Impulse purchases can be fun and spontaneous though lately, they’ve been inching toward the what-was-I-thinking category. Do I really need a whole coconut for $0.98? Was it time well-spent that I was hammering, shelling, and extracting meat from the reluctant orb? There was also that 2lb bag of french beans in my fridge. I only need less than a pound for a recipe but Costco always has a way to make me buy more than I need. My latest conquest is over 3lb of kumquats. They look so fresh and enticing at the store. Besides, they were on sale from $2.99/lb to $1.99! I couldn’t possibly say no. So there I was, staring at a whole bowl of kumquats in my kitchen when insomnia hit me like a ton of bricks.
Since I already declared a close to my winter marmalade season, I didn’t feel like making yet another batch of citrus marmalade. Besides, kumquats are notoriously hard to seed. I was not about to risk losing fingers in my sleep-deprived state. I used to enjoy quick whole candied kumquats in some of my plated dessert back in the day. With my new found skills in preserving and canning, I was ready to candy some kumquats to be enjoyed in the next 12 months.
My search began with the poetic account over at Lucy’s Kitchen Notebook. I was all gung-ho until I learned of the lengthy 14 days process. Umm, no. There are quicker way to bring the correct concentration of syrup that ought to be just as effective. I moved on to Chez Pim who has a very sensible recipe including tips on shell-stable storage. On day 1, the kumquats are simmered gently in sugar syrup until translucent. They are left to bath in the syrup overnight. On the second day, drain the fruit and reduce the syrup to the right consistency. Finally, fill and seal the jars. I followed her general directions except for including glucose in my syrup to prevent crystallization. Before I sealed the jars, I flavoured some with vanilla bean, rosemary, Grand Marnier, and Jack Daniels.
I tasted one this morning from one of my unseal jars. While delicious, it lacks some complexity, I suspect aging for a couple of weeks will greatly enhance the flavour and I cannot wait to work with them soon. Three pounds of candied kumquats is a lot for most home pantry. I was tipped off for Cannelle et Vanille’s recipe Candied Kumquats And Pistachio Financiers. What a fantastic idea! I love to make financiers at every possible opportunity because there’s always leftover egg whites begging to be used.
Do you know that this Saturday is Mad For Marmalade at Historic Fort York? This celebration of marmalade is co hosted by The Culinary Historians of Canada and Fort York National Historic Site. It boasts a full day of workshop, tasting, marketplace, competition, and demonstration. The album from last year’s event looks absolutely delightful. Though schedule conflict prevents me from attending, I dropped off my entry for the competition this morning. I flip-flopped so many times over the last few days trying to decide which of my marmalade to enter the competition. In the end, I finally decided on just one: Meyer Lemon Sour Cherry Marmalade. It is my best work this season in terms of texture, flavour, and the adorably pink hue. I have never participate in any preserve competition before so this is a whole new experience for me. I spoke with the competition organizer yesterday and she gave me some directions on entry requirements. Showing my true n00b colour, I carefully packaged my jar in a box padded with colour coordinated tissue paper, ribbon, and a matching pink information card. The whole thing looks ridiculously like one of my Christmas presents. I hope my amateur demeanour is not going to draw strange glances. Wish me luck this Saturday!