With 78 vibrant little cumquats/kumquats growing on my tree this year, I must admit to being a touch proud – my bounty is surprisingly up by 77 from last season! She is of the petite, potted variety, that until now has done little more than grow leaves and look rather sickly. This is my fault of course, for not always tending to her needs… water is usually helpful… as is a place to bask in the sun…
With one swift bite (and lots of extraordinarily fast chewing), I ruled out the idea of eating these beauties in their natural state and finally made some decisions of what to do with them. To follow are the two recipes I selected… The first is for preserving cumquats, so that during the winter months I’ll be able to chop up preserved peel for giving a boost of flavour to hearty casseroles and tagines. The second is for a really simple (microwaveable!) Cumquat Curd, that from all reports works out smoother and more delicious than any stove-top version. I’m such a big fan of lemon curd, so this seemed like the obvious choice.
I’ve also placed some excess puree from making the curd into a zip-lock bag and frozen it to use another day. Perhaps there’ll even be enough to make some little Cumquat Tarts… tart they will surely be!
(With many thanks to Darya of ‘Tortore’ for her tips and recipe!)
- 450g Cumquats/Kumquats
- 280g Sea Salt
- Juice of 6 Lemons
- Aromatics (optional) – herbs, spices, bay leaves… (I used some star anise in mine)
Sterilise the jars/lids you plan to use. I boiled mine in a large pot filled with water for 10 minutes.
Wash and remove the stems from all cumquats. Using a sharp knife, cut down the middle of each, but be sure not to slice all the way through.
Place a teaspoonful of sea salt in the base of each jar, and then begin stuffing a large pinch of salt into each cumquat and layer them into the jars. Sprinkle some salt between each layer (along with any aromatics you might be using) and then a final sprinkle over the top. Fill each jar with lemon juice to about 2cm from the top and seal with the lids.
Store the preserved cumquats for 48 hours at room temperature (turning the jars upside down every now and then). After 2 days place the jar(s) in the refrigerator and continue to turn upside down every day for at least 10 more days, before using.
Note: When ready to use, rinse off any excess salt and use in the same way as you would a preserved lemon.
Microwave Cumquat Curd
(Adapted from Celia’s recipe for Lemon Curd, from ‘Fig Jam and Lime Cordial‘)
- 50g/3½ Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 150g/⅔ Cup Caster Sugar
- 125ml/½ Cup Lemon Juice
- 3 Free-Range Eggs
- 2 Free-Range Egg Yolks
- ⅔ Cup Cumquat Puree (see notes below
Sterilise the jars/lids you plan to use. I boiled mine in a large pot filled with water for 10 minutes.
Place the butter, sugar and lemon juice into a large pyrex bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir well to ensure that the sugar has dissolved completely. Allow to cool slightly.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks until the whites and yolks are completely blended.
Pour the eggs through a sieve into the butter mixture, whisking all the while as you do. Then stir in the cumquat puree and place back in the microwave.
Microwave on high for 30 seconds, then give it a good stir. Back on high for another 30 seconds and stir again. Now microwave for 1 minute, then remove and whisk really well until you have a smooth curd-like texture. If you find it’s still too thin, place it back in the microwave for another 20-30 seconds and whisk again.
Pour into sterilised jars and keep in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use.
- Pureed Cumquats – Wash the cumquats, then slice each one in half and remove any seeds. Place fruit into a blender or food processor and whizz until pureed. This can then be easily portioned into zip-lock bags and frozen until required.
This is such a beautiful post Margot. What a bounty of kumquats!! I love that photograph with the beads of moisture clinging to the shiny skin… gorgeous. I actually preserved my own olives last year and added in a whole heap of kumquats that a friend had given me. It was a delicious idea! I love the alternatives of preserved kumquats and that stunning curd though… yum. Nothing beats fresh citrus curd on crumpets on a cold morning! I am going to try both of these ideas soon! x
Cheers Laura! I’m really looking forward to putting the preserved cumquats to use in the next week or so… and the curd is something I’ve been enjoying more and more each time I slather it on my morning toast (mmmm, crumpets would be lovely too!) Thanks so much for your kind comment.
Mmmm…I shall have to try these lovely kumquat recipes.
Thanks Lidia – I hope you enjoy them if you get a chance to make them! 🙂
They are the sweetest looking little things. But definitely an acquired taste.
It could’ve been your pot was too big for the plant last year. With olive trees it’s best to replicate their growing habit. And create something similar to the hills of Southern Spain where soil is thin and full of stones with good drainage. And keep the root ball small. Is it the same for citrus? Wouldn’t know. But it might help to explain why the tree was ‘lazy’ last year.
