Winter season bring lots of goody goodness for citrus lovers. Last weekend marked the debut of kumquats in the markets. Yup! It’s in season and excitement bubbles within me. To us, Chinese, kumquat brings good luck and symbolises gold and abundance of wealth. In cantonese, it literally means gold (kum) fruit (quat).
Kumquats are one of the most under-rated citrus fruits. Perhaps, it takes a while to get used to its unique flavours. You see, unlike the other citrus, the skin is edible and sweet, while the juices are tart with a hint of bitterness. A treat to winter – kumquats can be eaten as it is (like a fruit) or cooked in sugar & spices or preserve in salt. As much as I like kumquat, I much prefer to cook or preserve them.
“The flavours are very intense – almost made me cry when I tasted – and they are called the tears of shock s-a-t-i-s-f-a-c-t-i-o-n”
For this delicious compote – the kumquats are simmered with sugar syrup and spices. Thus bringing out the best blend of aromas with great flavours. It dresses beautifully with vanilla or ginger ice cream and goes well with crispy skin duck breast too.
If you don’t know this by now – kumquat also has its itsy bitsy bits of health benefits. My mom likes to use kumquat as a soothing remedy for sore throat. This remedy has worked for many generations. It’s really simple – place some days-old salt-preserved kumquats in a mug, mix them in hot water and stir in the honey. Bitter sweet but works well 🙂
See – what’s not to love about kumquat? The next time you spot them, don’t ignore them 🙂 Open your taste bud and try it.
Kumquat Compote (adapted from The Kinfolk Table)
Makes about 2 small mason jars of compote
500g kumquats, cleaned-halved-seeded, leave the skin on
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 star anise
2 cardamom pods
2 fresh ginger slices
1. Mix both sugar and water together in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat while stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
2. Stir in the kumquats, cardamom pods, star anise and ginger into the sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 50 mins or until the sauce has thickened to a jam-like consistency.
3. Leave to cool a bit before transferring the compote to 2 medium-size mason jars with tight-fitting caps. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.