It seems this as the year of the kumquat. Our little tree produced way more than Miss K and I could eat. The first hearty harvest lent itself to a canning adventure- her first! Knowing that our little grand has quite a sweet yet spicy nature, she and I opted for sweet preserves with a hit of spice and pizzaz. We used my basic marmalade recipe, replacing the orange with kumquats, and adding some star anice, because it is not only tasty, but just so cute. Cinnamon complelements citrus so well it had to join us.
You may be wondering how on earth I managed canning with a tot- simple. She loves to be on a chair at our side in the kitchen, washing produce and stiring ingredients. This girl will no doubt be quite a reicpe developer, as she insists on tasting as we go and expressing her opinion strongly while we add this and omit that.
So here we have it- the result of our garden adventures and our first little canning endeavor:
Miss K's Kumquat Preserves
1 lb fresh picked kumquats
1 lb granulated sugar
1 pint of water
3-4 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
Wash the kumquats and prick them in a few places. Bring a pot of water to boil; add the kumquats and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Drain, allowing to cool for handling.
If you are canning, start preparing your jars by sterilizing either in the dishwasher or boiling water and set your canner up.
Pierce the top of each kumquat with a sharp knife and squeeze the pit/seed out (or cut them in half and remove seed). From here you can leave them in halves if you want chunky preserves or, Miss K and I chopped them roughly for a bit smaller bites.
Dissolve the sugar in the quart of water *we used a heavy bottom pot. Add in the chopped fruit, star anise, cinnamon and bring to boil. *You can place the spices in a cheese cloth bundle if you like- we did, and added the seeds in order to extract the natural pectin and flavors. Simmer 45 minutes (lid off). Once the sauce starts to thicken and somewhat carmelize, you know you are ready. Remove the star anise and the cinnamon stick or the spice bundle.
Pour into prepared jars for small batch canning, or, like Miss K and I, pour into recycled baby food jars for sharing. *We did not can the baby food jars, but stored them in the fridge ready to use. If canning, small jars are processed in a water bath for 7 minutes. Let cool undisturbed for 24 hours to set.