I am never one to say no to free food, so I take a bite. Definitely citrus. Even the skin has the distinct taste of citrus rind but…it’s…sweet! I take another, and yet another bite to verify this little observation. Yes, cute little citrus fruit with sweet edible skin! This is my lucky day! But we are in a hurry, so I have to leave the charming man and his delicious fruit. I vow to return though, because even as I am rushing off, there is only one word dancing in my mind, a word that sighed in my head the moment I tasted this fruit and its edible rind: marmalade.
When I get home I hunt for more info on kim kyat but I can’t find any. Hmmm. Searching, searching…little citrus fruit with sweet skin. Could this be a kumquat??? The name certainly sounds similar, and the pictures on the internet certainly look similar. I can’t be sure because I have never seen nor tasted a kumquat before. Yes, just like figs. I was again on the verge of adding another fruit to my stable. Hooray!
So I hurried back another day and got myself a kilo of the kim kyats/kumquats. I let them decorate my dining table for a couple of days (they make a gorgeous centerpiece! just pile them on a white platter or stuff them into a clear glass jar) before finally attempting marmalade for the first time.
I have made jam before, but never marmalade. I seem to have fallen into a jam-making thrall. Honestly, I probably would have gotten to something marmalade-y at some point, but tasting those tiny orange fruits put it on the fast track. To me they just tasted of marmalade, as if it was their life’s wish. So I dutifully complied.
Being totally inexperienced in the marmalade department, I didn’t bother with pips and cheesecloth and whatsuch. I took my 1 kilo of fruit (minus a few that I ate) and boiled them for about an hour, in enough water so they could all float pretty much freely. I then sliced them up and discarded the pips. After which they weighed 550 grams. I tossed them in a pot with 500 grams sugar and heated it slowly until all the sugar melted, and then let it boil until set (used the saucer in the freezer test).
I think I may have overcooked this batch because the resulting marmalade was a tad too sticky, but what an interesting flavor! It was sweeter than most marmalades I’ve tried (I assume because the rind was sweeter) but still had a tiny bite of bitter that makes it a marmalade. I gave a bottle to my mom, who loved it, but said it was a bit too sweet owing to her being a solid, non-sweet, rind’s-the-best-part, marmalade lover. I had some over a calamansi muffin my best friend K brought me back from a trip to Boracay (pictured above). And I’m sure it will be sublime on some warm toast with lots of butter.