Kumquat and Lemon Marmalade using a pressure cooker

I have never made marmalade before and have always been put off by the seemingly  never-ending, tedious task of chopping, peeling, shredding, juicing, boiling, testing, etc. But when a friend told me about his method of making kumquat and lemon marmalade by soaking the fruit in sugar for a day, I thought I would give it a go. In his recipe, the kumquats are halved, the pips removed, and then combined in a bowl with lemon juice and sugar for 24 hours before boiling as normal.

My challenge, therefore, was to invent a recipe for a pressure cooker which would be even easier and quicker to prepare. A neighbour’s sister makes quince jelly in a pressure cooker by combining equal parts of fruit and sugar and then cooking for 3 minutes at pressure so I decided to experiment with times to see if this method would be possible for marmalade.

The first attempt was a success (although the cooking times needed tweaking) and I was really pleased with the consistency, texture and taste of the first batch. I had literally thrown everything in together (pips, pith and lemon quarters) but decided that for the second attempt I would tie the pips and lemon pith and skins in muslin to keep them separate.

It was clear that three minutes was far too short and I had to bring the cooker back up to pressure several times. So I decided that for the second attempt I would cook the marmalade for 15 minutes at pressure.

INGREDIENTS
500g kumquats
2 large lemons
400g brown sugar or half the weight of the prepared fruit

METHOD
Cut the kumquats in half, remove the pips and save on a muslin square. Cut the loquats into 2mm slices.
Peel the lemon rind with a vegetable peeler. Shred the rind into 2mm strips.
Put an empty bowl on the scales and weigh in the fruit and lemon juice. Add half the amount of sugar and mix well.
Securely tie up the lemon pith and pips in the muslin square and add toe the bowl of fruit.

Leave for 24 hours, stirring every so often. At the end of that time, the sugar will have completely dissolved and there will be quite a bit more syrup.

Transfer the kumquats and the muslin bag to a pressure cooker. Bring up to pressure and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the pressure cooker from the heat and slow release the pressure.

Open the pressure cooker and transfer immediately into clean glass jars using a jam funnel and a measuring jug. Turn all the jars upside down to sterilise the caps for about half an hour and then turn back the right way and leave to cool completely.

First figs of the year

first figs of the season

First figs of the season

Today we had our first figs of the season. They were from a tree which doesn’t normally produce the early variety and not many of the later variety in September. This was the first year that the “brevas” (early figs) had grown and we had them for lunch today. They were absolutely delicious and had stayed on the tree long enough to well and truly ripen so that they were soft and sweet.