I live in “Citrus country” or I should say state.
Strangely I hadn’t heard of kumquat until we moved to CA over a decade ago. So the first time I saw a Kumquat was a tag hanging from a citrus plant while browsing the nursery at my local Home Depot. At first, I thought looking at the little tag, it was some sort of a dwarf variety of Orange fruit or a Bonsai. So I picked the plant, and planted it in a large pot and placed it full sun just as the instruction said so.
Lo and behold, that spring/summer there was a profusion of white flowers with scent I had never smelled before.
Then with the natural course of life, the same flowers ended up as these beautiful little mini green oranges, so I patiently waited for them to grow bigger, which never happened and they ripened. I was a little disappointed and excited to have discovered something new.
When I bit into it for the first time the tartness hit me followed by an interesting juxtapose of flavors: sweet and bitter. I have to say, they are intense with a strong citrus punch. So we seldom eat them as a fruit. I usually cook with them, and marmalade is one of our favorite ways to eat them. This recipe is not exactly a marmalade but more of a fruit preserve with much less sugar, I keep it refrigerated and eat it within a few weeks. I quarter the fruit so its chunky with thicker pieces of fruit. This might sound strange but, I love to eat it with greek yogurt for breakfast or as a dessert.
Right now citruses are at its peak and you see them everywhere. Every front yard, backyard and even parking lots have a tree: navels, meyer lemons and everything in between.
Here is the recipe
- About 30 pieces of kumquats washed and towel dried
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup raw sugar (depends on how sweet you like it)
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
- a few drops of orange blossom water
- Cut the clean fruit into quarters and put them with the sugar in a non reactive bowl.
- Leave it in the fridge to macerate overnight. This helps the fruit to breakdown and give out it juices.
- Add the cardamom, orange and lemon juice to the fruit mixture and bring it to a boil in a sauce pan. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook covered for about 30 minutes. By now the juice should have evaporated and fruit cooked. It should have a jam like consistency.
- Take it off the heat and add orange blossom water if you like floral scent in your food.Leave it to cool.
- Spoon it into sterile jars and keep it refrigrated.
- Its great with yogurt, scones or any plain baked item.