Jelly roll

Not the fabric kind, just for a change!

On Wednesday, I picked over and halved 2 kilos (nearly 4½ pounds) of cumquats, covered them with water, and simmered them for 2 hours till tender. I then put them in a muslin cloth, first in a colander over a bowl, and then tied into a bag, hanging over the bowl, for the juice to drip out. I didn’t get a whole lot, as these cumquats are tiny and not very juicy, but what there was had a powerful zing and perfume.

Thursday morning I weighed the juice and did the pectin test. Plenty of pectin from the pith and pips in the fruit. Then I added an equal weight of white sugar (no need for jam sugar with extra pectin), put it in a pan and slowly brought it to the boil. I then simmered it slowly, skimming the froth that came to the surface, until the temperature reached 105°C/221°F. Then I tested for set, dropping a blob onto a saucer I’d had in the freezer. That went back into the fridge for a couple of minutes. Once it was cool, I pushed a finger through the blob. If it wrinkles and leaves a clear track, the jelly is ready. I had to give it another 5 minutes, but then it was done, and I decanted the jelly with a ladle and wide-neck preserving funnel into two hot, sterilised jars and quickly screwed on the lids. After about 15 minutes, the ‘button’ on the lids sucked down, and I knew I had a good vacuum.

And that was it. From 2kg/4½ pounds fruit and about 700g/25 ounces sugar I got 800g/28 ounces jelly, one full 500g jar and one three quarters full.

It’s not a large return on the investment of time, but the jelly is delicious, beautifully set, and the fruit was free, so I’ll probably do it again some time.

Many thanks to Elizabeth for her friend Elgar’s recipe, which was simple and very clear.

I only have about 300g fruit left – I had to pick out ones which were squishy or going mouldy. I’m tempted to get a bottle of vodka and steep the remaining fruit in it. It worked a treat with the limoncello I made a few months ago, and the flavour will be very different.

Cumquat jelly on hot toast this morning for breakfast. Yummmmmm!

33 thoughts on “Jelly roll

  1. Dayphoto says:

    They turned out beautiful! Interesting here we spell kumquat with a K. There you use a c. One just never knows. BUT a c and a K sound the same, sometimes! Hugs

  2. Aha… Looks wonderful. The colour 👏 I’ve made guava jelly… I can do this! You’ve given me a plan next time someone drops off a bag of cumquats… or if I succumb to temptation and harvest from the tree next door.

    • katechiconi says:

      Oh, guava jelly! Yum! I wish I could locate some guavas, but I haven’t seen any up here.
      By the way, expect the dripping stage to take ages (overnight is minimum) and you don’t get a whole lot of juice from the tiny oval ones. The bigger round ones might be better, if you can find those.

  3. jmcheney says:

    Fabulous! I would say home made kumquat jelly is worth every minute you gave it. How I would love that! And also kumquat (as we spell it) liqueur. We have them from the Florida as great treats at Christmas. I’ve always been a fan, popping them whole as a child & adding them to cranberry sauce for the holidays.

  4. I love the picture of that capacious pot on the stove, the sort of pot owned by a person who Knows What To Do.

    Interesting that you weighed the fruit and resulting jelly to determine what you’d extracted, you are a logical person, but you also saw the beauty and purpose of your project. I like to believe fruit, which falls from bushes and trees (most often to rot) appreciates being used. It has nutrients to share which it gained from drinking sunshine and gulping soil’s gifts. How else can we say “thank you” to what grows nearby than by using it fully? (And fully, my dear, probably means steeping the rest in vodka. Consider it a paean to the spirit of the cumquat….)

    • katechiconi says:

      That is the smallest of my three stock pots, the ‘everyday’ soup pot (the largest is big enough for a Low Country Boil). Essentially I weighed and measured so I’d know how many jam jars to sterilise and how much sugar I’d need (I had to shop, I don’t generally have that much in the house!). I’d agree that harvested windfalls reward you for the labour and often turn out much better than the perfect fruit. After all, they’ve fallen because they were absolutely ripe. I’m putting the vodka idea aside for now; we don’t drink much, but as a tart, fragrant sauce for roast pork and crackling, it will be better appreciated.

  5. tialys says:

    Two jars eh? Well at least you won’t get fed up with it. Definitely stick the rest in vodka – I’d need a drink after all that effort 😉

  6. Brilliant…. will be even nicer on toast knowing it’s been made at home 😍

  7. The best things to eat are those made at home in the kitchen – and if not mine, then someone else’s! Your kumquat jelly would also be delicious with ice cream. I have a friend who makes her own marmalade, so I buy a jar from her whenever I’ve run out. It’s better than anything in the shops.

    • katechiconi says:

      I think the experience is enhanced by knowing you did it yourself, too. A tablespoonful in a marinade for chicken with star anise, soy and sherry… Warm, on pancakes. I could go on and on and on 🙂

  8. nanacathy2 says:

    Sounds utterly delicious.

  9. KerryCan says:

    What?? No mention of Mouse?? Tsk. But the jelly sounds fab–that color! And, yes, to the cumquat-cello!

  10. Yumm!! I think you need to put these jars in a spot where everyone can see them. Pretty pretty!!!

  11. I have never tried cumquat jelly (rhubarb jam landed on my toast this morning). It looks delicious. Perhaps I should quiz Elizabeth and Elgar to see if they have a spoonful I could try.

  12. dezertsuz says:

    Kate, what is the pectin test? I’ve made jam and jelly for 40 years and never heard of it. The jelly looks so clear and beautiful!

    • katechiconi says:

      Before you add the sugar and start heating the juice and sugar together, you put a teaspoonful of the juice into a tablespoon of methylated spirit. If it forms a loose clump, there’s enough pectin. If not, you need to add some. There was plenty in this because none of the pips or pith were removed.

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