Having (accidentally) picked about 6.5kg of cumquats this week, I feel obliged to try to put them to good use. Phase one is a jam run, using my standard cumquat jam recipe – tried and tested many times with excellent results. This has used up 3.3kg of fruit, which means there’s still a giant bowlful staring at me balefully – waiting to be used. I used a further 40 cumquats this morning creating a version of the Anna Gare cake I mentioned in an earlier blogjune post – it smells fabulous and I’m not at all sure it’s going to last until our mid-winter feast tomorrow night…

Cumquat hazelnut cake

This is my jam recipe (with comments). It works, it’s tasty and it uses up cumquats 🙂

  1. pick your cumquats, wash them, slice them in half and prise the (oh so many!) pips out (be warned, this step takes a while – and if you have any little cuts or cracks in your fingers, you’ll know ALL about them!).
  2. make sure you save the pips (this is important).
  3. weigh your fruit. for every 1kg of fruit, add 1.5 litres of water.
  4. leave the fruit to soak overnight (yes, this is important: do it).
  5. cover the pips (the ones you save in step 2) with water, cover and leave for 12 – 24 hours (also important).
  6. transfer you fruit/water mix into a large stock pot (unless, like me, you soaked it in one to save time)
  7. bring the mix up to the boil slowly
  8. strain your pips into the mix, maxing sure you maximise the amount of goo (pectin from the pips) you get in whilst also avoiding any pips going into the mix
  9. simmer your fruit for about an hour or until the skins are soft
  10. pop a couple of saucers in the freezer – you’ll need them later
  11. measure the fruit mix and add 1 cup of sugar per cup of fruit mix (white sugar results in prettier jam, but I’ve used raw sugar and it makes no difference to the taste).
  12. you now need to return the mix to the heat and stir it until the sugar’s all dissolved – don’t bring it to the boil yet!
  13. once the sugar’s dissolved, then bring the mix to the boil and keep it at a rapid boil (uncovered) for 40 – 60 minutes > basically until the mix jels if you test it on a cold saucer. Mix should be at about 105C (mine went a bit over that last night, so the jam’s a bit darker in colour than usual).
  14. stand for a few minutes, then pour the jam into hot sterilised (dry) jars.
  15. we pop the lids on the jars and tighten them while the mix is still hot to ensure a good seal

You now have many jars of jam (we made 28) — and your visitors will also start to look nervous as they try to ward off culinary gifts 🙂

By the by, if your fruit isn’t  all completely ripe, the pips will probably be a little underdeveloped and may not provide sufficient pectin. I decided to add a sachet of Fowlers Vacola Jamsetta last night (first time I’ve used it in cumquat jam) to compensate… and the results were spectacular. The jam overflowed across the top of the stove – very suddenly, unexpetedly and dramatically! Not much lost, but a hell of a job to clean up.

Note to self: for future reference: turn the heat off before adding a commercial jam setter – and add it slowly

cumquatjamtime_23jun16

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