Sunday, May 15, 2011

Candied Kumquats

When I bought my house it came with a not quite impressive looking kumquat tree. Each year in spite of cold and shade this little tree grows stronger (though not particularly more beautiful) and produces more and more fruit.
It's nice to walk by and pop one of the tangy orange fruits in my mouth (you eat them rind and all) or use the leafy branches in flower arrangements. But each year I find myself wondering . . . What am I going to do with all those kumquats?
There have been shaker-style pies where sugar and fruit melt to an ever so tart custard. Last year brought a batch of dark marmalade, surprisingly delicious with pungent cheeses. I've salted them, brandied them, even cooked them in a Moroccan chicken tagine.
And there are always the seeds. Little fruits with lots of little seeds.
Recently I've spied quite a few recipes online for candied kumquats and tantalizingly elegant ways to use them, alongside roast duck, as a condiment for cheese, adding punch to a chocolate torte, creating a sauce for delicate panna cotta. I was so delighted with the idea of little glistening fruits propping my dishes I set to slicing hardly noticing the seeds that in other years have kept me away from the kumquat harvest.
To candy I gently simmered the slices in simple syrup until the orange skin became translucent. I processed the jars in my hot water canner so we can add our home grown candied fruit to dishes all year long.
I can hardly wait for next year's harvest.

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