Monday, January 23, 2012

Candied kumquats

Candied kumquats. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Each winter, just after New Year's, I find a special treat tucked in my grocer's produce case - pints of kumquats, the tart orange min-football-shaped fruits that can be eaten peel and all. Kumquats are an acquired taste - the pucker makes my eyes pop and there's a faint bitterness to the pith. But like the first asparagus of spring, or the Pink Lady apples arriving in fall, I look forward to them each year.

This winter, I didn't have to peek and poke around the produce case, I mentioned my kumquat fixation to Alex at Frieda's Produce, and she sent me a container of the cutest kumquats I ever did see. According to Alex, these kumquats were grown in the California Desert, but the fruit will be coming out of San Diego now. Kumquat season is October through July.

Frieda's kumquats. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
After eating a few out of hand, I decided to make Candied Kumquats, my way of preserving the harvest. With a little bit of sugar and water, these little fruits can be turned into a sort of marmalade that is just right for topping lemon curd shortbread (coming soon!) or your breakfast toast.

Kumquats. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

I began by washing, then slicing the little guys. The fruit is entirely edible, but removing the seeds makes for a prettier presentation.

Slice kumquats and pop out the seed for a prettier presentation. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
 The cleaned kumquats go in a bubbling sugar bath.

Kumquats in syrup. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

The cooked kumquats can be sealed in a jar.

Kumquats in syrup. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

A bright orange bowl of candied kumquats makes a lovely addition to the breakfast or brunch table.

Candied kumquats. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
Candied kumquats

11 ounces kumquats
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

1. Wash kumquats. Slice each fruit in half and flick out seed.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add water and sugar and stir until dissolved. Add kumquats and cook until the fruit is soft, about 30 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Let cool. Keep in airtight container in refrigerator.

Candied kumquats may be eaten out of the jar, when no one's looking. They're also nice on your breakfast toast, with a shmear of farmer's cheese, or perhaps ricotta, maybe cream cheese.

Candied kumquats on toasted baguette with farmer's cheese. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Thanks to Alex and the lovely folks at Frieda's Produce for the kumquats! (Disclaimer: this was not a sponsored post. I received no compensation for this post, other than the beautiful kumquats.)

Text and images copyright 2012, Lucy Mercer.


Bellwether Vance said...

Wow!! Knowing that my husband's favorite dessert is kumquat pie, my dad gave us a kumquat tree for Christmas. So, (fingers crossed), by this time next year we should have PLENTY of them! These look amazing and I'm positive I'll be trying this recipe. Bell :)

Ann from Sumptuous Spoonfuls said...

yay! another kumquat fanatic :) ... I have just discovered kumquats since my aunt sent me some from her tree and I just love them. They are so fun, aren't they? Your candied kumquats look so lovely.

Lana @ Never Enough Thyme said...

I love kumquats, too. They were always a Christmas treat in our house when I was growing up. These days I make a kumquat and dried cherry relish with them.