Want a change from orange marmalade? Then try my super spicy kumquat and almond conserve/jam. I promise you, these gorgeous little fruits will transport you to Mediterranean sunshine with every nibble of your toast in the morning.
Spicy Kumquat and Almond Conserve/Jam
Deepest, darkest January and snow on the ground up here on Walton’s Mountain, what we need is some colour, and what could be more golden, gorgeous and colourful than this Kumquat Conserve!
Kumquats are a funny little fruit, a miniature orange just bigger than a grape with a skin so soft you can eat it with the juicy fruit within. They only appear in the shops here very briefly in the winter months, so I always buy a box and make something that I can keep for a while longer and enjoy their zesty taste later in the year.
What are kumquats?
Kumquats are like mini oranges, they are pixie fruits, seriously cute. A member of the citrus family (though there is some dispute about that in some quarters). They have very thin skins and the insides are really just like an orange flesh with itty bitty pips/seeds too.
How to eat a kumquat
You eat the whole thing. Just bite into it peel and all. Quite honestly you would look a bit silly trying to peel one like an orange unless of course you are indeed a pixie then you’re good to go!
What do they taste like?
Kumquats are mouth puckeringly bitter. Which probably explains why you don’t see many folks munching on them as they do with mandarins, oranges and the like.
How do you use kumquats
They make great kumquat jam or conserve. Or you can make kumquat marmalade with them which takes a bit more effort than my jam does.
You can have them very finely slices (like mandolin thin sliced) in salads. In China they are mashed with ginger as a hot drink to treat colds (bit like our hot toddie) and you can pickle themn too. Must try that.
Kumquats bring back happy memories for me. Way back in my misspent youth I worked as a tour guide on the Greek islands.
One of those islands was Corfu and there they grow kumquats. Acres and acres of kumquat trees. I remember pointing them out to people as we brought them in from the airport.
Kumquats mean sunshine and happiness and bring a wee touch of warmth in the chill of winter.
Conserve or Jam
The difference between a conserve and a jam is simple really. Most jams have the fruit mashed up in them. A conserve, on the other hand has pieces of fruit and can also have the addition of nuts to liven things up a bit.
I’ve made this Kumquat Conserve/jam a little bit special by adding almonds, brandy and a selection of spices to kick things up a bit. Remember to use a sterilised jar to put it in and store in a cool dark cupboard.
How long will this kumquat jam/conserve keep
This will keep for up to a year in a cool cupboard. Once opened store in the fridge and use within a month.
How to serve kumquat jam
I have this on my toast in the morning. It’s like the best possible marmalade you can imagine. You can also stir some into Greek yogurt as a breakfast too.
Try this conserve with a cheeseboard and also use as a topping for ice cream for a super quick and easy dessert. You can also serve this kumquat jam with gammon or cold ham.
A little treasure in a jar, a grown-up treat to make your day that little bit special and the perfect little foodie gift for Christmas.
Like all my jams this recipe contains NO PECTIN.
Looking for more jam ideas that are a little different? Then check these out before you go;
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Spicy Kumquat and Almond Conserve/Jam
- 300 g/11 oz kumquats
- 200 g/5 oz granulated sugar
- 150 ml/5 fl oz water
- 2 tbsp flaked almonds
- 1 star anise
- 4 cloves
- 3 cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cm/3/4" fresh root ginger
- Toast the almonds in a dry pan for a couple of minutes until golden and releasing their aroma, remove from pan and set aside.
- Cut the kumquats into slices and pick out the pips/seeds and reserve for your spice bag.
- Put the pips/seeds and all spices into a small piece of muslin and tie closed.
- Place the spice bag, sugar, kumquats and water into a heavy based pan and heat gently till sugar dissolved.
- Raise temperature to boil for 5 minutes.
- Lower temperature and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Scoop out the fruit and pack into a sterilised jar along with the toasted almonds.
- Half fill the jar with brandy.
- Boil the syrup in the pan for 5 minutes then top up the jar with it.
- Close jar with tight fitting lid and shake.