marmalade department, I didn’t bother with pips and cheesecloth and whatsuch. I took my 1 kilo of fruit (minus a few that I ate) and boiled them for about an hour, in enough water so they could all float pretty much freely. I then sliced them up and discarded the pips. After which they weighed 550 grams. I tossed them in a pot with 500 grams sugar and heated it slowly until all the sugar melted, and then let it boil until set (used the saucer in the freezer test).

I think I may have overcooked this batch because the resulting marmalade was a tad too sticky, but what an interesting flavor! It was sweeter than most marmalades I’ve tried (I assume because the rind was sweeter) but still had a tiny bite of bitter that makes it a marmalade. I gave a bottle to my mom, who loved it, but said it was a bit too sweet owing to her being a solid, non-sweet, rind’s-the-best-part, marmalade lover. I had some over a calamansi muffin my best friend K brought me back from a trip to Boracay (pictured above). And I’m sure it will be sublime on some warm toast with lots of butter.

Now I have a little stash of preserves and chutneys in my cupboard and like a besotted fool I peep at them randomly to cheer me up :) And they make great hostess gifts!

37 comments:

Pille said...

It's kumquat alright:) My boyfriend made kumquat jam (or sth similar) last week, it was really lovely, just like yours:)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Their life's wish! Perfect...I'm absoultly sure you are right. Every one of your photos is a jewel!

Linda said...

this looks amazing!!! love the photo sequence too!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Pille! Thanks :) I'm relieved to have someone confirm it! I have never come across one here before so I wasn't quite sure. Souffle and jam-making boyfriend...you are a lucky one! :)

Hi Tanna! Thank you so much :)

Hi Linda! Thanks! :) I had good subjects ;)

Patricia Scarpin said...

Joey,

Wow!! I've never had kumquats but I can say your marmalade looks fantastic!

I love the color, so bright and beautiful, the perfect topping for those muffins!

katrina said...

I've never had a kumquat either. Are these the same fruits I've been seeing in Rockwell, still on the bush (vine? tree?), with signs saying, "Please don't touch me, I'm real"? Because they were pretty, and I really wanted to touch them, but didn't have time to ask what they were. I'll try them next time.

Mmm...I miss those calamansi muffins.

Oh, I have to tell you! Last week I made a (VERY) simplified version of your apple & blue cheese salad. I used feta instead of blue, and I sprinkled the capers on the salad instead of using them as part of the dressing. It was delicious! I had several apples to get rid of, so I had this salad three times. THANKS for the inspiration, Joey! You saved me from both fast food and a boring salad. :-)

Midge said...

Joey, where did you find those lovely, lovely kumquats?!? They're gorgeous!

Jam is a lovely way to preserve them, but I have a friend who actually preserves them whole in a lime rind-infused syrup. Heavenly! I'll hunt up her recipe for you.

Oh, and kalamansi muffins ~ ! *sigh*

ChichaJo said...

Hi Patricia! Thank you! :) It really went well with the muffin which in itself had a lovely citrus note already.

Hi Katrina! Those signs crack me up! I can just imagine someone reaching over thinking, "Totoo ba 'to?" and then seeing that sign...hahaha! Surprise...totoo nga! Anyhoo, I think those little trees are kyat-kyat. The kumquats (although the guy will answer to kim kyats) are smaller and are in the bins with the rest of the fruits. So happy to hear you had a good salad! And I'm thrilled I saved someone from fast food :)

Hi Midge! I got them at the fruit stall in the middle of the supermarket level at Rockwell. They have interesting things although I know I'm probably paying much more for them because of their location. If you are able to find your friend's recipe that would be great! Thanks! :)

Paz said...

I'd love to have a taste.

Paz

Socky said...

Like your mom, I prefer marmalades. I think I'll try making some soon. But with less sugar perhaps?

oggi said...

I also recently discovered kumquats and wrote a post about them. I was told by the salesperson to roll it between my palms until it's soft and pop it in my mouth like candy. It is all at once very sweet and tart. I love them as a snack!:)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Paz! Wish I could send you some! :)

Hi Socky! Yes...maybe with a little less sugar :) I find myself using less sugar for jams then the recipes I find...not that I have anything against sugar ;)

Hi Oggi! I'm trying to find your kumquat post! What date? Thanks for the kumquat-eating trick...will try it next time! :)

christine said...

Hayayay I wrote a whole comment, and it went kaput on me. Anyway, I was saying that I LOVE kumquats! I had my first taste of them about 2 years ago when a friend brought it to a garden party in Gin's house. It was chilled and we put it in our martinis instead of olives. After each drink, we would pop them in our mouths like candy.Which I then discovered is the best way to eat them, chilled, whole, and popped into the mouth like candy! :)

At another dinner, we had these washed, and then strewn about the dining table along with green ponkans, and gathered in margarita glasses as edible centerpieces. After dinner, they were almost completely gone! :)

What a great idea to make it into marmalade! It must really be so sweet as it's so sweet on its own already. Id love to try that.

