Funny Name, Great Fruit, In Season Now

They may have a funny sounding name, but kumquats are bite-size morsels in a sweet shell and a sour after bite. With a children’s fascination with all things sour in the candy aisle, maybe kumquats offer a perfect alternative.

Native to China and Japan, kumquats sport a sweet edible skin that is quite different to traditional citrus rinds allowing them to be eaten whole. Of course, with their little oval shape similar to grapes, also helps our snacking pleasure.The inside of a kumquat is not as juicy as its lemon and orange cousins and contains small seeds, or pips.

More resistant to cold, kumquats are grown on shrubby trees and in warm climates; they are grown for ornamental purposes.The Chinese have been preserving their crops of kumquats for centuries – the most popular of which is to preserve them in honey.

While they’re great sliced or whole in salads or as a garnish to roasted meats, cooking kumquats allows us to enjoy their short season a bit longer while bringing out a mellowness to the fruits. This is most often done by candying sliced kumquats, pickling whole fruits or allowing them to macerate in a hard liquor like brandy, whisky, rum, etc.

Try our Brandied Candied Kumquats – a method that fuses preserving the fruits in liquor with the candy process. The result - a honey-like preserve that can be used as a sauce for cheesecakes to pound cakes or even used for savory dishes, such as a sauce for pan-roasted pork loin chops.

Brandied Candied Kumquats
1 lb kumquats
1 ½ cups brandy
1 ½ cups water
2 cups sugar
Pinch of salt
3, small cinnamon sticks (approx. 3-inches in length)

Trim stem end of kumquats, and slice into 1/8 inch thick slices, removing pips/seeds.

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan and using a candy thermometer boil mixture until it reaches 230 to 234 degrees (between thread and softball stage).

Pour hot mixture into a large glass jar, cool to room temp and then store in the refrigerator.

Yields approximately 2 to 2 ½ cups of candied kumquats/sauce.

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-GE, 2/15/09

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