Walking around my neighbourhood on a regular lemon raid - if they're hanging over the public walkway, I declare them mine under the little known 'footpath bandit' act - I came across bunches of these gorgeous orange delights dangling tantalisingly over a head-height fence. Being a true neighbourhood bandit of the solitary and sneaky kind, I looked each way for spies who might be taking note of my interest, calculated that I couldn't carry as many as I would need*, made a mental note of their location and concoted a plan to return later with a plastic bag to cart off my booty.
Black polo neck and camo make-up optional.
Post fruit-burgulary, I decided to make some marmalade with my haul. The end result was the first time I've attempted a jam, and oy, there's a lot of labour involved. But the end product is so good, it's worth it.
2 cups cumquats, washed and sliced
2 cups water
juice of 1 lemon
1.5 cups sugar (more if you don't like your marmalade 'sharp')
Wash and slice fruit finely, removing the seeds for safe-keeping (warning: this take ages). Place the fruit in a large saucepan, cover with water and soak overnight. Put the seeds in a mug and soak in a small amount of boiling water overnight.
Next day strain the liquid from the seeds into the cumquats. Discard the seeds. Cook the fruit gently on a low heat until the fruit is tender and the liquid is reduced by half. Add the sugar and lemon juice. When all the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat and boil rapidly until the mixture jells (around 30-45 minutes). Stir often, or the marmalade will burn.
I tried the test where you put in on a cold plate to see if it sets, but I just stopped when it seemed thick enough and my arm was about to fall off from stirring.
Pour into hot sterilised jars (to sterilise: wash in hot soapy water and dry in a slow oven for 20 mins) and seal.
I got 2 big jars from this. Larga vida al bandido de frutas!
*Wasn't sure what I 'needed' them for at this stage, just had a vague idea I would need more than two grabby handfuls.