In my last post (about shrimp tacos) I was complaining that the cold weather needed to make its exit because I was ready for warmer temperatures. But now I am trying to preserve Winter? Don’t get me wrong, I am still ready for Spring to be here, but I thought I would embrace the last couple weeks of Winter by saving the best fruit of the season and turning them into a marmalade.
I have to admit that I had an ulterior motive for making marmalade. Mostly my intentions were good; preserve the sweet and sour flavors of kumquat and tangelo, so come July when I get a hankering for citrus I can feed my craving (literally). But my other motivation had to do with my new supply of Weck Jars. I don’t have much experience with canning/jarring, but it’s a skill I want to learn so I can preserve some of my harvest from my garden this year (by pickling, jam making, etc.). So when I saw Weck Jars at Crate & Barrel a couple of weeks ago, I stocked up. Weck Jars are made in Germany and have been around for over 100 years. In Europe, where home-canning is far more popular than in the states, you’ll find Weck jars in most homes filling the pantry. The thing that makes them different from the typical Ball jars you see here are their glass lids and rubber sealers. Not only does this help make a tight seal, but it just looks prettier. As far as home-canning goes, Weck is the jar of choice.
So why did I decide on kumquat, tangelo and ginger marmalade? My inspiration came from the Ad Hoc at Home cookbook (by Thomas Keller of course). Ad Hoc, in Yountville, CA, specializes in American cuisine that is served Family Style. Instead of a regular menu, they serve 4 courses a night of the chef’s choosing. The 3rd course is always a cheese course and this is the marmalade’s purpose. The sweet and tart flavors complement the creaminess and fat of cheese beautifully. This marmalade would also be delicious on duck or pork.
I did veer a little from the Ad Hoc recipe. The original calls for tangerines and far more kumquats. Even though kumquats are in season, they are still expensive (at least in my grocery stores). I found that a half pound was more than sufficient. If you have never had a kumquat before, it is quite the experience. They are kind of like a grape sized orange, but you don’t peel them, you just pop the whole fruit in your mouth, peel, seeds, and all. The peel is rather sweet, but the flesh is tart. It’s a nice juxtaposition. For this recipe I soaked the halved kumquats in cold water over night though, to help tame the tartness. I also changed the original recipe by using tangelos instead of the tangerines. Tangelos are a hybrid of a tangerine and a pomelo (a type of grapefruit). They are very thin fleshed and juicy, which is perfect for marmalade. The addition of ginger is solely because I love the flavor of ginger.
The marmalade turned out exactly as I expected; sweet and tart with a warmth you wouldn’t expect from the cold Winter months. My Weck jar also did everything it promised and held a nice tight seal. Now come August, when I am complaining about the heat, I can open my jar of marmalade and day dream about cooler temperatures.
*If you liked this post you may like: Jacky’s Spicy Dill Pickles
Kumquat Tangelo Marmalade with Ginger
*Makes 2 1/2 cups
1/2 lb Kumquats
1 1/2 lb (about 6) Tangelos*
2 cups Sugar
2 tsp Ginger, fresh – grated
*I used Minneola Tangelos
- Cut Kumquats in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place in a bowl and cover with water. Cover and refrigerate for 18-24 hours. This will help cut the bitterness of the kumquat flesh.
- Once the kumquats have soaked, slice the flesh and skin into smaller pieces. It’s up to you what size chunks you would like to have in the marmalade.
- Quarter the Tangelos, and cut the flesh from the skin. Be careful to avoid the white pith. You don’t want the pith or the skin in the marmalade because it will just add bitterness. Discard the skin and pith. Squeeze the juice from the flesh and reserve the juice, there should be about 10oz once all the Tangelos are juiced. Save the flesh and chop into smaller bits.
- In a medium-sized pot, combine the kumquat, Tangelo flesh, Tangelo juice, sugar, and ginger. Turn heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Using a candy thermometer, let the mixture rise to 215F-220F. This takes about 30 minutes. Skim any foam that rises to the top. You can test the thickness by collecting a teaspoon of the marmalade, and then chilling in the freezer for 5 minutes or so. This will give you a good idea of the consistency. If you want thicker marmalade, leave it on the stove a bit longer.
- Carefully pour hot marmalade into a jar. Cover and let cool until room temperature. Don’t refrigerate until fully cool. Marmalade will last one month in the fridge.