I must admit, I am a little bit obsessed with cumquats. It is just that so many people grow them as an ornamental tree and don’t bother to use the fruit. This really upsets me. My philosophy on life is (well, one of them, anyway): the world has limited resources and if you have food at hand, you should eat it rather than going to a supermarket and buying something from half way around the world that costs the earth more than it can afford. Ok, now I will get off my bandwagon and start discussing the delights of cumquats.
If you have cumquats growing on your patio, there is a lot you can do with them. A great idea is to finely slice them crossways, boil them in a sugar syrup and serve them with a dessert, such as Maggie Beer’s buttermilk panna cotta with cumquat syrup. Here is the link to the recipe. It is one of my favourite desserts.
Or you could preserve them, as per Sally Wise’s recipe:
- 500g cumquats
- 650g sugar
- Place cumquats in a saucepan and barely cover them with boiling water. Simmer very gently for 10 minutes. Drain.
- Meanwhile, combine the sugar and 1 cup of cold water in another saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Place the cumquats in the sugar syrup and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the cumquats are tender but still holding their shape.
- Remove the cumquats with a slotted spoon and place in warm sterilised jars. Pour the syrup over them and seal immediately.
Sally Wise recommends serving the bottled cumquats, drained of syrup, with blue cheese or with the syrup on icecream (or yoghurt).
Or you could glacé them.
This season, I have done all three.
Each year, I glacé cumquats and then coat them in dark chocolate. If only I could temper the chocolate correctly, I would have a beautiful, shiny, delicious, chocolate delight that would cost a small fortune at a chocolatier. In the meantime, I get to eat dull, but still absolutely delicious, chocolate delights. Maybe this year …
I know, I am a wee bit late with this recipe but I didn’t strip Renate’s tree until well into January and then it took nearly a month to glacé them and then a week or so to get around to doing this post. Anyway, you will be well equipped with ideas for this year’s crop.
The above photo was taken on Day 5.
This technique is from Ochef.com, it can be used for any fruit. Here is the link to the original recipe.
- 1½ kilograms of cumquats
- 13½ cups sugar (all up)
- 1½ cups of corn syrup (In Australia, you can get glucose syrup, which is made from corn, from the major supermarkets. The brand is ‘Queen’. It comes in 500gram plastic jars.)
This is a shot of the beauties ready to go into the dehydrator.
- Day 1: Wash the cumquats and then prick them a few times with a skewer. This is to allow the syrup to penetrate the skin.
- Place the cumquats in a saucepan, cover with water, and simmer gently until almost tender, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the cumquats from the saucepan with a slotted spoon and place in a shallow dish.
- Measure out 3 cups of the cooking water (or add enough to make 3 cups); discard the rest. Put the cooking water into a saucepan, add 1½ cups of sugar and all of the corn syrup. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar and then bring to the boil. Once boiling, take the syrup off the heat and pour it over the cumquats. Leave overnight.
- Day 2: Drain the cumquats over a saucepan. Put the cumquats back into the dish. Add 1½ cups of sugar to the syrup. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar and then bring to the boil. Once boiling, take the syrup off the heat and pour it over the cumquats. Leave overnight.
- Days 3-7: Repeat step 5 for the next five days.
- Day 8: Drain the cumquats over a saucepan. Put the cumquats back into the dish. Add 1½ cups of sugar to the syrup. Heat gently to dissolve and then bring to the boil. Add the cumquats and cook gently for 3 minutes. Pour the cumquats and syrup into the dish and leave them to soak for two days.
- Day 10: Repeat step 7 but this time leave the cumquats to soak for, at least, 10 days and up to 3 weeks.
- At the end of the soaking period, remove the cumquats from the syrup.
- Dry the cumquats in a dehydrator, in the sun or in your oven with just the fan on, until the surface no longer feels sticky.
