Kumquats? Yup. I know they aren’t your average citrus but let me tell you, they are very yummy. I planted a kumquat tree many years ago, maybe ten or so. I have an awkward backyard that needs a lot of privacy. I researched all the planting possibilities for the backyard. I, also, looked into fruit bearing trees. If you are going to plant a tree, why not plant one that will give you shade, privacy, beauty and something to eat! Citrus trees seemed to be the answer. I have others kinds, too, like palms and Italian cypress but I just love my citrus trees. I didn’t plant apples, peaches, plums or cherries. I love all those fruits but the trees are deciduous – remember I needed screening and privacy. Back to my kumquat, it has become a favorite of mine and my dogs. Mattie, my cockapoo, runs to the tree every time I let her out. She eats so many of them that she will get sick. Cassius, my big puppy, will play with one for a while and eventually, I’m guessing once he has smashed the outer peel enough, will eat it. If you have never had a kumquat, know that you eat the whole fruit, peel and all. The fruit is small, the size of a large olive. It’s the peel that is sweet. The pulp is sour. So, when you put them together, chomp down on the peel. The contrast of sweet and sour is delicious.
I like my kumquat tree and my kumquat tree likes were it is because I get a harvest twice a year and the branches are so full that they bend with the weight of the fruit. The dogs and I get our fill and I share with everyone who likes kumquats but I always have extra. With the fruit that’s left, I make candied kumquats and kumquat marmalade. The marmalade is similar to orange marmalade but with a twist. You can find this citrus in your grocery store. They tend to be a bit expensive. Last time I saw them, they were $6.99 a pound but it’s well worth a try.
The neat thing about this fruit is that the seeds carry the pectin. You boil the seeds with the fruit, sugar and water and it will jell up on it’s own. So fun! This year, I tried my hand at a kumquat jelly. That turned out really yummy. I’m going to try a kumquat/mint jelly. I thought that might go well with lamb. I’ll post the recipes soon. Wish me luck.
1 lb. Kumquats
5 1/2 cups Water
2 cups Sugar
pinch of Salt
Cut the Lemons in half lengthwise. Seed (Save the seeds.) and slice very thinly. Put lemon slices in a pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat until the lemons are translucent, about 5 minutes. Drain.
Seed (Save the seeds.) and slice the Kumquats. Tie lemon and kumquat seeds in to a piece of cheesecloth. Put the seed bag, the Lemon and Kumquat slices, and 5 1/2 cups Water in the pot. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 24 hours.
Add Sugar and Salt to the pot and cook for 30-45 minutes over medium heat. Remove the bag of seed and when cool enough, squeeze the seeds in the cheesecloth with your hands or a ladle and the back of a spoon over the pot. Be careful not to break the bag and drop seeds into the marmalade.
Continue cooking until jelling point, about 220 degrees in a candy thermometer. There are other ways to check if it’s done using a frozen plate. Check the internet for this method.
Remove from heat and ladle the marmalade into clean jars. Here is where you would preserve them in a water bath. Again, check the internet for directions.
This is a great gift for any occasion. Try it on toast, crackers and cheese.
Until next time, eat well, drink well and live well.