Tangy, tan­ta­lis­ing cumquats

Life & Style Weekend - - TASTE -

CIT­RUS sea­son. Mm­mmm … and it’s great to get a big hit of vi­ta­min C just when we need it most.

How­ever, one must be an afi­cionado of sharp flavours to en­joy the taste of a cumquat. The small, round-to-oval bright orange fruit are a bit of a mouth-puck­er­ing as­sault on the palate when eaten fresh (my sali­vary glands are in full squirt as I write this), but they come into their own for mar­malade, jams and pre­serves.

When cook­ing mar­malade, the ad­di­tion of nat­u­ral pectin from the seeds and juice of a le­mon will aid in the set­ting of the pre­serve. Re­mem­ber, with all mar­malade recipes the fruit re­quires soak­ing overnight, so leave your­self some ex­tra time.

Cumquat mar­malade

Makes 5x300ml jars

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS: ◗ 1kg cumquats, washed and quar­tered (keep the seeds) ◗ 1L water ◗ juice and seeds of 2 lemons ◗ 1kg sugar

METHOD: Place pre­pared fruit in plas­tic con­tainer with a lid, cover with the water and soak overnight. Put three saucers into the freezer. Place seeds of cumquats and lemons in a cup and cover with a lit­tle boil­ing water; soak overnight. Strain liq­uid from the seeds, keep­ing the liq­uid. Dis­card the seeds and add that water to the fruit. Cook gen­tly on a low heat, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til the fruit is ten­der and the liq­uid is re­duced by half; about 30 min­utes. You can do this step in a pres­sure cooker if you have one; the fruit will cook in about 5-8 min­utes.

Add the sugar and le­mon juice, stir­ring gen­tly; turn up the heat and boil rapidly un­til the mix­ture jells (around 30-45 min­utes). Stir of­ten, or the mar­malade will burn. To test if the mar­malade is jelling, spoon a lit­tle on to one of the cold saucers. If a skin forms, and it glazes on the sur­face and wrin­kles when touched, it is ready. Turn the heat off un­der the saucepan while you are test­ing it. If it is still runny, turn the heat back up and boil for a lit­tle longer (3-4 min­utes); test again. Pour into hot ster­ilised jars and seal.

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