Kumquats are a citrus fruit available in the winter months. They look like an orange, only they are much smaller and oval-shaped. Unlike oranges, the skin and the seeds of kumquats are edible (the flesh is rather sour, but the peel is almost sweet).
Kumquats are high in vitamin C and may be eaten cooked or raw. I have turned them into marmalade before, and I have also seen recipes featuring them in salsas and salads. Making candied kumquats is very simple and can be as pared down as involving just kumquats and sugar. My version is a bit more complex, but so is the rich and wonderful flavor.
These can be served over ice cream or yogurt, atop cheesecakes or gingerbread…or on their own. If you make a big batch, I think jars of these would make nice holiday gifts.
Candied Kumquats with Spices and Grand Marnier
Makes about 1 pint
- 1 pint (2 cups) kumquats, sliced in halve and pitted (if some pits remain, it’s okay…these can be removed later or left in)
- 1/2 cup Grand Marnier
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4-1/2 cup honey (depending on how sweet you want the candied kumquats to be)
- 5 whole star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 vanilla bean, sliced down the middle (or use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- Place all ingredients except vanilla bean in a small heavy bottomed pot on the stove. Scrape the vanilla bean and add the seeds and the pod to the mixture. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat slightly, and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until the syrup thickens and the kumquats are very soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Remove and discard the cinnamon and vanilla bean. Discard the star anise, if you like (I personally like to keep it in the jar with the kumquats as it looks so pretty). Optionally, you may discard any kumquats seeds that remain.
- Ladle the kumquats into a pint size jar and top off with the syrup. You may add additional Grand Marnier for a “boozier” finished product, if you like. Refrigerate and consume within a week or two.
Winnie Abramson writes the organic gardening and food blog Healthy Green Kitchen.
Photo Credit: Winnie Abramson