This week’s kumquat bounty comes from my neighbor’s backyard and has me canning kumquat jelly. The tree was so full of fruit, I was able to pick 10 pounds of kumquats to make this rich, amber-colored jelly. I also made two more recipes: Kumquat Pepper Jelly, and Vietnamese candied kumquats, traditionally served at the Vietnamese Lunar New Year.
What to expect when eating a kumquat:
The small fruit is super tart and very juicy, and sure to send your face into a pucker. Surprisingly, the skin is packed with sweetness, so eating the entire fruit is recommended. Simply, roll or squeeze the fruit gently before eating, to unify the flavors of the sweet thin rind with the tart flesh.
Kumquats are native to South-Eastern China, but grown in many parts of the world. These varieties are most commonly grown for their fruit: Marumi kumquat, is known for its pleasant flavor and round. The Nagami kumquat (featured in this recipe) is more oval-shaped and the most common variety grown inside the United States. The Meiwa kumquat is round, and larger than the other varieties.
Health Benefits of Kumquats:
- Its peel is rich in many essential oils, antioxidants, and fiber. 100 g whole kumquats give 6.7 g or 17% of daily recommended levels of fiber that is composed of tannins, pectin, hemicellulose, and other non-starch polysaccharides (NSP).
- Fresh kumquats are packed with many health benefiting poly-phenolic flavonoid anti-oxidants such as carotenes, lutein, zea-xanthin, tannins…etc. Kumquat peel composes many important essential oils, including limonene, pinene, a-bergamotene, caryophyllene, a-humulene, and a-muurolene. Together, these compounds impart special citrus aroma to the fruit.
- Further, fresh fruits contain adequate levels of some of the anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin A, C and E. Altogether, these phytochemical compounds in kumquat fruit help scavenge harmful oxygen derived free radicals from the body and thereby protect us from cancers, diabetes, degenerative diseases and infections.
- As in oranges, kumquats also very rich in vitamin C. 100 g fruit provides 47.9 or 73% of RDA (Recommended daily allowances). Vitamin-C is one of the powerful natural antioxidant which has many essential biological roles to play such as collagen synthesis and wound healing. This vitamin has antiviral and anti-cancer activities, and helps prevent neurodegenerative diseases, arthritis, diabetes…etc by removing oxidant free-radicals from the body. Furthermore, vitamin C facilitates iron absorption in the food.
- Kumquat has good levels of B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamine, niacin, pyridoxine, folate, and pantothenic acid. These vitamins function as co-factors for metabolism of carbohydrates, protein, and fats. SOURCE: Nutrition and You
Enjoy this kumquat jelly recipe!
- 8 cups fresh kumquats cut in half
- 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
- 4 cups water
- 3 packages liquid pectin
- 4 cups sugar
- Wash kumquats with water, cut in half
- In a large stock pot, combine kumquats, sugar, lemon juice and water
- Over medium high heat, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, continue cooking for 1-2 hours stirring occasionally
- Place a fine sieve over a large bowl and strain liquid from solids, pressing fruit to extract as much liquid as possible
- Return liquid to stock pot and bring to a boil
- Add pectin and process 2 minutes at a full boil, turn off heat and skim foam
- Repeat this process twice more, processing 2 minutes then skimming foam both times
- Do a gel test by placing a small amount of jelly on a cold plate, wait about 1 minutes then draw your finger through the jelly, if the jelly keeps its shape it it ready to go. If the gel does not set, process at a full boil for an additional 2 minutes, skim foam and test again.
- Ladle hot liquid into sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch head space, wipe rims with a clean damp cloth, place lids and rims on jars and process in a water bath for 10 minutes
- Allow jars to cool
- For detailed information about canning safty visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation
Enjoy this tart-sweet kumquat jelly smeared over a toasted English muffin. Or if you like a more savory application, heat a jar in the microwave for 1 minute, stir and pour over a flaky piece of fresh halibut. Stay tuned for my kumquat pepper jelly and Vietnamese Candied kumquat recipes.