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Yield: 7 to 9 pint jars
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This example shows you how to make Kumquat jam. The yield from this recipe is about 8 eight-ounce jars (which is the same as 4 pints).
If you have your own trees (typically in Florida, Texas or California) or have a local farm to pick your own, you can obviously get better quality fruit!
As mentioned in the Ingredients section; you may use frozen kumquats (those without syrup or added sugar); which is especially useful if you want to make some jam in the off-season.
Jam can ONLY be made in rather small batches - about 6 to 8 cups at a time - like the directions on the pectin say, DO NOT increase the recipes or the jam won't "set" (jell, thicken). (WHY? Alton Brown on the Food Channel says pectin can overcook easily and lose its thickening properties. It is easier and faster to get an even heat distribution in smaller batches.
Now's a good time to get the jars ready, so you won't be rushed later. The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle, the water bath processing will sanitize them as well as the contents! If you don't have a dishwasher with a sanitize cycle, you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sanitize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes, and keep the jars in hot water until they are used.
NOTE: If a canning recipe calls for 10 minutes or more of process time in the canner, then the jars do not need to be "sanitized" before filling them. But really, sanitizing them first is just good hygeine and common sense! See this page for more detail about cleaning and sanitizing jars and lids.
Put the lids into a pan of hot, but not quite boiling water (that's what the manufacturer's recommend) for 10 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" to pull them out. Leave the jars in the dishwasher on "heated dry" until you are ready to use them. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when you fill them with the hot jam.
I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the kumquats in plain cold water.
Finely chop the kumquats and measure them before dropping them into a large stew pot. Chop up enough to make 2 cups of chopped fruit. That will probably take about 24 kumquats, but it does vary! If you want to make marmalade, instead of jam, cut kumquats in cartwheel slices with a very sharp knife, to make slices thin as possible.
Discard seeds, stems and the white center part.
the chopped or sliced fruit in 8-quart kettle. Add the 6 cups of water
(or orange juice) and 1/2 cup lemon juice. Bring to a quick boil, then turn
down the heat and cook gently for 1 hour, uncovered.
If peel is not tender in 1 hour, continue simmering until tender.
The Ball Blue book and many recipes suggest that the set is improved by allowing the mixture to stand, in a cool room or fridge for 12 to 18 hours.
If you want seedless, skimless jam, you may need to run the crushed cooked kumquats through a Foley food mill (at right). They cost about $30. If you want marmalade, just move on to the next step! Of ocurse, if you want jam, rather than marmalade, you'll need at least twice as many kumquats!
Measure out 5 cups of sugar. Of that 5 cups, remove 1/4 cup to use in the next step to mix with the pectin.
You can substitute honey or agave, but artificial sweeteners, like Stevia, my preference (or if you prefer, Splenda) or Aspartame generally don't work well)
Measure the cooked kumuats. Add water, as necessary, to make a total of 7 cups of the cooked kumquat puree with added water. Put back in pot. Stir the pectin into the kumquats and put the mix in a big pot on the stove over medium to high heat (stir often enough to prevent burning). It should take about 5 to 10 minutes to get it to a full boil (the kind that cannot be stirred away).
Why use pectin? You may run into grandmotherly types who sniff "I never used pectin!" at you. Well, sure, and their generation took a horse and buggy to work, died of smallpox and ate canned meat and green beans that tastes like wet newspapers. Old fashioned ways are not always better nor healthier. Pectin, which occurs naturally in fruit, is what makes the jam "set" or thicken. The pectin you buy is just natural apple pectin, more concentrated. Using pectin dramatically reduces the cooking time, which helps to preserve the vitamins and flavor of the fruit, and uses much less added sugar. But, hey, if you want to stand there and stir for hours, cooking the flavor away, who am I to stop you! :) Having said that, there are some fruits that have naturally high amounts of pectin (see this page for a list) and they simply don't need much or even any padded pectin.
Notes about pectin: I usually add about 25% - 30% more pectin (just open another pack and add a little) or else the jam is runnier than I like. With a little practice, you'll find out exactly how much pectin to get the thickness you like.
Another tip: use the no-sugar needed pectin. You can still add sugar to it and it cuts the amount of sugar you need from 7 cups per batch to 4 cups or less! And it tastes even better! On the other hand; I have never had success with the No-sugar pectin without adding ANY sugar. It always turned out runny and bland. You might want to try using the no-sugar recipe with a mixture of sugar and Stevia, my preference (or if you prefer, Splenda); sugar and white grape juice, or just white grape juice - that will cut down the sugar, but still preserve the flavor.
Is your jam too runny? Pectin enables you to turn out perfectly set jam every time. Made from natural apples, there are also natural no-sugar pectins that allow you to reduce the sugar you add by half or even eliminate sugar!
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Lids: put the lids into a pan of hot water for at least several minutes; to soften up the gummed surface and clean the lids.
