Cumquat and blood orange marmalade

Cumquat and blood orange marmalade

When my parents visited last time, with them (among all manner of lovely treats from home) came a bag full of beautiful blood oranges from their greenhouse. There’s something about blood oranges that makes them seem very precious to me – maybe it’s their short season, or glorious ruby-colour, but whatever it is, I always feel pressure to treat them with respect and use them wisely.

Turning some of them into marmalade, with the addition of cumquats (another of my favourite citrus) seemed the right thing to do. That way their sunshiny-cheer will be enjoyed for months to come. Here’s to tea, toast and marmalade I say!

Cumquat and blood orange marmalade

Cumquat and blood orange marmalade

(makes 6 x 250ml jars)

Delicious with thickly buttered toast, this marmalade is sunshine in a jar! Feel free to change the ratio of cumquats and blood oranges depending on what you have available – as long as the total weight of fruit is 750g, you can’t really go wrong.

Cumquat and blood orange marmalade

Ingredients

400g cumquats
350g (about 2) blood oranges
2 star anise
2 litres water
1 kg caster sugar

Method

  1. Juice the cumquats and blood oranges into a large heavy-based saucepan or jam pan. (I find the best way is using one of those simple hand-held squashing juicers.) Slice the remaining squashed citrus halves as thinly as possible and add to the pan along with star anise and water.
  2. Bring to the boil over high heat and then turn down to medium and allow to simmer uncovered for an hour or so, or until rind is soft and slightly see-through.
  3. Whilst the marmalade is simmering, sterilize 6 x 250ml jam jars with lids.
  4. When the rind is ready, remove the pan from the heat and add sugar, stirring until completely dissolved. Return pan to the heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until marmalade reaches setting point*.
  5. Let the jam stand for a few minutes before pouring carefully into sterilized jars and sealing whilst hot.

Unopened marmalade can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 2 years. Once opened, refrigerate and eat within 6 months.

*The easiest way I’ve found to check setting point is to place a few small ceramic saucers in the freezer to chill. When you think your marmalade is ready, drop a small teaspoonful onto the chilled saucer, leave for a minute and then run your finger through the middle – if it leaves a clean line, that doesn’t dribble back together, your marmalade should be ready. (Although I have to admit, this is not a totally fail-safe method – I have had to re-boil a batch of jam on occasion when it has not set as expected. If you have a better method for me, please let me know!)

Cumquat and blood orange marmalade
Cumquat and blood orange marmalade