Posted by: megaschwez | March 18, 2009

Cumquat marmalade


Our cumquat trees are giving up the ghost! I think. They’re not really made for a european winter. While part of me wants to say to them ‘NEITHER AM I; TOUGHEN UP’, the other part realises that only Prince Charles talks to plants and expects a result.

Understandably, however, they’re also not really down with hanging out right in front of the heating. Which is a shame, because that’s the only way they’re gonna get any light from the big windows in order to get their photosynthesis on. That’s light + 6CO2 + 12H20 –> C6H12O6 + 6O2 + 6H2O + CUMQUATS.

They are basically being passive aggressive, both of them*, and beginning a campaign of dropping leaves and fruit. The one in the loungeroom has taken to dropping the fattest cumquat it can find onto the wooden floor at inappropriate moments, like when we’re watching a B-grade Austrian detective series and it’s all silent and creepy and someone’s about to get shot and BAM! The cumquat grenade drops and I jump out of my skin.


Despite this petulance, I have been worried about their health, and we have both been applying measured doses of TLC to the best of our non-expert ability. Zum Beispiel, not watering from the top but watering the roots instead, not watering too often, boiling the water beforehand to get rid of the chalk, fertilising with little sticks from Hofer that look like bat-poo chalk &c.

We might be in the denial phase, but yesterday we both came to the conclusion that perhaps it is just time to harvest the fruit? They are throwing it at us, pruning themselves back a bit while they get used to the indoor climate and will eventually settle down and happily watch tv like the rest of us. Who knows, in time, they too may include an aperetif of bundy and coke in their evening routine.

A friend who came round for dinner the other night mentioned that you can make brilliant, bitter marmalade from the cute little orange fruits. I am, however, in the final stages of convincing myself that the pesticides on the fruit will be concentrated so heavily in the marmalade-making process that a jar of the stuff could feature in a Hercule Poirot Christmas Special. Then again, I did just eat one of those instant meals in the black tray that probably leached out chemicals that haven’t even been named yet. I am hardy and feel a jam-making session coming on.


*I nearly forgot the asterisk, one of the  more heinous crimes, in my book – nothing worse than scanning to the bottom of the page and then the end of the document to find the corresponding asterisk, only to be kept dangling. Anway, my point was that we routinely speak of our plants as if they are our children, which started off as a joke and has now entrenched itself firmly in our habits. I know lesbian couples are often stereotyped as treating their dogs as offspring, but plants? That implies a seriously loud biological clock. I can’t hear it over the cumquats dropping, tho. LOLZ.


  1. is the marmelada finished yet?

  2. Holy shiznit.

    Sonja + Science = bigger love from Tilly + cumquats

    I, just this last week, ate cumquat marmalade for the first time. Felicity Barnes put it on toast for me.

  3. Congrats for having such a tree growing in your house. Good choice!

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