Did you know today is Kumquat day? It isn’t really. I made that up. If you google “Kumquat day” you will find a tv show with an episode titled “Kumquat day”, a town with a Kumquat festival that includes a day and a Facebook group (I’m not sure group is the correct word here since it has only one member!) campaigning for a national kumquat day sometime in April. So, see? I did make it up….
Today I picked and processed 4 pounds of kumquats into 4 quarts of “Spiced Brandied Kumquat” preserve. The kumquats were from my Mother’s tree and we were going to pot them up together but the together part didn’t work out. The kumquats still needed to be dealt with though, so I forged ahead alone and will give Mom two glorious jars of brandied sunshine in two weeks when they have aged the recommend minimum amount of time. I added bay leaves to a recipe that I found on Yummly. Yummly got it from Cooking Light magazine, December 2004 and you can get the recipe too!
My version of the “Kumquats in Brandied Spiced Syrup” recipe goes like this;
Makes 4 quarts
4 pounds kumquats
8 cups water
4 cups sugar
18 whole cloves, divided
18 fresh bay leaves, divided
6 cinnamon sticks, divided
6 star anise, divided
4 vanilla beans, halved lengthwise and divided
2 cups brandy and /or cognac, divided
1. Wash the kumquats and pierce each several times with a skewer.
2. Combine the water and sugar with 6 cloves, 6 bay leaves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 star anise and 2 vanilla beans in a large pot and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add the kumquats and simmer 20 minutes or until tender.
3. Using a slotted spoon, remove the kumquats from the pan and divide between 4 sterilized, quart size, wide mouth canning jars. Tuck 3 cloves, 3 bay leaves, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise and a half a vanilla bean into each jar. Pour a 1/2 cup brandy into each jar.
4.Bring the cooking liquid to a boil; cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain and discard the solids. Pour approximately 2 cups cooking liquid into each jar and fill to a half-inch from the top. Seal. Store in the refrigerator and wait at least 2 weeks before using. Shake the jars occasionally to feel like you are doing something while you wait.
I intend to use the fruit on bread like a very chunky jam, to dabble some onto egg custards and rice puddings for a topping and to use the syrup in mixed drinks and to drink it straight like a liqueur. That said – I probably didn’t make enough!