Kumquats are those miniature sized pear-shaped orange colored fruits we see growing on trees this time of year. If you’re lucky enough to have a kumquat tree in your yard, or have a friend that has a tree, then you know what I’m talking about when I say, “they produce a lot of fruit.” Kumquats are unique in the citrus family because they have the reverse flavors of normal citrus, because their skins are sweet and the centers taste sour. You can eat kumquats right off the tree, or slice them and enjoy raw in salads. Preserving kumquats is what I prefer to do with my abundance of fresh fruit, and creating my Old Fashioned Kumquat Marmalade recipe, allows me to enjoy kumquats year round. However, this time I’m trying my hand at candying kumquats, so I can serve them with cheese, or spoon over desserts like cheesecake and flourless chocolate cake.
What I’ve learned about candying kumquats is that it is a much easier process than making marmalade because you don’t need to remove any seeds. When you make marmalade, removing most seeds is just part of the process, and that does take a little time, trust me. Candying is an enjoyable exercise because there are just a few repetitive steps, like boiling them twice in water to tenderize their skins, before you plop them into a boiling bath of simple syrup. I decided to infuse my simple syrup, equal parts water and sugar, with lavender flowers, so the kumquats were slightly infused with some additional essence. The results are subtle and still allow the citrus to still be the shining star. This entire candying exercise takes minutes, except for allowing them to cool in the sugar syrup overnight, before spooning them into jars, but that doesn’t take any additional work on your part.
These kumquats come out soft, citrusy, while still maintaining some texture to their skin. They are aromatically sweet, yet still tangy and quite enjoyable spooned over soft cheese. This recipe makes two pints, loosely, because they are stored in their syrup in jars in the refrigerator. You can preserve them further and go through proper canning steps, which will give them shelf life to store in the pantry, but I opted to give them away as gifts, so others can enjoy them immediately during kumquat season.
3 cups fresh kumquats
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
(Makes 2 Pints)
- Add kumquats to a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring them to a boil and drain. Repeat once more.
- In the same pan, add sugar, lavender flowers and 2 cups water, bring to a boil. Simmer syrup for 10 minutes.
- Pierce each kumquats three times with a toothpick or knife, and plop them gently into syrup. Simmer kumquats in syrup for 15 minutes.
- Remove saucepan from heat and cover pan with lid. Leave kumquats in syrup to steep overnight.
- Next day, bring kumquats back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature and spoon into jars. Store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!