I would not normally consider myself traditional but when we bought our home last December, I found myself following a few traditions for luck from my Chinese heritage. It’s really just for fun as both my husband and mother-in-law are expert gardeners. When it was time for picking fruit trees to grow, the kumquat tree was on the top of the list.
In many Asian cultures, particularly of Chinese origins, round citrus fruits like oranges and tangerines are considered to bring luck and prosperity, especially if a couple of trees are placed at the doorways or entrances of a house. The words orange and tangerine translated to Chinese resemble luck and wealth. It’s round plump shape as well as its bright orange colour likened to gold coins are some of the reasons why it would be very common to see a couple of these trees at storefronts or many homes in big Asian cities, especially during the Chinese New Year.
As a couple of orange or tangerine trees are too big for our home, the kumquats did the trick. We’ve got two of them at the moment bearing fruit the size of a large olive. We have Nagami kumquat trees which blossom with white flowers and bear fruit with a thin skin and juicy, citrusy flesh.
I have been experimenting with a couple of techniques cooking lemons from previous posts, and have combined a couple of procedures to create this recipe where the sweetness of the fruit is highlighted, but the tartness of the juicy flesh is still allowed to shine.
I created sugar syrup of 2 parts water for every 1 part of sugar and cooked it over a low simmer. Traditionally at least equal proportions of sugar to water would be used for preparations like these.
The result is a bright semi-candied kumquat. Sweet skin without the bitterness even if the seeds are still in. With a full bite the tart juicy flesh releases its burst of citrusy flavour. I’m happy with this.
200g of fruit was picked this time from our garden during the first burst of spring. The recipe can be multiplied easily if you’ve got more.
Semi-Candied Kumquats Recipe
2 Liters water
34g /1 Tbs salt
200g fresh kumquats
1) Boil 1 Liter of water and 17g/1 tbs salt.
2) Add the kumquats and boil for approximately 3 minutes or until the kumquats float.
3) Strain the kumquats and discard the liquid. Make a fresh pot of salted water with the same proportions.
4) Repeat the procedure one more time.
5) In another saucepot, boil 150g sugar and 300g water.
6) Add the blanched kumquats.
7) Maintain temperature at 95°C or keep it at a slow simmer.
8) Cook the kumquats for approximately 30 minutes or until translucent.
9) The fruit should still be whole, very citrusy with only a hint almost non-existent bitterness from the rind and seeds.
10) Cool in the syrup and store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
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