“Be sure and eat the skin.”
I shot my then boyfriend, Christopher, a skeptical look, but took a bite of the tiny oval orange, skin and all. I remember my body’s reactions, even though that was twenty years ago, because it happens every time: eyes squint, head cocks to the side, shoulders go up, lips pucker, but I keep chewing the intensely sour mass because every so often there’s sweetness.
When we bought our second home, it came with a kumquat tree in a huge pot on the front patio. That was in California. Here in Montana, I’m thrilled when I find a little basket of kumquats at the grocery, however the last handful from my February purchase was still staring back at me from the dish in the fridge when the calendar turned to March. I had to think of something to do with them, because you do not waste kumquats.
I decided to go with Epicurious’ instructions for candying the fruit. The whole process takes about 20 minutes and they’ll last a week or two in the fridge in a covered glass jar. Pull them out to top plain yogurt, toasted rye with cream cheese, or if you want to get fancy, panna cotta.
- About 1 cup kumquats (12 ish)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Wash kumquats and slice each crosswise into thirds. Remove the seeds that are easy to get. Don't worry about the others.
- Bring the water and sugar to boil in a medium sized, heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the sliced kumquats and simmer until fruit is translucent and tender, about 15 minutes. Cool and transfer to a glass jar. Store covered in the fridge for a week or two.