Not only did I get lots of lovely glacéd cumquats, I also ended up with 6 bottles of very thick syrup that has an intense cumquat flavour. I have absolutely no idea what I can do with it but I certainly won’t be throwing it out.
It has the consistency of thick honey. The only thing that I can think of is putting it on toast, although I did wonder whether I could make toffee with it. Any ideas?
You could use your leftover cumquat syrup for drink flavouring. Cocktails and cordials would both be good. It would go well with any citrus drinks.
I’ve made glaced cumquats before and often use them in biscuits. I adapted the Women’s Weekly choc-chip cookie recipe by swapping glaced cumquats and macadamias for the walnuts and chocolate. Absolutely delicious!
Hi Chrisitine. I like the idea of cumquats and macadamias. I think I will try that.
The chocolate coating will look brilliant, if you rub them with a little walnut, or almond oil.
It might work, if you just mix some oil into the molten chocolate—
Great ideas! I made cumquat marmalade last year with mine, which isn’t all that good. I thought I might add some ginger to it. I have a very generous cumquat tree and hate to waste it.
Hi Lucy. I hate to waste them too. If you can be bothered glaced cumquats are great.
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I have just picked a basket full of cumquats and like you can’t bare the thought of throwing them out. Last year I made cumquat marmalade but not being big jam users decided to try something different. I came across your recipe for glaced cumquats and enjoyed reading your notes and the comments made by other contributors. I currently have Cheryl’s Curried Cumquat Chutney on the boil (thanks Cheryl) and will give your recipe ago.
I borrowed a friends dehydrator and thought to just slice and dry some and was interested to note the comment that Maggie Beer, my favourite cook, used dried cumquats in place of lemons. Has anybody dried and use in such a manner?
Hi Pam, I would love to know what you think of the curried cumquats. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
I use the syrup and pour it over a butter cake with chopped cumquats, put holes in cooked cake whilst still warm and pour over, it is delicious
What a fantastic idea, thanks.
Have you made curried cumquat chutney? Will share if you like? I have some cumquats which were used to make cumquat brandy – the liquid has been consumed – and was wondering how they could be glaceed? They are quite pickled after being in alcohol for a few years!!!! Love cumquats too!
Hi Cheryl, I would love the recipe. My neighbour’s tree is laden at the moment and I was looking for inspiration.
Curried Cumquat Chutney
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
• 2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
• 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
• 1 teaspoon curry powder
• 1 1/3 cups thinly sliced seeded kumquats (6 to 7 ounces), divided
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
Cook first 5 ingredients and 1 cup kumquats in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to scant 1 cup, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
Transfer to small bowl. Chill until cold, then mix in remaining 1/3 cup kumquats and cilantro.
Season chutney to taste with salt and pepper. Chill 1 hour.
Above is the original recipe. I add the the remaining kumquats and coriander a minute or so before the cooking end as I wasn’t sure how long it would last if it was uncooked. I’ve had some for several months and all ok. Enjoy it with chicken, pork, lamb and cheese. I sometimes blitz it with white wine and heat adding some butter to make a sauce.
Hi Cheryl, that certainly sounds good, thanks, though it sounds like a ‘eat now’ recipe, rather than a preserve. Did you put it in sealed jars? I would worry about the keeping qualities of the coriander and uncooked cumquats too. Interesting yours has lasted some months. Is it in the fridge? Is the jar open or sealed? Sorry for all the questions.
Hi Glenda. I used sterilised sealed jars and kept in pantry, even when opened.
What do you think about my alcohol pickled cumquats being glaced?
I would give it a go, but skip the initial 10 minutes of boiling. That is to soften the skin, which, I imagine, is already soft enough.
Is this the same citrus fruit that in America we spell Kumquat and can be round or oval, sweet or sour, depending on the particular cultivar? If so, we have a kumquat tree in our yard and I would love to try this. However, our small fruit usually has at least 4 seeds in each one. Do you deseed it somehow before you glace’ them?
