Urban Preserving: Small Batch Kumquat Marmalade

January 12, 2012(updated on October 3, 2018)

a pound of kumquats

Kumquats aren’t like other citrus fruit. Instead of having a tart rind and a sweet interior, they keep their sugar in the skin and have their pucker on the inside. It took me years to realize that the best way to eat them is to pop them into your mouth whole and take a big bite. That way, you blend the flavors into a single, delicious marriage.

quartered kumquats

If eating whole kumquats isn’t your thing, don’t think that there isn’t a place for them in your life. They just happen to make a luscious, if slightly energy-intensive, marmalade. Because they demand a lot in the chopping department, I find that it’s best to keep your kumquat marm batches tidy and contained. That makes them downright perfect for my every-so-often Urban Preserving category.

kumquat ribbons

Take one pound of kumquats and wash them. Pick them over well to make sure that you don’t have any that are turning to mush (I bought mine at an Asian grocery story, tied up in a mesh bag, and the ones in the center were liquifying). Cut off the stem end and slice the kumquat into quarters.

pectin bag

When all the kumquats are quartered, use a sharp paring knife to cut away the inner membrane and any seeds (reserve these! They will provide our pectin). This leaves you with a small piece of rind with some pulp still attached. Then lay these stripped quarters rind side up and chop them into ribbons (I warned you that it was energy-intensive).

finished marm

When all the chopping is done, you should have about two cups of chopped kumquat bits, and a scant cup of reserved seeds and membrane. Place the seeds and membrane in the center of a square of cheesecloth and tie it up well so that nothing can escape.

Place the chopped kumquat in a large pot with 2 cups water and 1 1/2 cups sugar (I used plain white sugar, but you could easily use unrefined cane sugar. Just know that your finished product will be a bit darker). Pop the bundle of seeds and membranes in there too.

two half pints of kumquat marmalade

Bring to a boil and cook for 15-25 minutes, until it reaches 220°F. The wider your pot, the faster it will cook (I used a 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset, and my cooking time was right around 20 minutes). Once it has reached temperature and seems quite thick, remove marmalade from heat. Funnel into two prepared half pint jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a small batch canning pot for 10 minutes.

I love this kind of canning. Small batches means you get to try different flavors and combinations. And when a recipe yields just two half pints it means you have one to keep and one to share.

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54 thoughts on "Urban Preserving: Small Batch Kumquat Marmalade"

  • I discovered a few years ago, with a batch of meyer lemon marmalade, that once you remove the seeds, the food processor with a 1/8″ slicing blade is a godsend when it comes to slicing citrus. Mine comes with a chute that can be adjusted to take tiny things (such as kumquats) without them falling over, it might not work so well with a normal chute.

  • I’m definitely holding onto this one. I first had a kumquat a few years ago and immediately became obsessed. Can’t wait to give this a try!

  • I got that small batch canning pot for Christmas (!) and this will be its first canning event! Can I process both half pints at the same time, one on top of the other?

  • Have you tried Ashley English’s kumquat marmalade with 5 spice powder? I was dubious when making it, but it is wonderful! It tastes like winter holidays!!

  • Kumquats always remind me of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. One of our Krewe members always brings huge bags to give away to the crowds. Kudus to you Marisa for the Food in Jars being mentioned in the Oregonian this week.

  • My husband and I went citrus-picking for New Years Eve, and ended up with about 7 lbs. of kumquats, as they make great filler between oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit. They filled all the little gaps, and I had no idea how many we had till we got home! After unsuccessfully eating them as-is…too tart for either hubby or myself, I turned to the internet to find what we could do with them, as I hate anything to go to waste. We ended up with 10 – 1/2 pint jars of candied kumquat goodness – 4 are spiced, 4 with vanilla bean, and 2 just candied. If I’d found this recipe, we’d have marmalade instead of the spiced variation! My husband and I have a new appreciation for kumquats now, candied they are divine with cheese and crackers, and I can’t wait to send jars to family. I’m thinking kumquat picking may become an annual family tradition!

  • I swear this is not a spam, post even though it sounds that way… but today’s deal on Markdown(dot)com is 200 Tattler lids (100 regular + 100 wide mouth) for about $86. A heck of a deal, especially since they’re reuseable.


    I’m considering the purchase myself, but I have yet to work with the Tattlers so I’m not sure I want to put that much money down (though I suppose if I did I’d be forced to figure them out haha).

  • This one is jazzy. I made your 3 citrus marmalade the other day and then glazed a beef roast with some later in the day.. DIVINE! Your marmalade is awesome.. c

  • I think your last three pictures should be moved down a couple paragraphs; otherwise i can’t wait to try this recipe!

