Easy Homemade Kumquat Jam
Recipe & Preparation
- A large pot or a Canner (special canning pot) large enough to hold your jars of jam. *You can purchase this online or a homegoods store.
- A Tea Towel or Dishtowel
- A Jar Lifter (this is a jar lifter that is coated with plastic to make it easier for you to lift the jars out of hot water).
- Canning Jars. *You can buy them at Wholefoods, Michaels, Home Depot, or online at remarkably low prices.
- Kumquat - as much as you can get your hands on or as you care to jam
- Muscovado Sugar to taste *You can pour and taste and add more sugar until you achieve the level of sweetness you like. **Muscovado sugar is less processed and hasn’t been bleached or boiled, and therefore may be slightly better for the planet.
- 1 package of unsweetened Natural Pectin
- 1-2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice to taste *optional
- Water (amount depends on amount of Kumquat you’re processing)
- A couple of pinches of Salt *Amount varies depending on how large your batch is and entirely optional. The idea is that a pinch of salt enhances the sweetness.
- *Optional Additions: Liqueur, Ginger, Lavender, or Chilipepper Flakes
Wash your fruit well
- Sterilize your jars. You can sterilize them in your dishwasher or boil for 10 minutes in a large pot of water or a canner. Do not put the lids in the dishwasher as the hot settings may destroy or strip the sealants around the rim, which you will need to create a vacuum effect to properly preserve your jam. You can heat and soften the lids separately in a pot of just-boiled-but-not-simmering hot water.
- Sterilize jars and lids just before you cook the jam so that they’ll still be hot when you’re done cooking and are ready to fill the jars with jam. **Make sure the jars are hot when you pour hot jam into them. If you pour hot boiling jam into a jar that is not hot, the glass will crack or shatter.
- Cut up your fruit. Or, if you prefer, leave them whole! You will simply need to boil them for a longer length of time to tenderize the fruit.
- Prepare your pectin in a cup of water, stirring to dissolve the clumps, set aside
- Boil your fruit in a large pot for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how much fruit you have. The more fruit you have, and the smaller your pot, the longer you must boil to tenderize the rind of the fruit. Pour in a cup of water for every 2 or 3 cups of fruit. Your mixture should not be as watery as a soup, but just enough liquid to ensure the fruit does not burn dry.
- After about 30 to 45 minutes, pour in your sugar & salt, and turn down the heat to a simmer. Simmer the mixture for another 10 minutes and taste your jam and make adjustments, adding additional sweetener or lemon juice until you have reached your preferred flavor. At this time, you may add any additions; for example, a touch of Liqueur for a more European flavor – I recommend a few Tablespoons of Grand Marnier, a few slices of Ginger, or Lavender buds, as I did in mine.
- After you have combined all of your flavors, pour in your pectin and lemon juice. Simmer for another 15-30 minutes to thicken and complete the blending of all of your ingredients. Stir periodically to avoid burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once you feel you have achieved a thick enough consistency, turn the heat off and let the jam set for a while on the stove while you prepare the jars for pouring and sterilizing. You can check the thickness by spooning some onto a cold spoon. If the jam runs off the spoon too quickly, you may need to simmer the mixture a bit longer, or add a little more pectin.
POURING & STERILIZING
*Goal: Water Bath canning is done so that you can heat the contents of the jars to 212 degrees (boiling water) and kill the bacteria and microorganisms inside the jar and at the same time, drive out the air in the headspace allowing the jar lids to compress and seal. What you will be left with is a jar that is airtight and free of bacteria that can't grow inside the jar. http://www.sbcanning.com/2012/07/water-bath-canning-step-by-step.html
- First, make sure you have a large pot or Canner full of simmering hot water on the stove. *Canners are especially built with racks to hold jars in place, but if you do not have a Canner, simply place a dishtowel or tea towel in the bottom of the pot to help keep the jars in place during the sterilization process.
- Then, line up your hot jars with its corresponding hot lids to prepare for pouring and covering as soon as your jam is poured into the jars.
- Pour the hot jam into the hot jars. Fill the jars to about an inch below the rim to leave some room for air to escape during the boiling process. Wipe the rims of any excess jam with a clean cloth. Cover and twist lids to a “finger light” tightness to give the jars a little room to expand while boiling. *This means you twist the lids and tighten until tight against just your fingers.
- Put the hot jars of hot jam into the boiling pot of water or Canner. Cover lightly and boil for 10-15 minutes to sterilize. *Sterilization occurs only after at least 10-15 minutes of a low-rolling boil (about 212F degrees) Simmering for 10-15 minutes will not achieve the same result.
- After 10-15 minutes of boiling and your jars of jam are sterilized, turn off the heat and let sit for additional 5 minutes.
- After 5-10 additional minutes, take the jars out of the water using your canning tongs (Jar lifter) and place jars on a tray or on a towel to collect any water that rolls off the jars. *Do not place upside down, as this will make it harder for air to escape from the headspace within the jars which allows the jar lids to compress and seal. Almost immediately, and over the new few hours or overnight, you should hear a “POP” or “Ping” noise coming from each jar, signaling the escape of any excess air and compression of the lids to give you a nice vacuum seal which will prevent bacteria entering and spoiling the jams inside the jars.
- Leave the jars on the towel or tray overnight to allow a gradual and thorough cooling. After cooling, you may check the lids to make sure you have achieved a proper seal on each jar. To ensure the jars have sealed, press your finger down the middle of the lids to see if they are compressed down. If the center of the lid resists against your finger or if it goes down when you press, you have not achieved a proper seal. *Do not place jars in the pantry if the jar has not been properly sealed. Instead, keep any unsealed jars in the refrigerator and finish within four or five days.
Store properly sealed jam jars in a cool, dry pantry area to keep up to 1 year. Enjoy your homemade jam over bread and a pat of butter, or paired with a nice brie, parmesan, or cheddar!