It’s been all marm, all the time around here for the last week or two, what with Meyer lemons, Rio Red grapefruit, and blood oranges, kumquats and Kaffir limes all rolling around my counter tops. And trust me, there are worse things than having 40 lbs of California and Texas citrus perfuming the kitchen in the midst of a snowy, snowy Polar Vortex New York winter. I’ve been enjoying a lot of citrus fresh: grapefruit for breakfast, blood orange as an afternoon snack, Meyer lemon in everything, it seems. But there is still plenty of it left, and without room in the fridge for 40 lbs of citrus, it starts looking a little peaked pretty quickly. Marmalade to the rescue!
As much as I love my old standbys, and Tai has his favorites, I like to make up new recipes as the whim strikes me. For some reason this year, I swore to myself that I was not going to make up wacky, overly complicated or complex marmalade recipes: I was going to keep it simple. Classic. Subtle. You can see how well that worked out.
This one, though: it’s pretty nice. It’s one of those marmalades that you taste, and can’t quite put your finger on what citrus it is, but in a good way, if you know what I mean. Sometimes too much complexity in a recipe, especially a preserve, can lead to a muddy mess of flavors; none of them really stand out and they don’t harmonize well together. Other times, however, layers of flavor can overlap and combine in wonderful ways, and create something very unique. This one was really quite lovely straight out of the pot: sour kumquat, tangy-sweet Meyer lemon, and the savory Asian influence of salt, chile and Kaffir lime. I’m interested to see how it mellows and ages on the shelf.
I’m going to try to post a few more marmalade recipes next week: the counters are packed full of jars as we speak! A straight-up blood orange marm, blood orange + kumquat + tequila, kumquat + habañero, and more. Stay tuned!
- ¾ lb Meyer lemons, divided
- 1 lb kumquats, sliced crosswise
- 2 Kaffir limes
- 6 Arbol chiles, chopped
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- 3 ¼ cups sugar (organic evaporated cane juice)
- Day 1. Scrub fruit well. Zest & juice ¼ lb Meyers. Slice the other ½ lb into quarters lengthwise, remove the middle, pithy seam and seeds. Slice each section cross-wise into thin strips, transferring fruit to a large measuring cup as you go, trying to capture all of the juice. Transfer sliced fruit to a wide stockpot or preserving pan. Measure out an equal volume of filtered water and add to the pot.
- Measure sliced kumquats and add kumquats plus an equal volume of water to the pot. Juice one Kaffir lime; slice the other in half crosswise. Add juice & halved whole lime to the pot. Add chiles and salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Transfer fruit mixture to a bowl, cover and store in the refrigerator overnight.
- Day 2. Prepare canner, jars and lids. Transfer fruit to a preserving pot. Remove Kaffir lime and discard.
- Bring fruit mixture to a boil over high heat. Add sugar, stirring until it dissolves. Allow to boil vigorously, stirring minimally, until the marmalade reaches the set point. I used the frozen plate test and stopped cooking at 219 degrees F, about 20 minutes. Ladle hot marmalade into hot jars to ¼-inch head space. Remove air bubbles, wipe rims, affix lids, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Yields about 6 cups.
- Kaffir limes can be hard to find: if you can’t source some fresh, you could add a few Kaffir lime leaves during the cooking stage (pluck out before canning), substitute with regular lime, or simply omit.
- I actually made double the recipe above, and split it into two batches prior to cooking. That can be a danger when making up recipes on the fly, but, unless you have a really big + wide preserving pan, don’t convince yourself to cook a batch that’s too big (more than, say 6 – 7 cups of fruit). It will take far too long to cook and the fruit will take on a caramelized flavor rather than the bright flavor of fresh citrus.
Canned, store in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year.