Veron said...

nice joey! I've don't think I have eaten kumquat before but your marmalade looks utterly delicious!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Nens! Kumquats in martinis...now that's genius! I have to try them that way soon :) And it's so nice to have centerpieces and decoration that you can eat, no? You can try my marmalade anytime! :)

Hi Veron! Thank you! I hadn't eaten them until now :)

Foodfreak said...

oh I am so jealous, actually green with envy ;) here it is hard to find kumquat at all, and usually they cost an arm and a leg and then some, much too price to make marmalade or chutneys. (Now I am thinking Gin with kumquat... )

Love your pictures, too, you captured the fruityness and color very finely

Freya said...

I'd never have thought of using kumquats like this! Lovely pictures too!

oggi said...

joey, it's in the Dec 12, 2006 post titled Fuyu Persimmons, Kumquats & Key Limes. I think I'll also try the marmalade...and with martini.:)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Foodfreak! Thank you very much :) If it's costly then it should definitely be enjoyed by itself in all it's glory...and with gin is not a bad idea at all! :)

Hi Freya! Thanks! :) It's funny and interesting how we can all taste the same things and have different ideas about it...well, that is the beauty of blogging, now I can enjoy kumquats in so many ways! :)

Hi Oggi! Thanks...enjoyed your pictures! :)

Kristen said...

I've never had a kumquat, but I can see the appeal. So colorful and pretty!

sandi @ the whistlestop cafe said...

I love kumquats~ you are right a bite of citrus and sweet. I bet that marmalade is yummy.

bea at La tartine gourmande said...

Yum. This is an excellent idea, and I am totally tempted to try myself! Beautiful!

Marketmanila said...

Yum kumquat marmalade...I have to try making that...I can only imagine how good it is.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Kristen! It is very appealing...it's cute appearance is what led caught me eye before I even knew what it tasted like (or what it was!) :)

Hi Sandy! Thanks :) I will definitely be eating more of this fruit! It is yummy! :)

Hi Bea! Thank you :) It's the first idea that popped in my head when I tried them :)

Hi Marketman! Thanks! My mom is more of the marmalade person so this sweeter version suited me fine...but you may want to try reducing the sugar a bit if you try it :)

angelika said...

OH, I am simply in love with kumquats. They are almost too cute to be eaten or cooked away, but marmelade with them must be a great way to use them !

At a Naschmarkt stall they sometimes sell candied kumquats, and Tanna got me some at the little adorable market in Paris - pure citrus heaven !

And I also like to have these lovely jars on my shelf. It's a good feeling to be able to see what we have done ! At least with jams and chutneys etc. you can definitely see it, at least as long as you don't give them away....

ChichaJo said...

Hi Angelika! They are extraordinarily cute, aren't they? :) Candied kumquats sound amazing! I can just imagine...

And yes, it is a wonderful feeling to look over your "larder"...but it's also nice to give them away :)

Mila Tan said...

I had my kim kyat in China over a dozen years ago. Love them and am glad I can get them here. They were my favorite winter snack (seasonal in China), wish they could grow a wee bit larger, but the edibility of the skin might suffer.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mila! I was wondering about the size versus edibility of skin...I can just imagine snacking on them during a Chinese winter...although I've never been to China, it just sounds so picture-book! :)

Melting Wok said...

This is really a great post. Every summer, my neighbor would bring me some and I love taking each tiny small bites into the skin, very refreshing and yummy ! :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Melting Wok! Thank you! Lucky you to have such a great neighbor :)

Peabody said...

You know, I just never know what to make with those...now I do.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Peabody! Glad to be of help :)

Garrett said...

Oooh, I love kumquats! I use the in stir frys or make salsa with them!

dolphinstate said...

beautiful photographs..i could almost taste it

ChichaJo said...

Hi Garrett! Stir-frys and salsas...What fantastic ideas! Thanks for the tips...will definitely be keeping those in mind :)

Hi Dolphinstate! Thank you! :)

purplegirl said...

i've never seen/eaten kumquats before. i've never seen them here in the southern usa where i've lived most of my life so when i went to san francisco last week, i made sure to find some and i did -- from an organic produce market!

when i got home, i was a tad disappointed that they didn't look the same as toni's did (http://toni.marikit.net/?p=624). instead, mine were the "real" kumquats: sweetish rind, sour inside and resembles calamansi (even the seeds and compartments inside). i'm convinced hers are a different variety.

anyway, i know there's no way i can eat my kumquats just as they are (really, they're as sour as calamansi) so i resolved to just squeeze them all into a bottle to preserve them and use as calamansi (in juice or patis). but then, i remembered reading your post about kumquat marmalade so here i am.

i've yet to find and taste the other varieties like yours and toni's but for now, i'm off to make my kumquat marmalade. your simple recipe is just the answer.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Purplegirl! So sorry your kumquats were sour...being new to kumquats myself, I can't shed light on the different varieties. This marmalade may be the answer though because it was very sweet so should balance the sourness perfectly :) Hope it turns out well for you