Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Sunday, 23 September 2012

Cumquats - from tree to marmalade

Have you ever had cumquats? I had not till just recently. My sister has a tree in her new house, so she sent me a few kilo to make Marmalade. So I hunted through my favorite little preserves recipe book - "Australia's Home Made Jams & Preserves" (complied by CSR) - and I found a cumquat marmalade recipe. It was called "Old Government House Cumquat Marmalade" and the notation said the recipe came from the National Trust of Australia, New South Wales - so it must be a very old recipe.

I had never tasted cumquats before, let alone made something from them, or photographed them. They are a very small fruit which is very bitter. They have seeds, and I was determined to take them all out before making the marmalade. My son and his family came over for dinner, and he and I spent a couple of hours after dinner standing in the kitchen cutting up the fruit and taking out the seeds (at least you don't have to peel them!). What a job! But it did make the marmalade making easier, as I didn't have to scoop out the seeds from the boiling marmalade while it was cooking..

The recipe said one cup of sugar per one cup of fruit - as I said it is a very bitter fruit - but I put one cup less, and it turned out sweetish, but not too sweet, and with a slight bitter bite. I also added a couple of green apples - the extra pectin from the apples helps with the setting.

So here is a little mosaic - don't you think the colour of the marmalade is glorious in the afternoon light streaming through my kitchen window. In the picture on the top right, you can see the recipe book.

And below is a texture version - Of course I had to photograph the fruit in this cue little bucket before I did anything else with them.
I wanted to show you the before and after - I used the before image on the left (natural light straight out of camera) to process with texture (on the right) for Kim's latest - Day 64 of her Beyond Layer's e-course.
I used her "Jay" texture twice - one at "multiply" at 100% and once at "vivid light" 54%.
I have never used "vivid light" before and rather like the effect. It adds an extra glow. What do you think?

I think this is my favourite of the set - The cumquats ready to be cooked, taken in morning light on my patio - I like the lovely early morning glow and the dappled shade coming through the trees.

The earliest fruits and vegetables were introduced into Australia by Governor Phillip who, along with the First Fleet in 1788, brought the seeds of various fruit trees from Rio de Janeiro and the Cape of Good Hope. Early records show that from the start of settlements, the establishment of fruit trees was a priority. Some 200 fruit trees were brought from England on the ship "Gorgon', a ship in the Third Fleet.

Here is the recipe -
Old Government House Cumquat Marmalade 
- from the National Trust of Australia, New South Wales

Cumquats, water, sugar
Wash the fruit well and slice finely, removing the seeds (I just cut each fruit into quarters of sixths)
Breley cover fruit with water and leave to soak overnight. In the morning bring to boil and cook till tender.
(I also added 2 green apples, peeled and sliced thinly)
Add 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of fruit stirring til sugar is dissolved.  
(I had 9 cups of fruit and used 8 cups of sugar)
Boil rapidly. Test with a small quantity of marmalade on a saucer to test for setting.
Bottle in sterile jars and cover immediately.

Making jams and preserves is a family tradition of ours. Do you make jams and preserves?
Have you tried cumquats?

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday at Little Red House - to see the work of Mary and other wonderful contributors from across the world, please click on the link - here - Mosaic Monday

You might also like - click on the link here - Spring jam making


  1. We can't grow Kumquats here in western Canada, the winters are too cold. I love all kinds of fruit and would love to grow Kumquats, oh well. Love your photos. You would make a great Commercial photographer.

  2. No kumquats in my area either and rarely ever in the stores. Your marmalade preparations and finished jam look yummy.

  3. That sounds wonderful! We have those here in Florida...they are such a pretty color!

  4. Oh beautiful photos...your favorite is mine as well with the color of the fruit, the glow, the touch of green bottles, the recipe book. I'm grinning at your description of cutting the fruit into "quarters of sixths." That's cute! ☺ Oh, and, no, I have never tasted this fruit and now you've got me nervous. I think the marmalade toast looks yummy, though.

  5. Living in Canada, it is too cold to grow Kumquats. Your photos are awesome Jill, love the finished jars on the window sill.

  6. I don't think I've ever eaten a Kumquat (or as you spell it cumquat). The colour is so rich and deep. And that marmalade. Mmmm. Oh, for a piece of toast!

  7. I had my first sugared Kumquat last week - loved it and will look for some instructions to do some up for home. Your marmalade looks yummy.

  8. What a wonderful and interesting post. I can never pick a favorite of your photos, though...they are always so beautiful

  9. Visiting from Mosaic Monday - Love the photos! Love the food! It looks like one heck of a wonderful day filled with light, love and aroma's!

  10. Beautiful photos Jill. I love the way you have shown the before and after versions of the textured shot and the details of how you applied it.
    You even be tempt me to make cumquat jam!

  11. Jill, as always your photos are good enough to eat. I love them. The post is also interesting and made me want to have a go at making jam (ahem!). We had a cumquat tree in South Africa and Charlie, our cocker spaniel once got drunk after eating fermented cumquats that lay around at the back of the courtyard. (He was always on a diet, and would eat anything he could find). He behaved very oddly and stumbled around, and I took him to the vet because I thought he was really ill and had tick bite fever. Imagine my surprise when the vet said, "I think your dog is stone drunk."

  12. I don't know if I have ever seen a kimquat or not before. The photos are lovely and I loved the textured one. The finished preserve is a glorious color and does look delicious. Valerie

  13. Hi Jill -- What GORGEOUS photos you posted. My pictures are just snapshots, while yours are works of art. Lovely. I guess you have already figured out that one of the other differences from your world to mine is that "kumquat" is spelled with a "K" here. The other difference? The wreaths year-round?

    I grew up in New York, where putting up a door wreath was a strictly Christmas thing. Then in 1979 I moved to Pennsylvania, and saw wreaths hanging at all times of year -- in fact, found that people there decorated for all seasons and holidays. By the time we moved back to New York three years later, the trend was also moving. So I am not sure where it began, the tradition of decking the halls year round, but I know it didn't start in New York!

    Thanks for visiting That Old House.
    And yes, I make jam, from our own grapes. But not this year; my Dad loved those grapes, and that jam, and since his passing my heart has just not been in tending or using the grapes.

    I offer you my deepest sympathies on the loss of your dear Mother this summer.
    All best wishes, Cass

  14. Cass! amazing! My parents made grape jam from their own vines every year of their married life, and my son and I have continued the tradition. So I hope you go back to grape jam making and bring with it the love of your Dad.
    thanks for stopping by and for your thoughts for my mum - I send them to you also for your dad.


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