Kumquat Vanilla Marmalade for Valentine’s Day

by Dorothy Reinhold on February 9, 2014

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As Valentine’s Day nears, I reach for my recipe box, not for reservations.

We never go out on that day, because in restaurant land, it is fraught with peril – too many people vying for too few seats, harried servers trying to turn tables, overworked cooks who must make memorable meals for a room of 100 people who all want to eat at exactly the same time. It’s just not a relaxing time, in my opinion.

Better to celebrate your special person at home. But keep it simple in the kitchen; this might not be the night for an elaborate meal.

I have made a simple jammy preserve out of kumquats, which are perfectly in season right now. In fact, if you live in Southern California, you may have a kumquat tree in your backyard or a neighbor’s yard. If so, you’re in tall corn! If not, you should be able to find kumquats in the specialty area of the produce section.

I’ll serve this to the professor as a part of appetizers – on top of a cracker or baguette slice with brie, or a cracker with foie gras (or poor man’s foie gras aka liverwurst!). Along with a flute of champagne, it’s a sweet and savory start to a simple dinner, followed by a salad, some bread and how about a bite of See’s chocolate for dessert?

It’s also wonderful with a spoonful added to homemade vinaigrette to dress up your salad, and on toast the next morning for breakfast. Talk about a utility player of a condiment!

Recipe: Kumquat Vanilla Marmalade

Summary: Sweet-tart kumquats marry intense vanilla for a Dreamsicle-Creamsicle flavor. It’s wonderful on crackers with cheese or foie gras, liverwurst or a slice of prosciutto.


  • Kumquats on Shockingly Delicious2 cups whole kumquats (I used kumquats from Frieda’s Produce)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Heilala vanilla bean paste


  1. Thinly slice the kumquats (paper thin, skin AND flesh) and remove and discard seeds. Place kumquats, water and sugar in a medium pot. Heat until it reaches a boil, then turn heat down to simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding the vanilla bean paste halfway through.
  2. When done, the kumquats will be tender and the liquid will be thickened to a syrup.
  3. Remove from heat and scrape into a squeaky-clean lidded jar. Cool and refrigerate. (Note: this is not canned, so it is not able to stay on the pantry shelf but must be refrigerated.)
  4. Makes about 1 ¼ cups (+ or -).


Slightly adapted from “Lark: Cooking Against the Grain,” by John Sundstrom (2013; Community Supported Cookbooks)

Sunday Supper

See this page for all the wonderful #SundaySupper dishes I have made since I joined this group, and links to all the other delicious dishes made by my fellow cooks.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Diet type: Vegetarian, vegan
Diet tags: Reduced fat, Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 8
Culinary tradition: USA (Nouveau)
My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 

Sunday Supper badgeToday’s Sunday Supper  recipes

This week our #SundaySupper blogger crew is celebrating Valentine’s recipes for two, hosted by Susan from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen. Check out the variety of things we have cooked up for you! Try this succulent Kumquat Vanilla Marmalade or find something else from the menu below that sets your heart aflutter:

Alluring Appetizers:

Exquisite Entrees:

Decadent Desserts and Drinks:

Join us around the family table for #SundaySupper 

TwitterBird on SundaySupper

  • Twitter how-to: Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag throughout the day on Twitter to see our recipes. To join the conversation anytime, simply use the #SundaySupper hashtag to share your favorite tips and recipes.
  • Pinterest: Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more recipes and photos.
  • Join: To join the Sunday Supper Movement, sign up by clicking here → Sunday Supper Movement.

Disclosure: Frieda’s Produce sent the kumquats for recipe testing. Cut kumquat image courtesy Grant Cochrane | Freedigitalphotos.net. 

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