Please Pass the Recipe

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Cumquat Marmalade with Liqueur

Cumquat marmalade bestI have a small cumquat tree in a pot. I’m not much of a green thumb so it’s testament to the hardiness of the cumquat that it has survived twenty plus years, including three house moves, two droughts, attack by mealy bugs and aphids, caterpillars and spiders. It has never been repotted and it’s lucky to be fed twice a year. Occasionally in spring I cut it back hard and try and shape it into an elegant topiary, but mostly it just gets watered.

The scent of my cumquat tree when in bloom is sublime. It doesn’t always produce a crop of fruit worth making marmalade with, but most years it does.

For those of you who have never tasted cumquat marmalade, the flavour is akin to bitter oranges, but fuller, deeper and more intense. Cumquats make THE best marmalade. I always have an oversupply in my pantry but I can’t bear to let the fruit rot.


1 kg cumquats

5 cups waterCumquat marmalade close

1.75 kg white sugar

Juice of a large lemon

1/4 cup Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Vodka


Wash the cumquats. Halve each fruit, scoop out the seeds and set them aside. Slice the fruit very thinly into a non corrosive bowl. Tie the seeds into a piece of muslin and tuck them under the fruit. Cover the fruit with cold water and set aside for a minimum of 8 hours.

Bring the cumquats, seeds and water to the boil, add the lemon juice, then reduce the heat and cook uncovered at a high simmer until the liquid has reduced by half.

Add the sugar and stir until well dissolved.

Continue to cook the marmalade until thick and it gels when tested.

You can test if the marmalade is ready by dropping a small amount on a plate, quickly cooling it in the fridge, then dragging your finger through the dob of syrup. If the edges of the marmalade do not ooze, cooking is complete.

Remove the pot from the heat and carefully stir in the liqueur. It may spit so take care.

Spoon the marmalade into sterilised jars and seal. Will keep for 2 years plus.

To sterilize jars, put just washed wet jars and metal lids in the oven at 120C for 30 minutes. Boil plastic lids for 5 minutes.

Cumquat marmalade over


About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

11 comments on “Cumquat Marmalade with Liqueur

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  4. marymtf
    May 11, 2013

    You know I’ll never make this marmalade, don’t you? I wouldn’t be able to make up my mind whether it’s got to be Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Vodka, so I’d buy them all. Then I’d taste test them all. No, I’m going to have to buy the cumquat marmalade and drink the Vodka.


  5. Karen
    May 11, 2013

    I’m sure you marmalade is delicious. I used to have three trees growing just outside my kitchen door when I lived in Florida. I never see them at the markets in New England.


    • ladyredspecs
      May 11, 2013

      Like most citrus, they fruit in autumn. The commercial market here in Melbourne ( hot summers, cool winters) is very short and you only ever see cumquats in “better” green groceries.


  6. Fig & Quince
    May 10, 2013

    I don’t have a green thumb either (much to my chagrin) so I’m happy to find out that cumquat tree (in a pot no less) is hardy enough to nevertheless thrive, have to get me one! The cumquat marmalade sounds divine,I do love mildly-bitter jams and marmalades.


    • ladyredspecs
      May 10, 2013

      Cumquats like to be pot bound so are good for brown thumbed people!


  7. ohlidia
    May 9, 2013

    You know, I’ve never had this fruit. I’ve seen it at the grocer’s but wasn’t sure how to eat it? Do you just pop the whole thing in your mouth? And the ones I’ve seen are oval-shaped. Is there a difference? Would love a taste of your marmalade!


    • ladyredspecs
      May 10, 2013

      Cumquats are very bitter and like olives, are almost unpalatable until subjected to a little TLC. Besides making fantastic marmalade, they are delicious pickled in sweetened brandy. The fruit is a delicious counterpoint to super sweet desserts, and the brandy a delicious citrus digestif.


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This entry was posted on May 9, 2013 by in FODMAP diet, Food, Gluten Free, Jam & Curd, Preserves and tagged , .
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