There are definite perqs to working at the farmer’s market. I often don’t get to do my personal shopping until late in the morning, well after the rush. Shopping that late in the morning means less variety but more room for bargaining, especially from the farmers who are close to selling out for the day and want to go home. While I was paying for my sour oranges I asked about the little baskets of calamondins, shaped like squat little satsumas. The sour calamondins weren’t selling as well as they would have liked so the farmer offered me the rest of what she had- four baskets!- for one dollar. How could I pass that up?
Once I had the calamondins stripped of stems, quartered and seeded, I didn’t think I had enough fruit to make a decent-sized pot of marmalade, so I sent the kids out to pick kumquats. We seem to have the never-ending kumquat tree. There never seems like fewer on the tree, no matter how many we pick. So then we cut up and seeded a pound or so of kumquats to mix with the calamondins. The three kids and I finished this task in about thirty minutes. I was so grateful to them for the help I baked banana bread.
I used a recipe suggested by a friend on a Facebook thread based on ratios, not measurements, so you can use it no matter how much or how little fruit you have on hand. I make some mistake or another every time I make preserves. This time I added too much water at the beginning, because at the end there was a quart of gorgeous calamondin-kumquat syrup left after filling all the jars. I am still counting this marmalade a success since it tastes absolutely luscious. I’m giving the amounts below for exactly what I did, but follow the method, not the amounts! This also came out as a very soft-set marmalade.
1 1/2 lb calamondins
1 1/2 lb kumquats
5 lb organic “blonde” cane sugar like Florida Crystals
Carefully wipe clean the fruit if necessary. Then cut each fruit in half, pick out the seeds, and cut in half again. Kumquat seeds are hard to see, so gently squeezing the kumquat halves will usually spit out the seed cavity and you can just pull out the whole thing. The rind is the important part of a kumquat. Put all fruit in a non-reactive jam pot. Add only enough water to barely cover fruit, maybe a little less. Bring to a boil and boil for 15 minutes. Turn off, less cool, and put in the fridge overnight.
The next day, carefully measure the fruit/water mixture into a clean non-reactive pot. Add an equal measurement of sugar to the pot. Bring slowly to a full boil, stirring frequently. Keep at a full, rolling boil, stirring constantly, for 15-20 minutes. Mine passed the cold-plate test at 20 minutes.
Can in a boiling water-bath for 15 minutes.