Growing up, I remember my Dad talking about kumquats and loquats. I remember him picking them off the trees for me to try while telling me stories of how he used to find and eat them as a young boy during the great depression. I remember the sweet rind and sour center of the kumquats and the strange apricoty-plumy-grapey taste of the loquats. Even though they are both very different fruit, I still find myself putting them into the same fruit basket in my head. I guess it is because they both seem so exotic and that they kinda, sorta look the same.
It turns out that Jacksonville is very much like Brisbane. Kumquat and loquat trees are very happy growing here. For now, it's kumquat season -- I can look forward to the loquats fruiting in spring. One of my friends was very kind and brought me over a bucket of kumquats from a farm near by. I knew exactly what to do with them. Below is the recipe for Kumquat, Vanilla bean and Orange Blossom Marmalade. If I could invite Dad over for tea and toast, I think he would be very proud.
Kumquat, Vanilla Bean and Orange Blossom Marmalade
prep time: 15 minutes
cook time: 45 minutes
total time: 1 hour
yields: 2 jars of marmalade
35-40 kumquat pieces
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups water
2-to-4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2-to-3 tablespoons golden syrup
2 teaspoons orange blossom water
seeds from 1 vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Prick kumquats a few times with a skewer, place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a gentle boil for 8 minutes, drain, and repeat once more. Set aside. Add sugar and water to the same empty pot and cook on low until sugar crystals dissolve. Do not stir.
Uncover, cook on medium-heat for 10-15 minutes, swirling the pan every so often until a medium-thick syrup forms.
Add kumquats to the syrup and cook uncovered on medium heat for about 12 minutes. Remove any white froth that appears at the surface with a spoon.
Remove from heat.
Add lemon juice, golden syrup, orange blossom water and vanilla bean seeds. Bring mixture to boil then reduce to medium heat and simmer, uncovered for 15-20 mins.
While the marmalade is simmering, place 2 medium sized jars in a 95C/200F oven for 10-15 minutes to sterilize.
Pour marmalade into jars. Seal with lid and store at room temperature. Enjoy on toast, with yogurt, in porridge or by the spoonful...