A few years ago, I visited a friend’s house in Southern California and saw a giant tree full of what looked like miniscule, oblong oranges hanging. My friend casually plucked a few and popped them into his mouth while I awkwardly looked on like he was insane – what do you mean you can just eat fruits like that, rind and all?
So that was my first run-in with kumquats. Now at every chance I get, I ask his family to send them to me because they are ridiculously expensive at the store and also ridiculously delicious, which puts me in a bit of a situation, you see.
While not officially kumquat season, these orange relatives thrive in warmer weather, which is why they tend to grow well in places like Southern California and are shipped to the bay where we pay top dollar for them. Since I don’t get to have them in my produce shelf too often, I love candying the crap out of them so I can store them in jars and have them for months to come on toast, on ice cream, in salads, plain…honestly in any way.
And because I’m Indian, and I like to make sure people remember that from time to time, I throw some whole cardamom pods while cooking the simple syrup. The pods and seeds get strained out later, leaving a lilting, chai-like flavor that puts a twist on this recipe.
Sadly, I’m almost done with my kumquats, so if anyone would like to send some my way, I will return the favor with a jar of candied fruits, or perhaps some Kahlua Toast Crunch. Or both. If you are lucky.
- Using the handle of a large knife, crush the cardamom pods lightly. Combine in a large, heavy-bottomed pan with the water and sugar and bring to a simmer until the sugar dissolves.
- Remove from heat, cover the pan, and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Strain out the cardamom pods and seeds and return the syrup back to the large pan.
- Using a small, serrated knife, thinly slice the kumquats uniformly, discarding the seeds as you go. This will take awhile, but make sure there aren’t any seeds – it leaves a bitter aftertaste.
- Add the sliced kumquats to the cardamom syrup and bring everything to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes until the kumquats are translucent and soft, but not mushy, and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Turn off heat and let cool to room temperature. Scoop into Mason jars and seal. Store in the fridge for at least 3 months or longer.
Daniela @ FoodrecipesHQ says
This recipe sounds ridiculously easy, love it! I like cardamom and kumquats but never tried them together. It must be a great combination of scent and flavors!
I have a weird thing with cardamom, probably cus I’ve been exposed to that flavor pretty much my whole life. But I think it works!
Baby June says
That looks delicious! I’ve candied ginger before, but never any kind of fruits. I’ll have to try this!
If you’ve candied ginger, than you can DEFINITELy do this, it’s much easier and just as delicious!
Nancy @ gottagetbaked says
Shikha, I just discovered the magical deliciousness of the kumquat so this is a timely blog post. Candying them is a brilliant idea! Just look at the vibrant golden colour of the kumquats in those jars. It must taste amazing with the cardamom.
Aren’t kumquats kind of the best? They’re super expensive to buy, so I got lucky that my friend is just giving them to be by the bagful. Have you made anything else with kumquats?
Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health says
my grandmother has a kumquat tree and we loved the jam while growing up. i absolutely agree with cardamom pods in sugar syrup – i think its in our genes,
I THINK SO TOO. We just know cardamom!
Brenda Ton @ Bites & Bourbon says
This sounds like an amazing combination. Beautiful photos! I can imagine these nicely over a spread of brie cheese and toast 🙂
Brenda, you are a food combination genius – now all I want is brie and toast. Just brie in general, cus cheese is amazing!
OMGSH YUM. l love kumquats but never thought about candying them… I’ll have to give this a try 🙂
If you can find yourself some kumquats, than 100% try this and let me know! They’re impossible to get in the Bay without paying a million dollars for them 🙁
Mmmm…kumquats, girl! You’re totally right–these were growing about the door of the apartment building I was looking at a while ago, and the manager just plucked a bunch off and said, Nobody appreciates them and I can’t eat them fast enough by myself, so you should have a load! I don’t know if he still grows them but I miss them incredibly already! This jam looks amazing!
Oh I HOPE you are taking advantage of that kumquat tree and if not, give them my email because I will! They are so good, and I never eat citrus fruits plain at all – like I never eat oranges.
This recipe sounds so perfect for summer..on grilled bread, on flatbread, bagels!! Gosh girl I am on a ride!
Woah, on flatbread and bagels – you are coming up with some seriously good ideas for this!
Anna | One Prickly Pear says
These look delicious! I love fresh kumquats so I’m guessing I’m going to love them candied even more. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
If you like them fresh then you will DEF love these!!