Divine Cumquat Marmalade with Vanilla Bean | Kumquat Marmalade

What to do with Cumquats? Make marmalade, of course.

Cumquat Marmalade

Aaah, Cumquats. Those little orange balls of sour citrusness. Cute, but inedible. That is, except if you make Brandied Cumquats, Cumquats in Gin, Cumquats Pickle, Cumquat Olive Oil or Cumquat Marmalade, or use Cumquats in salads.
Sometimes these little orange balls are spelled Kumquats.


Vanilla beans have a sweet perfumed aroma that is almost woody or smoky. It pairs wonderfully with the cumquats, indeed any citrus. Vanilla essence is made from vanilla beans, but once you have used the beans you will never return to the essence.

Vanilla beans are the fruit of the Vanilla orchid, a tropical plant that produces long green-yellow seed pods. The pods are picked while unripe and are cured until they are dark brown.

To use a Vanilla pod, split it in two lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Use the seeds in your recipe, but do not discard the pod. It can be used to add more flavour, or indeed seeped in alcohol to make a very flavoursome (and alcoholic) drink.

The seeds of the vanilla pod are very very small and black. You will see them in your dish, adding a real visual appeal.

You might like to click here to see how to make vanilla sugar, and also vanilla essence with vodka! Personally, I like The Traveler’s Lunchbox’s approach which uses any alcohol over 40% proof.

But I digress… Back to cumquats and jam…

Cumquats Kumquats

Divine Cumquat Marmalade with Vanilla Bean

Cuisine: English
Prep Time: 35 mins
Cook Time: about 70 mins
Makes: about 4 jars

250g cumquats
caster sugar
2 vanilla beans, split in half
1 tablespoon fruit liqueur

Wash the cumquats and halve or quarter them, depending on size.

Remove seeds and put into a cup of water. The seeds have a wonderful setting quality about them, and this helps to capture that.

Put cumquats in a bowl and just cover with boiling water. Cover with plastic wrap and leave overnight. This softens the peel of the cumquats which is too tough otherwise.

Next day,measure the cumquat and water mixture into a large pot or saucepan. For every cup (250ml) of mixture, allow 0.75 cup (185g) caster sugar.

Strain the seeds, adding the liquid to the cumquat mix. Tie the seeds into a muslin bag and add to the cumquats, tying the bag to the sides or handle of the pan. Again, this is to extract that flavour and setting quality from the seeds.

Add the vanilla beans to the mixture, bring to the boil and turn the heat down and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the sugar to the mixture and stir well with a wooden spoon. Return to the boil and boil for another 20 – 40 minutes approximately until it reaches setting point. Stir frequently. (To test for setting point, my method is to put a drop of jam on the side of a white saucer. Leave for a minute, and tip the saucer. If the drop has trouble running down the saucer, the setting point is near. )

Turn off the heat, stir through the liqueur. Squeeze out the seed bag (carefully – it will be hot) and remove.

Spoon the jam into warm, sterile jars. Allow to cool. I cover with gladwrap (clingwrap) while the jam is warm, and an elastic band, and store the jam in the fridge.

Eat lavishly on toast. Stir into porridge.


You might like to browse other Jam recipes here and here, and other Cumquat recipes here and here. Feel free to check out our Winter recipes here and here.

browse some of the Jam recipes

Author: Ganga108

Heat in the Kitchen, Cooking with Spirit. Temple junkie, temple builder, temple cleaner. Lover of life, people, cultures, travel. Champion of growth, change and awareness. Taker of photos. Passionate about family. Happy.

34 thoughts on “Divine Cumquat Marmalade with Vanilla Bean | Kumquat Marmalade”

  1. Cumquats are golf-ball sized citrus fruit, bright orange skin – really lovely to look at but very sour. I will try to add a photo when I am back in Adelaide. My neighbour has a tree, so I will beg for 1 or 2.

    Really glad you like the picture.


  2. I love seeing vanilla seeds in my food – I made a plum jam with vanilla pods this summer, and I love the black speckles when spreading it on a toast!
    Thank you for a lovely WHB entry!


  3. Up until a few years ago, a friend of mine had a cumquat tree. She hated them, so each year we were handed a huge container full of fruit, to make into marmalade. It’s my firm belief cumquats make the best marmalade ever. The friend has now pulled up the tree and replaced it with some boring bushy thing. It was a sad day for us!


