By Vida Gustafson

Contributing Writer

One of the biggest perks to living on the Central Coast is the variety and abundance of backyard fruit trees. I’ve spent a lot of happy days finding uses for produce exchanges from neighbors and friends. If you don’t happen to be blessed with a friend with a kumquat tree, you’ll find them at our farmers market in the winter.

Kumquats are tiny citrus fruits, about one inch in size, that can be eaten whole-seeds and all thanks to their thin pith layer (that’s the bitter white stuff under the skin). Because you can eat them whole and uncooked, they make for a less bitter and astringent marmalade that still maintains a bright citrussy punch. Not only does it pair wonderfully with any nutty, salty cheese on your cheese board, but it really kicks up a marmalade or finishing sauce. It also makes a delicious addition to a ham or turkey sandwich. Scale this recipe up as you wish, it is formulated to produce one 16 oz. jar.


  • 16 oz (or roughly 2 cups)  Kumquats
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1C water


Rinse kumquats and cut into 1/4-1/8 inch thin, round slices, discarding the seeds as you come across them. Cover with the sugar and let sit for a couple of hours or overnight. 

When you are ready to make the marmalade, put the macerated kumquats in a small saucepan and add the juice and zest of one lemon and one cup of water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 215° F. If you do not have a candy thermometer handy, simply drip a small dollop of marmalade onto a cold plate and see what the consistency is when cooled, once it’s the thickness you want, you’re ready to (very carefully) pour it into a sterilized jar to either can for use later or put in the fridge to be consumed within three weeks.