Monday, April 12, 2010

April Can Jam: Herbs

I must admit that I was disappointed when herbs was announced as the focus of the April Can Jam. Not that I do not love herbs, but here in the Bay Area the markets are full of rhubarb and strawberries. That, and I am down to my last jar of strawberry jam.
However, we forged ahead with our usual decision to engage in several projects on canning day. Lisa's parents were in town and her father worked on a pepper relish that looked and smelled wonderful. For our can jam item, Lisa and I made two kinds of pickled beets: yellow with herbs and red with herbs and red wine and the recipe I will describe below: Kumquats with Mint.

Kumquats aresmall, oval citrus fruits. They are usually between one to two inches long and have leathery orange or yellow skin. The fruit has a sweet outer skin and a tart inner flesh. The fruit can be eaten whole or some people prefer eating only the skin.
Our recipe was based on one from the classic Ball Home Preserving book.
Makes six 8 oz jars and in our case several jars of syrup which we did not process but did refrigerate.

3 lbs kumquats, stems removed
2 2 tbsp baking soda
Boiling water
1 cup mint leaves (we tied them into a cheesecloth bundle)
6 cups granulated sugar

In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine kumquats and baking soda. Add boiling water to cover and set aside for 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander over a sink and drain thoroughly, rinsing 3 times. Prick each kumquat twice with a toothpick to prevent bursting. (We used a fork).

In a clean stainless steel saucepan, combine kumquats, mint, and 8 cups water.Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and heat gently for 7 minutes. Add sugar and cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly but gently until sugar has dissolved and liquid has almost returned to a boil. Discard mint.

Pack kumquats loosely in jars to within a generous 1/2 of top. Add one mint leaf to each jar. Ladle hot syrup into jar leaving 1/2 inch head space. Wipe rim and screw lid until it is fingertip tight.

Process for for 30 minutes.


  1. This sounds really interesting...have you tried them yet? I'm not a huge mint person, but I can see this easily being done with other herbs. Way to get creative!

    I went the typical route with strawberry rhubarb rosemary jam, taking advantage of all those lovely strawberries cheaply flooding the California market.

  2. You could have done strawberry basil preserves. Yum!