Kumquat Nectar

The wintry season came and is on its way out (but you can never know for sure with these erratic weather mood swings these days). Even though the days were cold and sometimes bleak, the season brought with it a cornucopia of citrus- oranges of all kinds, mandarins, tangerines, and little golden jewels called kumquats.

Kumquats have long been hailed as a Chinese home remedy for sore throat (and it really works!). Pesticide-free fruits will work best in this recipe since the kumquats are boiled into a syrup and then dried to make candied kumquats- with peel and all.

To make kumquat nectar:
Start with some rinsed kumquats and brown candy pieces (this stuff is different from the lighter rock sugar but is readily available from Asian grocers).

For about 1 pound of kumquats, 5 pieces of brown candy were used. Mom and I don't like it to be too sweet, and the amount can be adjusted to your preference. Also, using ripe kumquats will require less sugar to offset the tartness.
Arrange the kumquats on the bottom and add the candy pieces on top (so the sugar doesn't burn and stick to the pan). Cook over medium-low heat. Don't add any water unless the kumquats have NO juice! Cooking the kumquats will make them release their juice slowly. Smoosh the fruits every now and then to help them along.

Aside from producing a delicious syrup, the same batch of kumquats will yield chewy dried fruits! Talk about a zero waste recipe!

Candied dried kumquats:
Use a slotted spoon to get all the fruits out of the liquid. Lay the cooked kumquats on a casserole dish or glass plate. Put the kumquats out in the sun for a day or two to dry them up. Store the candied kumquats in airtight containers in the fridge.

Collect the syrup in a glass jar (see first picture) and store in the fridge. Dilute with water when you want a refreshing drink or sore throat remedy! Terrific hot or cold.

Last year, we got a late start with the kumquats so I had plenty of nectar even until early summer. When diluted with water, chilled with basil (leaves and stem), and topped with carbonated water before serving, the nectar makes an excellent fizzy kumquat basil cooler for a hot day.


delwin said...

The fizzy kumquat basil cooler was delicious when it was super hot last summer

Terry said...

The article didn't say how long to cook the Kumquats. I may have to try this as I know a tree that just drops them in the street unclaimed it seems.

HEALing Foodie said...

@ Delwin: Kumquat basil cooler will be repeated this summer!
@ Terry: Depending on how much you start with, it takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to cook down the kumquats.

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