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.
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. Of course the passengers were all in high holiday spirits and had little interest in my chatter about local fruit, all they wanted was to get to their villas and dive into the pool, grab an ouzo and kick back in full-on holiday mode.
Kumquats mean sunshine and happiness and bring a wee touch of warmth in the chill of winter.
I’ve made this Kumquat Conserve 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.
This is a conserve to savour. To spread on your favourite toasted bread or with a decadent croissant on a Sunday morning. You can also serve a spoonful alongside a flavourful cheese with some oatcakes as well.
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.
- 300 g/11 oz kumquats
- 150 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 and reserve for your spice bag.
- Put the pip 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 20minutes.
- 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.