Candied Kumquats & Kumquat – Cinnamon Liqueur

 
It might not really come as a surprise, but there is something about pottering around in the kitchen that I find incredibly calming. With pottering around I don’t necessarily mean preparing meals (which will inevitably be eaten within a short timeframe), but rather making preserves and condiments that fill our fridge and freezer.
From time to time I wonder why I am making so much, but then I remember again how nice it is to have extras when we arrive home, for example after a long travel like today, and still can make ourselves something substantial for dinner without having to worry about store opening hours. Or, actually a better reason, to always have enough around to host a little dinner or drink.
In any case, I have decided to give in and fully embrace my squirrel-like hoarding behavior.
Today is one of those days where I am really grateful for our fridge, when we come tonight after 8 hours of traveling. It is definitely not candied fruit we will eat for dinner, but it might very well be some cheese with homemade chutney and some pickled cucumbers and carrots (and then wonder why I am so thirsty at night;)).
But to come back to preserving in general, I do believe that some products have a very small window and preserving pretty much enables to ‘strech’ their season.
Kumquats are one of these things that I would love to have around a little longer. My liking for the small fruit is pretty fresh by the way, as until a year ago I thought kumquats only grew in cocktail glasses. When I came around a really pretty looking basket full of kumquats, I couldn’t help but to take home around half a kilo. Which is pretty cool and nice, but also a bit much to just snack on (I won’t lie, all this bitter-sourness will make your stomach hurt at one point, which yes – would normally be covered by the cocktail;)).
Inspired by this post on Food52, I have made Candied Kumquats, which makes a beautiful syrup and very gentle tasting slices of kumquat. The big advantage is that you can easily work this into a cake (for example this one), and that you can get rid of the (sometimes unproportional) big seeds while you are slicing the kumquats.
The rest of the kumquats have disappeared into a bottle of gin, together with some simple syrup and cinnamon sticks. Combined with some ice cubes, lemon juice or sparkling water this would make an awesome drink.
I hope you have had a nice Easter and are enjoying your kitchen (couch;)) as much as I do at the moment. 🙂

Candied Kumquats

  • 300 grams of kumquats, properly rinsed and slices into 3 to 4 slices per kumquat, seeds removed
  • 250 grams of water
  • 250 grams of (palm)sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optionally)
  • 100 grams of kumquats, properly rinsed and sliced into 3 to 4 slices per kumquat, seeds removed
  • 100 grams of simple syrup (made of 50 grams of (palm)sugar and 50 grams of water)
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 300 milliliter of vodka, gin or brandewein
This recipe will give you an excess of simple syrup, but you could easily use this to candy more kumquats or to make the Kumquat Liqueur (recipe under).
To make the syrup, simply heat the water and palmsugar together on the stove until it gently boils. There is no need to let the mixture thicken, the aim is simply to let the sugar dissovle into the water.
In the meanwhile, wash and slice the kumquats. Remove the pits as you go.
Before assembling, the glass jar needs to be sterilised. This is always recommended when you are preserving food, but in this case the kumquats won’t be boiled and are therefore extra sensitive for bacterias. There are loads of very useful links on the internet with regards to sterilising your jars, and I do think it is useful to read about it, as it considers your food and safety. In short, it comes down to ‘boiling’ your jar and lid and to make sure you are not touching any of the insides before the food goes into them. The hotter both the food and glass are, the better.
My method is to pour boiling water in and over the glass container and its lid, and to afterwards only handle it with a clean dishtowel (just the outside, the inside should dry up untouched). Please be careful not to burn your hands.
After sterilising your jar, drop in the sliced kumquats and, optionally, the vanilla extract.
Then pour over the simple syrup until the jar is filled as much as possible (to leave out as much air as you can). Close the lid while it is still hot and let it sit together for at least a week before using, so that the syrup can take on the aromatic kumquat taste, whereas the kumquats can get a little mellower.
Kumquat Liqueur
Makes one 500 ml bottle of Liqueur.
In case you still have kumquats left, it would be a really nice idea to make this Kumquat Liqueur.
Not only because it looks super cute (sorry to use this word, I know it is awful and should only apply to cuddling cats, I simply can’t control myself), but also because it smells incredibly aromatic without being heavy or recalling Christmas.
The kumquats release their citrus aroma and oils beautifully into the liqueur and make it really fresh and bitter at the same time.
Press the kumquat pieces into the bottle, being carefull not to squeeze them too much (optic reasons only), drop the cinnamon sticks into the bottle, and pour on the simple syrup (either cooled down or still warm), and pour on the alcohol until the bottle is completely filled.
Let it sit for around two weeks before serving. The longer the mixture sits, the more taste of both the kumquats and the cinnamon it will take on.
Replacing the palmsugar with white granulated sugar will lead to a clearer liquid.

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