Day Project: Kumquat preserves!

A co-worker and I were talking about fruit. More our love of fresh foods in any capacity. I've never been a big fruit eater (I prefer veggies), but with the juicing and my CSA, I'm just a yacking machine about this kind of stuff.

"My Grandmother has a kumquat tree in her yard. I'll bring you some," my co-worker said. I walk into the office that Friday morning to a ten pound bag of fresh kumquats! Wow, I said. Thanks!

What the hell was I gonna do with all this freggin' fruit!? Yeah, I asked for it, but truth be told, I'd never really had much experience with kumquats. 

Full bowl of cleaned 'quats.

The bag (along side the bushel of fresh rosemary that was included, which is now drying hanging from my kitchen window) sat for most of the weekend, until I got my 'push' mentality and decided to use these kumquats for something and not waste this gift.

It took over an hour to de-seed these 'quats.
I did a bit of online research and found a multitude of preserves recipes. Canning, I though. I've never freaking canned anything! The fruit was free, and canning can't be *that* expensive, right? I mean people do it all the time. Every American kitchen can be a canning one-okay, I'll stop now.

On Sunday afternoon I went to my local big chain grocery store and picked up a pallet of single pint Mason jars. $12.99. Cool! I also picked up some fruit pectin and some sugar. Those 'quats are something bitter!

Just put them on the stove.
By now I had been stewing the 'quits for a good half day. The sugar I used was starting to caramel, which turned the vat a lovely auburn color. I cooked down the mix, added a packet of pectin, and set it to the side.

I got a new stew pot (one I bought just to make popcorn, don't judge me) and sterilized the jars. I set them to cool a bit then loaded them up with stewed 'quat goodness. I boiled the lids for a bit, screwed them on, then did a boiling bath on each jar for about seven minutes. *pink* went the button on the lid. That means the sealing was effective! I got six for six! WOW, canning IS easy!

The jars were cool this morning. From what folks were saying online is that it can take a couple of weeks for the jam, preserves, whatever you want to call it, to 'gel', so to speak. Its still a bit runny, but it's starting to thicken.

I mean, I can't believe it. I just got my ass into canning on a whim! It was easy and fast and required only a $12.99 purchase from me (plus some extra sugar). DOOD! Do you know what this means!? Yes, I think you do. Mama has a new hobby.

Fruit better watch out, there's a new player in town. This gal has a plan. Well, kinda a plan. Well, we will see.

Do you all can?


  1. If you're serious about canning, you're gonna need some supplies. You'll need a canning pot, a jar funnel, and a jar lifter. They all make canning *easier*, and are worth having. And the canning pot is also useful for things like removing stains from clothes....

    You can get 'em at your local Ace Hardware or another hardware store....

  2. I second those suggestions, as they do make canning easier. Congrats on your kumquat success! I have done juice from wild grapes, blackberry, strawberry, and peach jam, squash relish, applesauce, etc. I haven't seen the lids with the dot on them- that sounds helpful. It's good to have a canning book on hand for when you have too much of something. The Ball Blue Book is a good one, and it will tell you what not to do for food safety too (some people can in the dishwasher!)

  3. I love to make Apricot jam when stone fruits are in season here in Australia. It's particularly good with some fresh chilli added during the cooking process for a bit of extra kick. Yummmm!

  4. love kumquats,just bought a tree,we eat them out of hand,sweet skin.Can't wait to have enough to can.Jam that doesn't set make great syrup.

  5. Thanks for the tips everyone! I was reading on canning for most of Sunday, and aside from the jar lifter (which is why there is string on the cans), I think Im set on supplies.

    A pot for the boiling would be nice, but I have quite a few large pots now, so I might just make due with what I got. Right now I have no more need to can, but its so cool to know that canning is something I can do!

  6. The funnel is going to make a lot of other kitchen stuff a whole lot easier. My obsession has been rose hip jam, which would explain my skulking about in public plantings of rosa rugosa, wondering "have these been sprayed???" Seconds also on the Ball Blue Book. There are a lot of recipes online that aren't safe, and I'm just not ready to die for my canning. When in doubt, assume you need to treat it like fresh and eat it ASAP. Or pickle it.

    Meanwhile, I have to go back to prepping water bottles for the set for a play. Whoever came up with the idea of making a bottle curtain, well, I'm tired of dumpster diving.

  7. Yes, LOVE to can! My lovely inlaws gave me a whole canning set for my birthday this year and so I made my first apple preserves and like you, I'm hooked. I can't wait until the strawberries and other fruits, and veg for that matter, are in season so I can really get started!

  8. Just be careful not to set the jars directly on the bottom of the pan when boiling them. If you don't get a canning kettle with the rack then put a folded up bath towel or maybe a round cake cooling rack on the bottom. Canning kettles are pretty common at flea markets too & usually pretty cheap.

  9. I used gridded aluminum foil at the bottom of my stock pot for the canning. Worked pretty well, but if I find a rah, then Ill get one.

  10. I was fortunate enough to get my mother's (& grandmother's) hand-me-down canning supplies: canner, funnel, lifting tongs, and tonnes of reading material from back when it was 'normal' for people to do a lot of canning at home. I don't have a lot of time or space to can these days but still love to when I get the opportunity. Knowing your acidity, time, & temperature is vital. Have fun with it! There are lots of fun foods out there to can! :)

  11. I'm going to have to disagree with every one else on the supplies :) My grandma used to be a gardener and she still has a huge garden with all those old fruit trees. Once or twice a year I the whole family drives there and we make loads and loads of jams and canned fruit. All we have ever used is a huge pot, lots of sugar and old jars from store-bought conserves. That stuff probably helps but don't let anyone discourage you if you want to go without ;)


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