Friday, January 23, 2015

Everything's Coming Up Kumquats!

While keeping an eye on the forecast for 2-6" of snow tomorrow and prepping for said snow, I did a few fun things around the house.  Mainly, I candied a pint of kumquats I'd picked up in Flushing over the weekend.  I have a soft spot for the orange-y fruit, intrigued by the bitter pulp and sweet skin, so backwards from other citrus.  I also like the extremely sweet candied kumquats we sometimes have at Chinese New Year's, with it's shell-like coating of sugar crystals on the outside.  Today was my first attempt at candying citrus since a terrible mishap almost twenty years ago, when I burned a pot, the peel I'd labored over, and my own ego.  Ugh.  

But today it worked!  And they're so much better than the crystallized ones.  They retain some of their bitterness which provides an unexpected sophistication to them.  I have a whole jar full of them  . . . I can see them paired with vanilla ice cream, cream fraiche, or maybe even cheesecake!

And while I waited for the kumquats to boil (twice in water, twice in sugar), I doodled on my recyclable coffee cup!

Candied Kumquats
I got some kumquats in Flushing but knew I’d never finish them all, so I looked up how to candy them and found this recipe in the NYTimes.  My last experience candying citrus ended with a burned pot, burned peel, and lots of tears—almost 20 years ago.  But today’s attempt went well.  They aren’t sugary sweet like the ones you buy in Chinatown, instead keeping some of the ir bitterness for an unexpectedly sophisticated flavor.

1 pint kumquats or 4 Meyer lemons, washed and destemmed
1 ½ cups sugar

In a small saucepan, cover the fruit with cold water and bring to a boil. Drain. Cover the fruit with cold water and bring to a boil again. Drain and set aside.
In the same saucepan, combine 1 cup water and the sugar, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Pierce each piece of fruit 2 or 3 times with a paring knife. Drop the fruit into the sugar syrup and continue to simmer for 15 minutes for kumquats or 20 minutes for lemons.
Remove from heat and leave the fruit steeping in the syrup unrefrigerated for 8 hours or overnight.
Bring the syrup and fruit to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Cool and store in a glass jar. Fruit and syrup will keep in the refrigerator for 3 months.


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