You don’t know quat.

My husband doesn’t know what a kumquat is. And it cost him. Not money, but pride, a little humiliation, and the winning point in a game of Catch Phrase. And I’ll admit, I know what a kumquat looks like, but I have never actually cooked with or even tasted one. So when I saw these bright mini oranges at Grand Central Market the other day, I decided to put an end to The Mysteries of the Kumquat from Outer Space. Ok, maybe that’s a bit much. But these little guys are kind of odd. They look like oranges, taste more like lemons and you can eat the peel. Craziness.

I bought the pack, brought it home and that’s where the inspiration ended. I still had no clue how to cook them. After a little research on, I settled on a simple syrup and figured it was the best way to feature the fruit in all its glory so I could actually taste what it’s all about.The recipe was fairly simple: a 4 to 2 to 1 ratio of kumquats, sugar and water. Boil the sugar and water together, add the kumquats and then simmer and reduce to a syrup.

In the end, it turned out pretty good. Sour, but good. The syrup itself was better than the kumquats, in my opinion, which are a little too tart to handle straight up.

Yet somehow, though all the trial and adventure and flavor discovery, I still ended up with a final product that I have no idea what to do with. The syrup itself has a delicious faint orange-y flavor that I’m sure would pair really well with chocolate. Maybe even drizzled over a piece of chocolate cake? Hmmm. Or it could be delicious on some pancakes or crepes? Or maybe as a sweet addition to a salad? Or possibly even mixed into a fancy cocktail? Oh, kumquat. There are so many possibilities, yet I just don’t know what to do with you. The mystery may never be solved. Guess you’ll just have to continue sitting pretty in my fridge until I finally figure something out.

Candied Kumquats

Adapted from

4 cups kumquats, roughly chopped
1 cup water
2 cups sugar


Roughly chop the kumquats. Discard any seeds (the seeds are edible, but I still discarded as many as I could for a better overall texture). Any small kumquats can be left whole.

Add the water and sugar to a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Simmer for 4 minutes. Add the kumquats and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Remove the kumquats from the pan with a skimmer or slotted spoon. Set aside. Simmer the remaining syrup for 5 minutes to reduce. Combine the kumquats and 1/4 cup of the syrup together. Serve or jar and refrigerate. Can be stored for up to two weeks.



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