Thanks Johnny – you may well be right, perhaps it just needed to grow into the pot to be happy. You may well have also just answered why my olive tree (also potted) isn’t looking too flash at the moment! Hmmm, only 2 olives this year… 😦 Might be a good time to pull it out and resettle with some new soil and better drainage. Cheers, Margot
I used to have cumquat trees growing outside my kitchen door when we lived in Florida. I’m sure your curd is delicious.
Did you make anything special with them Karen? I’m always intrigued to know what others have made and enjoyed with this little sweet/sour citrus fruit! Cheers, Margot
Unfortunately I didn’t make anything with them as my husband wasn’t very fond of their flavor. He loves lemon curd so I think he might actually enjoy your recipe in a little tart with a fruit topping. 🙂
Margot, It’s gorgeous and looks delicious too. Stunning pictures 🙂
Thanks so very much Linda!
Margot, these are wonderful. I love how you counted the kumquats from your tree. Like a proud mother dog counting her litter. 🙂 And I can’t imagine your tree only producing ONE last year, in a teasingly fashion. I love the idea of preserving citrus. I must follow suit and give it a try. Darya is a wealth of information, isn’t she!
I think last year she was really just asking me to have faith in her… that she had it in her to actually produce something… and that 1 cumquat really WAS the most perfect cumquat you’ve ever seen! Seana, here’s a link to last years post – https://gatherandgraze.com/2013/06/08/pots-de-creme-au-chocolat-cumquat/ to show you what it looked like.
I love reading ‘Tortore’, I always seem to learn something new each time I visit! You’re right, Darya certainly is a wealth of information.
You know I never had kumquats? After this I really need to try!
Thanks Stephane! I can absolutely picture you making use of the preserved cumquats in your beautiful winter casseroles! 🙂
Preserved cumquats eh. That sounds like a bloody great idea. Straight in a lamb tagine for sure!!
I’m hearing you! Lamb tagine it is… in about a week’s time!
I’ll be there!!!!
Gorgeous – I’m told by bneighbours in Spain that they grow well where we are so might try putting some in this year. Have never seen round ones, they’re so pretty!
I’m actually quite curious as to whether there’s a difference in flavour between the round and oval shaped cumquats. Must try and do a little research on that, as more often than not you see the oval ones in photos. I can imagine that you could get most citrus to grow well in Spain, particularly up in the hills where you get both the cold and warmth. Hope you give them a try Tanya!
Both look like great ideas. They look like cute little beauties, a shame to lose them from the tree but for a delicious cause.
Feeling very envious over here in England! I never have more than a handful of expensively imported cumquats and admit to buying them just because they look so pretty and then don’t know what to do with them. Obviously I shall have to buy a bigger bag and make some of that delicious looking curd.
They do look incredibly attractive just sitting about in bowls as a decorative feature, though I hope you’ll give the curd a try some stage down the track Anne… the flavour is growing on me the more I try them. 🙂
I love both recipes. I have to admit cumquats are not my favorite but I love the idea of preserving and that curd, you know I am obsessed with curd. I never thought of a puree, but it makes total sense and I have done that with other fruits for curd. I have to give this a try when cumquats are in season again.
They’re certainly not my favourite either Suzanne, but I’m thinking that in time I will come round and learn to love them for their unique sour taste. The curd isn’t terribly sweet, but goes really well on a slice of toast or fresh baguette. I’m now looking forward to making a few little shortcrust tart bases to fill – perhaps Mini Cumquat Meringue Tarts?!
Oh that sounds delicious cumquat meringue tarts I think I could learn to like them. Wish I lived near, I would pop over.
It would be so lovely if you lived closer Suzanne! How great would it be to sit and chat with you over a cumquat meringue tart?! 🙂
I would love that.
I have a small potted cumquat tree too, i harvest about 1kg a year and generally make marmalade. I have Darya’s post waiting in the wings too. I’ve made quince, lemon, lime, passionfruit, and orange curd, never cumquat. Thanks for the brilliant idea
Wow, I’d be keen to try each and every one of those curds – especially the passionfruit one! I hope very much that your cumquat harvest goes well this year… lots of delicious options to choose from!
Citrus are often like that I find…sit there doing nothing for what feels like forever, and then, all of a sudden, they’re unstoppable. I love the look of the cumquat curd…delicious!
Thanks very much Sam. Our meyer lemon trees (also in pots) have also done really well this year, but others like the lime and blueberries haven’t produced anything whatsoever. My thumb’s not particularly green, so that might have something to do with it! 🙂
Wow, Margot, thanks for the shout out! I really hope you like these; you will if you like preserved lemons. I can’t wait to see how you choose to use them!
So excited that they’re finally in the jars and on their way to preserved goodness! I’ll let you know how they turn out in a few weeks Darya – thanks so much again!