Yeah, it's what all the "Cool" moms do on a Friday night... (Spiced Kumquats)

You know, if they weren't sitting there looking oh so cute and nibbly in all of their oranginess, I might have passed them up.  But how do you pass up such little sweeties?  I mean, seriously.  They are like the size of your thumb.  And they look like little baby oranges that forgot to grow up.  Now, it may have been many years ago; but it hasn't been so long that I can't recall that these babies are a heck of a lot quieter than the living, breathing kind (and they smell better). 

Backing up a few days... I was at the grocery store wandering around with some time to kill...  PAUSE:  Now the more astute of you may wonder about that statement.  Please let me explain.  That's what happens when you are the mother of teenagers and have to taxi them to places that are far enough away - and for short enough periods of time where it doesn't make sense to go ALL THE WAY HOME.  Yeah, that's how it goes (Sorry, mothers of young children, this is your future...)  I could have gone to Target or THAT OTHER PLACE (however, I have made it a personal goal to never step in Wally-World unless is it absolutely necessary...), but since it is only a couple of weeks before Christmas, I try to avoid the mobs of humanity that tend to crowd department stores this time of year.  [Shudders.] 

Here it is 7:00 on a Friday evening (that makes this story even more pathetic, doesn't it?) and I am killing time in the grocery store, carefully perusing every aisle.  Yeah, that's me, the totally cool crazy lady mom having conversations with myself: "Oh, tamarind.  I wonder what you could do with that."  "Hmmm.  Both seven and ten grain cereals.  I wonder what the three extra grains are in the ten grain cereal."  "Pink salt, grey salt, black salt.  Weird.  When I was a kid, it was Morton's or nothing."  (I did end up with some pretty Fleur de Sel - so I shouldn't mock the salt display too much.)  It was probably a little scary for any onlookers - I didn't notice any nervous looking mothers herding their children in the opposite direction, so maybe I had the wherewithal to show some discretion in my musings?

Once I finished my standard route around the grocery store (and several involved conversations with myself regarding the virtues of certain grocery items), I meandered back to the produce department.  I still had twenty minutes to kill before retreiving above noted teenager.  And it was there that I saw "the Cute Ones".  Right next to "the Cute Ones" was the store magazine - which "oh so conveniently" featured a recipe for canning said "Cute Ones".  I was intrigued. 

As often happens when I let myself get into this mental frame of mind, what happened next is one blurry memory.  Suddenly, it didn't really matter that I had never tasted a Kumquat before in my life.  Didn't have a clue if I liked them or not.  Nope.  Not a clue.  Next thing I knew, I was standing at the register with four little cartons of "the Cute Ones" in one hand and a copy of the store magazine in the other.  (It's kind of like on the morning commute, when you are half way to work before you realize you even left the house.  Yeah.  Just like that.)

So a couple of days later, this became my Sunday project.  Because I am sure I had nothing better to do...  No, nothing better at all. 

But it was fun.  And they were pretty.  And cute.  In February when it doesn't seem like anything that remotely resembles color will ever cross my way ever again, I will have Kumquats.  At that time, I shall dream of warmer climates where the growing season lasts longer than childbirth.  And pool season lasts longer than football season.  Ahhhh....

Is it spring yet?  I am ready!

Source: Hannaford fresh Magazine, November - December 2010

2 lbs. kumquats, raw
1 cup malt or cider vinegar
3 cups sugar
1 each cinnamon stick
10 whole cloves
1 each Fresh Lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed

1. Wash kumquats. Trim a tiny slice from each end and make 3 slashes, crosswise, in each fruit, leaving the seeds in. Place in a large saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Strain the liquid into a glass measuring cup and measure. If needed, add enough water to make 3 cups; otherwise, return 3 cups of the liquid to thepan and discard any remaining liquid. Add vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and lemon slices. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit overnight at room temperature.
*Note: I placed the cloves and cinnamon stick in cheesecloth, tied w/ twine for easy removal later on.

3. The next day, have ready 7 clean 8 oz. jelly jars and lids. Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer while you finish preparing the kumquats. Place empty jars in the water to keep them hot.

4. Bring kumquat mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the mixture thickens into a syrup, about 1 hour.

5. Drain all water from heated jars. Pour kumquats into the prepared jars, being sure to distribute both syrup and fruit evenly; leave about 1/2 inch of space at the top of each jar. Screw on lids. Place in simmering water, making sure the water completely covers the jars by 1 to 2 inches; you may need to do this in batches. Raise heat to bring water to a boil. Boil jars for 5 minutes, then remove jars and allow to cool to room temperature, about 4 hours. Once cool, the lids should be flat. (Note - five minutes did not seem like long enough processing time to me; I raised the processing time to ~10 minutes). 


  1. To be honest, I've never had a kumquat...they look intriguing.

  2. This was hysterical- and yummy looking ! I really enjoyed your comments about life while waiting for the next taxi fare of teenagers. I live that life as well- 14 and 16 year olds. The only thing worse than driving (and waiting) is the thought of them doing it themselves :) Good for you to make great use of the time.

  3. @ Tricia. I am so with you... A fifteen and sixteen year old. And have one learning how to drive! Fortunately, with winter here it's the perfect excuse to hold off on the license - snow and ice and all that. (Devious, aren't I?)


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