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When the kumquat-pectin mix has reached a full boil, add the rest of the sugar (about 5 cups of sugar per batch of kumquats) and then bring it back to a boil and boil hard for 4 minutes... If you bring it back to a full boil fairly slowly (on medium heat rather than high) that will help reduce foaming.
Remove from heat.
Foam... What is it? Just jam with a lot of air from the boiling. But it tastes more like, well, foam, that jam, so most people remove it. It is harmless, though. Some people add 1 teaspoon of butter or margarine to the mix in step 6 to reduce foaming, but food experts debate whether that may contribute to earlier spoilage, so I usually omit it and skim.
But save the skimmed foam! You can recover jam from it to use fresh! See this page for directions!
(The photo is from strawberry jam, that's why it is red - I forgot to take a picture of this step with kumquats!)
I keep a metal tablespoon sitting in a glass of ice water, then take a half spoonful of the mix and let it cool to room temperature on the spoon. If it thickens up to the consistency I like, then I know the jam is ready. If not, I mix in a little more pectin (about 1/4 to 1/2 of another package) and bring it to a boil again for 1 minute.
Notes about "set" (thickening or jell): It takes 3 ingredients for jams and jellies to set: pectin, sugar and acidity. The amount of pectin that is naturally occurring in the fruit varies from one type of fruit to another and by ripeness (counter intuitively, unripe contains more pectin). See this page for more about pectin in fruit. It takes the right balance, and sufficient amounts of each of pectin, sugar and acidity to result in a firm jam or jelly. Lastly, it takes a brief period (1 minute) of a hard boil, to provide enough heat to bring the three together. Generally speaking, if your jam doesn't firm up, you were short in pectin, sugar or acidity or didn't get a hard boil. That's ok - you can "remake' the jam; see this page!
Fill them to within 1/4-inch of the top, wipe any spilled jam off the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them. Then put the filled jars into the canner!
This is where the jar tongs come in really handy!
Keep the jars covered with at least 2 inches of water. Keep the water boiling. In general, boil them for 5 minutes, which is what SureJell (the makers of the pectin) recommend. I say "in general" because you have to process (boil) them longer at higher altitudes than sea level, or if you use larger jars, or if you did not sanitize the jars and lids right before using them. The directions inside every box of pectin will tell you exactly. The directions on the pectin tend to be pretty conservative. Clemson University says you only need to process them for 5 minutes. I usually hedge my bets and start pulling them out after 5 minutes, and the last jars were probably in for 10. I rarely have a jar spoil, so it must work. But you don't want to process them too long, or the jam will turn dark and get runny. See the chart below for altitude adjustment to processing times, if you are not in the sea level to 1,000ft above sea level range.
Note 1: If you plan to eat the jam immediately, or don't have canning equipment, you can let it cool, then store it in the fridge or freezer! It will keep for a month or two in the fridge and almost indefinitely in the freezer
Note 2: Some people don't even boil the jars; they just ladle it hot into hot jars, put the lids and rings on and invert them. No authority I know recommends this, and putting the jars in the boiling water bath REALLY helps to reduce spoilage! To me, it makes little sense to put all the working into making the jam and then not to process the jars to be sure they don't spoil!
Recommended process time for kumquat jams in a boiling water canner.
|Process Time at Altitudes of|
|Style of Pack||Jar Size||0 - 1,000 ft||1,001 - 6,000 ft||Above 6,000 ft|
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.
It may take up to two weeks for the marmalade to set and thicken up. It will be runny until then!
Once cooled, they're ready to store. I find they last about 18 months. After that, the get darker in color and start to get runny. They still seem safe to eat, but the flavor is bland. So eat them in the first 12 to 18 months after you prepare them!
From left to right:
You can get all of the tools in a kit here:
Summary - Cost of Making Homemade Kumquat Jam or Marmalade - makes 8 jars, 8 oz each**
|Item||Quantity||Cost in 2020||Source||Subtotal|
|fresh whole kumquats||about 24||?||Pick your own||$|
|Canning jars (8 oz size), includes lids and rings||8 jars||$/dozen 8 oz jars
Lids alone are about $ per dozen
|Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$5.00|
|Sweetener - see step 4||4 cups||$1.75||Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$1.75|
|Pectin (no-sugar, low sugar or regular, dry)||1 and a third boxes||$2.10 per box||
or about $2.56 per jar
(if you already have the jars, and just need new lids: $1.82 per jar
And if you grow your own strawberries, it's almost free!
** - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars! abcxyz123.
Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion (raw)*
|Vitamin A||2,530 I.U.|
|Ascorbic Acid||151 mg|
As my jars are cooling after i take them out of the canner, they sometimes
make a popping or hissing noise. Is this normal and safe?
Yes, the lids are designed to flex and that's actually a key selling point. You can tell if a jar hasn't sealed properly (after it has cooled completely) if the lid flexes and makes a popping sound when you press the center of the lid with your finger. The popping sounds while it is cooling is the lid being sucked down by the vacuum that is forming inside the jar - which a normal part of the sealing process. Hissing sounds are usually just escaping steam or hot water evaporating on hot surfaces, also normal!