December – Preserved Kumquats

Just in time for the holidays, a gift which is not only delicious but also easy to make and beautiful. The jewel tones of the kumquats are perfect for the holidays.

Kumquats

Kumquats are a variety of citrus, the rind is the sweet part and the bitter the middle. The reverse of other citrus fruits. The kumquats are small, only about an inch or less in length. My mother would preserve them each year (she lived in Florida where they were common) but I haven’t seen them in the markets very often. So I jumped at the chance to recreate her recipe. They were delicious served beside smoked chicken or turkey, a sweet counter to the smokiness. But I think they would be equally delicious served for dessert with a square of chocolate.

I couldn’t find her recipe in my files but know it was very simple. A search on the web came up with on published in the New York Times some time ago…Evelyn Patout’s Preserved Kumquats. It sounded exactly like my memory of my mother’s recipe, plus it was simple and quick. It only requires about 20 minutes of your time, plus 4 days sitting in the simple syrup.

Preserved Kumquats

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart of kumquats
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of light corn syrup

Method:

  1. Wash and scrub the kumquats thoroughly. Prick each one several times with a large needle or poultry pin (I used a crab picker). Put them in a large saucepan, add water to cover, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Drain.
  2. Combine the sugar with 3 cups of water in the saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Add the kumquots and bring back to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover the saucepan, and set aside till the next day.
  3. The next morning add 1/2 cup of corn syrup to the saucepan, bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat, cover, and let stand overnight again.
  4. Repeat the process in number 3 twice more.
  5. On the fourth day, after the kumquats have  brought to the boil, spoon them into hot, sterilized, Mason-type jars. Pour the hot syrup to within 1/4 inch of the top and seal. Refrigerate until ready to give, or you can seal in a canner (I would boil 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your jars).

2 thoughts on “December – Preserved Kumquats

  1. Kumquats, that certainly brings back childhood memories. As a youngster, we had kumquat trees all over the neighborhood. We would eat them straight off the tree. It was a love/hate thing for me, as I loved the initial sweet citrusy tasted but hated the bitter juice and pulp. My grandmother used to can them in sugar as well and we’d get them as a treat at Christmas time.

    • What a treat that must have been, I like them fresh as well but the pulp is bitter. Essentially marinating them in sugar for four days takes away the bitterness.

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