  4. Hi Pille, sorry I have been so long responding! I too love the black spots of vanilla beans.

    SRA, thanks so much. Real vanilla makes such a difference.

    Kalyn, I didn’t realise that cumquats are unusual in other parts of the world. I thought that they would be ubiquitous as orange and lemon trees.

    Oh, kathryn, how sad. And how silly of your friend. Bet she misses the marmalade.


  5. I fell in love with cumquat marmalade back in ’75 and bought some fruit only yesterday to make some but this time, thanks to you, with vanilla bean which I always use.There is another Japanese variety of cumquat, I have two trees in pots at the front door and THIS FRUIT IS SWEET ENOUGH TO EAT but not ripe yet to pick….it’s oval in shape called Nagame or similar. Cheers.

    Thanks for letting me know – how is your jam? Two trees in pots, that’s great, and sweeter than usual. What a joy to have these colourful fruit around.


  6. I just found your blog as I was wondering what to do with all these cumquats I bought at the Op Shop (the best source of local fruit). I bribed my sons to help me cut them up and flick out all the seeds. Now they are resting in a pot of water (the cumquats, not the boys) and I’m reading the rest of your blog. Love it!
    Actually, I brandied a jar of cumquats first, and they are on the shelf already.
    Thanks for the vanilla tip – that’s going in too.

    I am so glad that you found my blog, Pauline. Good work getting the boys to cut up the cumquats. Your jam will be divine, I am sure, and I wish I was there to help you with the brandied ones.

    You found cumquats recently? I must search my local markets some more …..


  7. An update on my marmalade – disaster! It hasn’t set! It looked like it was going to, but it’s just runny now. Gasp! I’ll see what I can do to recover it.

    Op shops are a great source of local produce – mostly lemons from old ladies’ trees, but you can get lovely surprises – I got limes once (put the zest into the tea pot, I swear by it!); last week my local one had Jerusalem Artichokes! I chickened out, though. Too many other things look like JAs, I didn’t want to be eating daffodil bulbs!

    Oh no, I wonder if you put the seeds in as my recipe describes – they have wonderful setting properties.
    When I occassionally have non-setting jam, I use it for toppings, stirring in to porridge, flavourings for home made icecream etc. And, if I am alone, I don’t mind pouring it over fresh bread, with some cream, and having the bread soak up the jam. Yum. Crumpets will work too.


  8. Another update – I couldn’t leave you thinking there’d been a failure. I tipped one jar back into the pan, added more sugar, cooked some more, and tested properly this time, and I have one jar of EXCELLENT marmalade. I hadn’t really measured, you see. In fact, I’ve tried some on toast, and it’s sharp, tangy, and has a notable vanilla feel (although it was only one pod in the whole pan!). It has a “too young wine” sort of taste, so I’ll open a jar in a few months. I’ll fix the rest next.
    By the way, never bribe little boys to get seeds out of cumquats for you. They are not that attentive to detail!

    Phew! Big sigh of relief. So glad that it turned out alright in the end. So now you are going to try my crabapple and pomegranate recipe?๐Ÿ™‚ No, the seed removal is best done by ones self, and treated as a form of meditation.


  9. Is this an american page? If so the nothern hemisphere thingie isn’t real good for we southerners. Good fun all the same but just a thought as your seasons are back to front so to speak!


    1. Hmm. I am not sure Helen why you thought this is an American Blog. No, we sit firmly in the Southern Hemisphere. Not sure why you even asked the question…?


  10. Hallo -it is 2010 & having just discovered you, have made your wonderful recipe a few times now. It really is divine. And it is so easy and sets so perfectly – people who taste it think I’m terribly clever. Just wondering if you have any exotic ideas for an orange marmalade – just been given some beautiful home grown oranges. Thanks again


  11. I googled Cumquat Marmalade and here you are! I’m even more pleased you are in Australia, like me.๐Ÿ™‚
    I have been given an ENORMOUS bag of cumquats and thank you for your timely recipe (albeit from almost 4 years ago).๐Ÿ˜‰


  12. I just wanted to thank you for posting this recipe. I never knew what to do with my cumquats. I’ve made this recipe several times now and absolutely love it.


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