  • Oh, I’m so excited to make this. I used to live in Louisiana, and we would sit in the kumquat tree and eat them fresh!! This will surely trigger fond memories. thanks for the recipe!

  • We rented a house this past September that has 3 orange trees, 1 grapefruit and what I thought was a kumquat tree. Since it is kumquat season now I will have to assume the kumquat tree is actually a loquat tree since I do not have fruit yet.

    Yesterday I made a citrus marmalade using oranges and grapefruit. It turned out great. Next batch I will be making will be orange marmalade.

    If my loquat tree gives me any fruit I will be trying out this recipe! Thanks.

  • Oh, such pretty jars. Your pantry stash is getting more valuable by the minute. I’ve been so enjoying the marmalade you gave me at BSP; I can only imagine how exquisite this new batch is!

  • This recipe is definitely going to get used! I haven’t canned before, so this seems pretty manageable. As a bonus, there are three kumquat trees behind my condo just bursting with fruit, so I think I can get away with picking some fruit without anyone noticing. Thanks, Marisa!

  • perfect timing! i got my hands on a pint of kumquats, and thought of marmalade. then, this recipe showed up on my fb feed! thanks, i am making it right now.

  • Just finished making this. The color of my marmalade is extremely pale in comparison to the deep orange you obtained. Hope I didn’t screw anything up…

    Oh well, the sample bite I took was delicious!

  • i’m a bit confused as to how you wind up with any pulp left on the rinds if you remove the inner membrane – isn’t that what separates the pulp from the rind to begin with?

    1. Jenn, I didn’t remove the entirety of the inner membrane. Just the hard part that runs through the very center of the kumquat.

      1. ah! thanks for the tip – i’ll be making this today (and some meyer lemon/kumquat marmalade – i have 2 lbs of kumquats and 5 lbs of meyer lemons to process!).

  • If instead of cutting the kumquats lengthwise into quarters, you start by cutting in half across their equator, you can pop the seeds out pretty easily by squeezing lightly (do it over a bowl to catch any liquid). After that you can proceed with hand or processor chopping, as one reader suggested. This also works well with Cleopatra tangerines (those tiny sour ones with the very loose sweet skin full of oil glands, much like the kumquats) – treat them the same way and make marmalade with them too!

    1. Ooh! And I know where to find Margie (we live in the same city) and her amazing produce – I might just have to find her soon at market and get some of those Cleopatras! (and all of a sudden, the internet feels like a small town…)

  • I tripled the recipe and found it took a long time to reach 220. I also had 4 half pints result instead of 6 so they are a little too sweet. When doubling or tripling do you reduce the sugar? Thanks for your awesome blog!

  • I ADORE Kumquat marmalade! I made it for the first time this year and I can’t get enough! I’ll have to try your recipe, mine was a little different. I also can’t wait to try the honey lemon marmalade you posted, it sounds wonderful as well!

  • I made this marmalade today and it was VERY labor intensive but it looks amazing! After I processed the jars the lids never went, “ping!” Is that bad??

  • Yup, just made some and very yum. A first for me both raw and marmalade. I just got back into canning after having some extra berries left over from the holidays and happened to fall into this blog. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  • I wish we still had a healthy fruit bearing kumquat tree or any good orange for that matter. Hurricane Charlie wrecked havoc on many citrus with the ‘greening’ syndrome. However I was given a nice bag of mandarin oranges and knew the 2 of us would not get them eaten before they began to dry out. So, looked back for your small batch recipes and using some of several just finished making 2 half-pints of lucious mandarin marmalade plus a little to enhance the remainder of some store bought substitute. Thanks again for these hints and your daily blog, it is often the first thing I read at 6 AM!

  • My mother in law shipped me 5 lbs of sweet kumquats from Florida last week!
    She had attempted the small batch recipe, which took her (literally) all day as she kept having to take breaks. She finally got to the cooking to 220* part and after 2 hrs (seemed like a lot to me too) it burnt to the bottom of her pan and destroyed the pan. She said she ran it outdoors and set it on the grass, where it promptly killed a circle of lawn. My father in law ran outside, yelled about the grass, yelled about the pan and the smokey house and then stormed off. She said she sat down and cried.
    Who hasn’t had a canning experience like that? Or, maybe not THAT bad, but bad enough? I asked her to send some to me and I’d do it. Well, I am here to tell you that it is an ass-busting job making it! I found a couple of short cuts, and Lord knows, they’re needed! First, when cutting, I cut in half and used the small end of my melon baller to get out seeds and membranes! Worked like a charm!!!
    Next, I cut them one at a time, by squishing it flat and slicing diagonally into ribbons. In total I had about 5 cups of rind/slices. I made one batch according to recipe above. The other I did 1.5 (so 3 C of rind/slices). I used 3 C water and 2 1/4 C of sugar.
    Both batches cooked beautifully. One reached 220 in 45 mins and one in 60. Same sized pots BTW.
    My last bit of advice is this, once you’ve gotten it to 215* or so, take out the cheesecloth bundle. It’s likely extracted the pectin at that point and those last 5* it gets very thick, very sparse (reg batch is only 1 pint!!!) and it is my feeling that it is what led to the canning tragedy at MIL’s house.
    Thanks Marissa! Love your help and your recipes SO much!!

