It’s citrus season and our cumquat tree has been prolific. And unlike last year when I picked the fruit but ran out of time use them, I was determined to not to let this years crop to go to waste.
A good thing then, that the long weekend had arrived and rain had washed out children’s sport; the cumquat kitchenfest was on!
The 6 kilo harvest was probably a little more than I could reasonably manage however I was determined to give it my best shot, encouraged vigorously by Miss 11.
We started with marmalade. I have good success with Stephanie Alexander’s recipe from her Cook’s Companion. Nice and simple. Miss 11 did all the weighing, washing and some of the chopping before she got bored and
went to annoy her brother found something more interesting to do. And, with cumquats prepped and soaking, the next task was cordial.
I had a school friend with an enormous cumquat at her front door. Her mother bottled litres of cumquat cordial which I still remember fondly; cold, tart, sweet deliciousness in a glass.
My Good Housekeeping Complete Book of Home Preserving was a great op shop find in my University days. And it’s been my go-to for ‘squash’ or as we know, it cordial, ever since. Cumquats are so small and squishy, cutting them in half and giving them a quick squeeze is as complicated as this recipe gets.
And finally, when I had almost run out of cumquat steam, a search into the depths of my freezer revealed enough almond meal to whip up a Middle Eastern cumquat cake in the style of Claudia Roden. I’m not going to give you the recipe here because you will find more posts than cakes you can bake using Google. Simply swap oranges for cumquats (I used around 400g) and reduce the cooking time of the fruit. The result is scrumptious.
The remaining two kilos of cumquats are in the fridge patiently waiting further inspiration…
I love a seasonal culinary challenge when I have the time. What creative ways do you managed seasonal produce?
Makes around 3L
Recipe from Stephanie Alexander’s Cook’s Companion
- 2kg cumquats, washed
Quarter cumquats, removing seeds* and set aside.
Tie seeds into muslin or a clean handkerchief.
Put fruit and seeds into a bowl and just cover with water (around 1.5-1.7L) and leave to soak overnight.
Next day, measure out fruit and soaking water into large saucepan noting the number of cups (I had 11 cups).
Add to the pan an equal volume of sugar** and bring to the boil.
Boil briskly until it reaches setting point. This can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes or more depending upon your fruit.
Allow to cool slightly before discarding seeds and bottling into hot sterilised jars.
*My cumquats were absolutely full of seeds so rather than seeding first, I seeded them throughout the cooking process using a slotted spoon to catch them as they floated to the surface. The cooking softens the fruit so seeds still caught in the fruit are easily squashed out with the back of a spoon. It was still time consuming, but less so than removing them first up.
**My marmalade was quite bitter on tasting so I added another cup of sugar. This improved the flavour (though it still had a nice bitter kick, just less so) and made it much more likely that my children would also enjoy the marmalade – which they did.
Makes about 900ml
Recipe from Good Housekeeping Complete Book of Home Preserving
- 400g cumquats washed
- 750g sugar
- 450ml water
- ¼ tsp citric acid
Halve cumquats and squeeze out enough juice to make 300ml.
Ainely slice the rind of three or four juiced cumquat halves after scraping away the flesh.
Place cumquat rind, sugar and water into a pan and slowly bring to the boil.
Allow to cool slightly then add strained juice and citric acid.
Strain into sterilised bottles, cap and allow to cool.
Store in the fridge for up to 3 months (if it lasts that long) and dilute one part cordial to 2-3 parts water or soda or as to taste.