We have a really happy Nagami Kumquat Tree that lives in a big pot on our patio. It provides beautiful tiny fruit every year in early summer. Bill recently harvested the abundant fruit. Kumquats are considered a super-fruit, filled with anti-oxidants. I thought I’d try making jam for the first time ever. I found the most wonderful recipe. I revised it and have included it below. I cut back on sugar by two-thirds. We are so glad I did because the jam is so flavorful. We are going to make another batch!
The Nagami Kumquat Tree is simple to grow because it’s drought-tolerant, and pest and disease resistant. Instead of the pulp, the sweetest part of the fruit is actually the peel. That is why I decided to keep the chopped peel in my jam. Having a candy thermometer made it so easy.
Recipe for Kumquat Jam:
Ingredients: 3 cups of chopped, deseeded kumquats (save the seeds; see why below) + 6 cups of water + 3 cups of sugar (try to use less white/less processed sugar)
Chop up kumquats, collecting seeds in a small bowl. You will be placing the seeds into a small food safe mesh or cheesecloth bag. I used a large unbleached teabag that one can use for steeping loose tea in a pot. The seeds work such magic! They contain pectic, which allows the jam to set naturally. Place the chopped kumquats and water in a heavy pot on the kitchen counter. Let the seeds hang into the kumquats and water and place the lid on to keep the top of the bag of seeds from submerging. I soaked the seeds in the pot for about 20 hours. You want to soak for at least 8 hours, but longer is more effective.
Remove the bag after soaking and squeeze all liquid into pot. Slowly bring kumquats and water to a boil, then stir and reduce heat to simmer for about 20 minutes.
Then stir in sugar, bringing contents of pot to a rolling boil for 30 to 45 minutes. You need to boil the mixture until it reaches the setting point (220F or 105C on your candy thermometer).
Rinse your glass jars with boiling water and ladle jam into jars. We planned to eat the jam within a couple of weeks, so we let the jam cool and then covered with little dishes and placed in refrigerator. This jam is good on toast, yogurt, or between two layer of a cake with cream.
Our front garden has been our creative and emotional oasis this past year, both for us and our neighbors. Our Free Little Library receives many visitors, who both borrow and donate books. Our rotating art gallery delights pedestrians, delivery people, and drivers who catch a glimpse and stop to look. The bucket of chalk has inspired all ages to draw pictures and words on the sidewalk (and the picket fence).
And the bench at the end of our front walkway provides a resting spot for walkers, including four regular visitors. Twice a day, an elderly man stops for a rest on his twice-daily walks. His helper asked Bill if it was okay to sit in our garden and he said, of course, and so we often see the man at the end of the walkway and his helper on the bench in the garden. We can hear their cheerful arrival. And then about 10 minutes later, they continue on their walk. Every few days, a nanny stops to take a rest on the bench at the end of the walkway, with a young child in a stroller. You will catch glimpses of the above in the photos below. We just added another bench to the end of the walkway.
Recently, I learned about a town in Germany — Arnsberg — where the community has made an active commitment since 2004 to help their elderly residents stay or become active. A tiny office called the Department of Future Aging (DFA) has a tiny staff two and project budget of approximately $24,000 per year, and it is able to support projects that ensure that senior-oriented planning isn’t just woven into the social fabric of the city, but the physical design. For example, the city has numbered benches every 550 feet (approximately one short block) in some of its markets and on the promenade along the River Ruhr. The benches provide essential resting spots, but with an added bonus for someone experiencing dementia. Each bench is numbered. If necessary, a lost person can call for assistance and quote the bench number so that they can be found and assisted. Read the wonderful article where I learned about this here: https://www.yesmagazine.org/health-happiness/2021/07/01/germany-department-of-future-aging
man on bench at end of walkway
Helper adjusting cushion
Resting on cushion 🙂
Wildflower seed paper really works! A fun and easy way to plant wildflowers.
Fence pickets are perfect height for little children