Hi Angela. It is the same fruit. The oval variety is the best for eating. Mine also have seeds in them but I do not deseed them. I kept my fruit whole. They taste really great, they are worth the effort.
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Hello! I have a cumquat tree in my yard and love finding new recipes to try out. I will also have to try out the Maggie Beer recipe you mentioned, love pannacotta.Thank you!
Hi Thanks for stopping by and commenting. It is great to meet another cumquat lover.
Try adding a cup of dry white wine to a bottle of your syrup, 2 cloves, 4 star anise, a cinnamon stick and reduce down to the point just before toffee, remove spices and you will have a rich golden drizzle which as great over panna cotta served with a couple of those lovely cumquats
Hi Viv Thanks so much for the idea I still have those jars in the pantry.
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The glucose syrup is made by hydrolysing starch, often wheat starch in Australia, and as well as glucose, it contains some short chain polymers of glucose. That is why it is so sticky and this imparts ‘mouth feel’ in beverages such as liqueurs. I used to mix these in the distillery here in Pemberton.
I would think that your syrup could be turned into a liqueur by simply adding about 35% of pure alcohol (you used to be able to get this from pharmacies in small quantities). It needs to age for at least 3 months
When I was a small boy, my parents decided to make some cumquat liqueur. They did this by piercing the fruit with a knitting needle and placing it in a jar with alcohol. I am not sure if they added sugar. I do recall however climbing up to the top of the cupboard where they had placed the jar, taking off the lid and sticking a straw in it and having a taste. I nearly fell over backwards when it hit my mouth!
Hi Morrie, Thanks for visiting. Maybe I could add vodka?? I might give it a go. Thanks for the suggestion. How much alcohol-to-syrup would I use?
BTW That’s what you get for being a naughty boy.
Vodka should work. The aim should be to get around 20% alcohol in the final mixture. For vodka, 4 parts of syrup to 5 parts vodka is about right. Good luck!
Hi Morrie, Thanks. I will give it a bash
Hi Glenda, I read the other day that Maggie Beer dries cumquats and uses them instead of lemons for savoury dishes. Have not had a chance to investigate as yet and I have not got any cumquats at the mo, but sounds interesting. A few months ago I tried making cumquat vinegar but it was not a great success. Maybe save that syrup for winter for use in hot toddies.
Hi Madge, I just checked out the ingredients for toddy – it would work, not that I drink toddies:( That is interesting that Maggie Beer dries cumquats. I wonder what she uses them in. Where did you hear about it? I would like to check it out. Thanks for the idea. G
Try using it when making a sorbet out of a fruit that is a compatible flavour with cumquats. I always make a thick sugar syrup for sorbet and these days I am adding glucose as well so give it a go – do you have an ice cream maker? Also put some in a glass and add soda water and see if you get a refreshing drink.Those cumquats took a lot of work, sell the excess on Ebay!!
Hi Roz. Cumquat sorbet, why not? Are you able to give me an idea how I should do it, please? The syrup is extremely thick. Thanks for the suggestion.
Hey Glenda how are you???
I passed your house today to see my babies, but no one home :(:(:(
Hmmmm….This syrup looks so yummy…you can make ice cream of it and it will taste so yummy…
Have a look at the Brazilian website for some recipies … Let me know when you are back home…
Love to you and Maureen, and of course to my little Lilly, Maggie, and the Big Bully xxxx
Hi Regina. Icecream seems to be the go. I will look into it. Thanks for the suggestion.
If you’re in a baking mood, you could use the syrup to flavour a cake by skewering the warm cake and pouring the syrup over it. Or, given the current WA weather, you could add it to gin fizzes, iced tea or soda water for a refreshing drink and the end of a hard day.
Hi Kate, the cake idea is a beauty. I thought it may be a bit thick for a drink, do you think it would work? It is very thick.
The drinks usually involve a simple syrup which might not be as thick, but a small amount of your syrup should dissolve OK. Or you could just add extra gin. 😉
I like the extra gin idea:)