  • I have just finished making yet another batch of kumquat marmalade, our tree is only 5 feet high but is the most productive tree we have. my wife can not bear to waste anything so she picks every one. We have them liquidised in jellies for a desert, and I make marmalade. the ones I have just processed were put in the freezer after deseeding, now months later we need space for the Quince crop, so the kumquats had to be dealt with. After defrosting I put them through the liquidiser in one kilogram batches [2.2 lbs], with just enough water to make them flow and added an equal weight of sugar. In the past I have had a problem getting the boil up to 220 degrees, however this time I had a really vigorous boil going and almost burned the bottom, I may have to slice this batch if I can get it out of the jars.I used to make jam in the microwave untill one lot boiled over, and ran down the cooker into every nook and cranny, this small batch production works fine even if each batch comes out slightly different

  • i tried doing this…great..but i discovered an easier way of dealing with the membrane, if you cut the fruit lengthwise, you can just flip the rind over and the whole thing will come off…

  • Add a half of a habenero pepper to this, but remove before canning. It’s just the right amount of heat for the sweet, amazing! Add it to caramelized onions for a delicious chicken topping. Yum.

  • How much is a Kg of kumquat? & how much is a litre? Thank you Trying to make kumquat jam for first time.

  • I made this today and it came out great!
    It is very different to orange marmalade, it is
    very tart with a hint of grapefruit and a slightly bitter finish.
    Such a beautiful layering of flavors, yum!

  • First harvest from kumquat tree. I tried this recipe today using cane sugar. I never got to 220f and parts started to burn at 35 minutes. Only one half pint was able to be squeaked out if it. Suggestions for next time?

    1. Megan, I wonder if your thermometer was calibrated correctly, because it shouldn’t have started to burn under that temperature. What’s the texture of the finished product? Were you stirring?

  • Just finished making this. Super easy and delicious. Thanks! It wasn’t registering 220 on my candy thermometer so decided to check with my thermapen and it was right at 220. Others who have had the same problem may want to double check their calibration. Also, my yield was 3 half pint jars. Can’t wait to eat them.

  • Just a trick that my family uses FYI. Blanche the kumquats, slice one end when cool enough to handle and squeeze out all the pulp and seeds, very easy. Put the insides into a cheesecloth bag or make your own with a thin cotton towel, tied with kitchen string and cook with the peels to get the pectin. I have two large trees so I make large quantities for gifts, etc. I use the jam to make my own version of panforte, which is quite good.

  • I would like to print the recipe, however, there is no print button that allows us to do so.
    Can you help? We cannot take the computer to the kitchen

  • I don’t have a small batch canning pot, and I’m prepping this marmalade for immediate consumption (1-3 days). Can I skip this last step? Please let me know #homemadejamvirgin

    1. Yes. If you’re just going to eat it, there’s no need to process the jars. Just funnel it into your jars, let them cool, and refrigerate.

  • I’ve been kumquat marmalade for years from David Lebovitz’ recipe, the only difference is that I don’t add lemon nor leave it overnight. I have never had a batch that wasn’t less than perfect, and I don’t remove the pith. It takes enough time to slice them, I can’t imagine that extra work! Really not needed, the seeds alone give you all the pectin you need.

  • I have some kumquats and some mandarines, can I mix them together to make marmalade? My tangerine marmalade recipe does not mention the seed cooking part, but if firms up beautifully. Trying to figure out the difference, well, actually trying to figure out a way to get around the seed cooking thing.

  • This one is a keeper and delicious!
    Tip for peeling! I was working away quartering them and then tried another way to perfection!
    tools: small rounded appetizer cheese knife. small bowl with a flat bottom – turned upside down
    Cut ends off and slice longways across the peel.
    use your dull, rounded cheese knife to hold one end of the peel and wind the kumquat out off it’s peel.

    I lightly smashed the insides to get the seeds out to use for their pectin.

    Hope this helps you.

  • I have made this recipe 3 times now it is delicious! Thank you for sharing! I double it every time with no issues. I get compliments from everyone I share it with! This last time I doubled the recipe and added 1/4 cup finely chopped habanero’s it turned out great!