A number of disgruntled Kurmaphiles wrote and suggested that a week without my blogs was a tough call.
‘Memory Lane’ is a new series of reposted, archived blog entries for when there are no blog entries worth blogging. I mean, ironing, porridge-making and housework don’t warrant a report, now do they?
Basically it’s like repeating my favourite episodes of “The Days of Kurma’s Lives”. So, here’s Memory Lane #1:
As the Perth rain thundered down yesterday, I cooked a perfect batch of marmalade. Kumquats are in season, so I picked up a kilo of the oval variety at the markets for $3.00. A kilo of fruit plus the sugar cost me less than $6, and I made 8 big jars. Marmalade making is very, very cost efficient.
Some of my earliest childhood memories are of returning home from primary school in England and finding the whole house perfumed with sweet citrus aromas, and seeing big pots of seville orange marmalade bubbling away on the stove, the steam misting up the cold windows of the kitchen. I am carrying on the tradition, and I think my mother would be proud of me.
Here’s my recipe. It really works well.
Kumquats look like miniature oranges, and although they are closely related to the citrus species, they belong to a different genus altogether.
Whereas most citrus fruits are considered sub-tropical, kumquats are very hardy and grow easily in home gardens. The round, ornamental variety of kumquats are common, but I prefer to cook the more firm, oval variety (pictured above). Nevertheless, all kumquats yield a delicious marmalade which is both refreshing and tangy. It is a favourite with those who don’t like their marmalade too sweet.
STANDING TIME: overnight (that’s the fruit and water standing, not you!)
PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: about 1 1/4 hours
YIELD: about 4 cups
3 cups (750ml) water
Wash the kumquats and slice them as finely as possible. Remove the seeds, if any, and reserve them. Combine the sliced fruit and water in a bowl or jug and leave overnight.
Next day, place the fruit and water mixture in a non-stick 3-litre/quart saucepan. Gather the reserved pips and tie them in a square of muslin to form a little bag. Drop the bag into the kumquat and water mixture and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, and simmer, tightly covered, for about 1 hour. By this time the fruit will be tender. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
Discard the muslin bag of pips. Pour the mixture into a bowl, measuring exactly how many cups there are. Add an equal volume of sugar and return the mixture to the saucepan.
Stir over low heat to dissolve the sugar. Return the mixture to the boil, and cook without stirring for 10-15 minutes, or until a spoon of the marmalade sets on a cold plate. You may like to keep the plate in the freezer for a quick set test.
Remove the marmalade from the heat. Skim off any scum from the surface and let the marmalade rest for 15 minutes. Spoon it into hot, sterilised jars. Cover immediately, and seal when cold.