Growing up in Michigan I always envied people living in Southern California because of their luscious and bountiful gardens year round. A cornucopia of Vietnamese herbs and citrus trees can be found in most Vietnamese American homes and these bear so much fruit that owners are almost forced to give away, lest they go bad. This is a good thing problem for us because we recently received a huge bushel of kumquats from one of Kim’s aunts. During the Tet lunar new year, kumquat plants are often given away as gifts since it symbolizes good luck. Unlike oranges, the rind is sweet and can be eaten whole.
Since we had so much we decided to candy some of the kumquats. Sweet and tangy candied kumquats are a fantastic condiment for desserts and drinks as well as on savories such as pork, chicken, or our recent hoisin glazed ribs. We like ours with a hint of aromatic spices.
- 1.5 lb kumquats (about 2-3 cups, depending on size)
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups sugar (we used 1 cup white and 1 cup brown)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
First wash and remove stems from kumquats. If yours are small, you may candy them whole, however we find that we don’t like to deal with the seeds. Cut in half, short-wise and remove seeds. In medium saucepan, bring to boil the water and sugar and let it reduce for about 3-4 min.
Add the kumquats and the spices. Lower heat and simmer and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes. The kumquats will become more translucent. Taste a kumquat and syrup during this time and adjust sugar or spices to taste. Use slotted spoon to remove the kumquats or drain in colander, but do not discard the syrup. Reduce the syrup further to about half and allow to cool slightly. Jar both kumquats and syrup and refrigerate.