Preserved Cumquats, Cordial Syrup and Marmalade

If you’re lucky enough to have some cumquats lying around, put them to good use in a preserve, syrup or marmalade.

You will notice that they are not candied per se, a process by which more sugar is added to the syrup every day or so and then the cumquats returned to the mixture to steep. I prefer them to be not so sweet and besides, this method is quicker.

It does mean that they don’t keep so long of course, but if they are kept in the fridge, all should be well for at least 3 weeks. Otherwise you could waterbath them (like, Fowlers method) and they will keep longer. In that case, bring slowly up to 85 degrees C over 50 minutes, then hold at this temperature for one hour. The cumquats will then keep indefinitely.

By the way, the reason I discard the water from the initial boiling is that I find it takes away some of that unpleasant ‘pithiness’ that goes with citrus fruits.

Preserved Cumquats

500g cumquats
650g sugar
250ml water

Prick the cumquats, barely cover with boiling water and gently simmer for 15 minutes. Drain.

Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring. Add cumquats and cook very gently for 20 minutes. Allow to cool in the syrup. Spoon into jars and seal immediately. If the cumquats tend to float on the surface, crumple a piece of baking peer and press into the top of the jar – that will keep them submerged, essential if they are not to spoil.

Cumquat Cordial

This cordial has wonderful colour and flavor.  Serve one part cordial syrup with 4 parts chilled water or soda water for a refreshing drink.

1.5kg sugar

4 cups boiling water

500g cumquats

1 tablespoon (rounded) citric or tartaric acid

Place the sugar, water and acid in a large bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Chop the cumquats finely and stir into the mixture.  (I use a food processor to chop them).  Leave to stand until cool, the strain through a fine sieve, pushing down on the pulp so that maximum flavor is captured.

Pour into sterilized bottles and seal immediately.

Refrigerate after opening.

Cumquat Marmalade

 500g cumquats, washed

6 cups water

Juice 1 large lemon

1.4kg sugar

Slice the cumquats finely, removing seeds as you go and set those aside in a cup.

Place the prepared cumquats in a large saucepan or jam pan and pour the water over them.  Place the pips in a piece of muslin and tie the top with a piece of cotton or string to make a bag.  Add to the saucepan.  Leave to stand overnight.

Next day, bring to mixture to the boil and then simmer for 25 minutes.  Remove the bag of pips.  Stir in the sugar and bring to the boil, stirring.  Boil briskly for 25 minutes or until setting point is reached.

Leave to stand for 5 minutes, then pour into warm, sterilised jars and seal immediately.