I call kumquats “treasure”. Maybe it’s the bright orange colour or the heavenly aroma. Or maybe it’s the bittersweet taste as they burst into your mouth and tickle every part of your palate. That’s the reason I leaped with joy, when I came home to find two bags of handpicked, 100% organic kumquats, from a very dear friend’s garden. After eating about 20, I started experimenting with the rest. I left some of them whole, sliced the rest and cooked them in sugar syrup. Then I ate another 20.
The kumquats I left whole, are less sweet and more boozy. They are best eaten plain, as a light dessert after a meal. Or even as a pre-dessert bite. The sliced kumquats are sweeter, but not overwhelming and are fantastic served with cheese or a light cheesecake.
For the whole kumquats
- 500 grams kumquats
- (you will need water to blanch the fruit
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup brandy
Use a small sharp knife to cut off the stem of the fruit. Using the same knife make small holes on the skin of the kumquats to prevent them from bursting in the syrup. Put kumquats in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to boil and cook for 1 minute. Drain fruit and discard water.
Put sugar and 2 cups water in a pot. Bring to boil and add the fruit. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until fruit is soft and cooked through.
Drain fruit (keep the syrup) and transfer into a sterilized jar. Add ¼ cup good brandy and enough of their syrup to cover them. Leave to cool completely before closing the jar. Store in the fridge.
For the sliced kumquats
- 1 kg kumquats
- 8 cups sugar
- 8 cups water
- 2 Tbs brandy
Use a small sharp knife to cut off the stem of the fruit and slice in 3-4 slices. Take out the pits with the tip of the knife (no need to stress over this, some pits will remain but will come out after the fruit is cooked).
Put sliced fruit, sugar and 8 cups of water in a large pot. Bring to boil, lower the heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes until fruit is cooked and looks translucent. Take pot off the heat and leave fruit in the syrup to cool completely. Remove kumquat slices with a slotted spoon and put in sterilized jars with the brandy.
Return pot with syrup on the stove, bring to boil and reduce for about 15 minutes. Cool syrup and pour into the jars until fruit is covered. Close jars and store in the fridge.