Nothing better than sweet and spicy in my mind. I discovered Kumquats a few years ago and though they are delicious fresh, I also love a thick delicious preserve made up in minutes with these golden darlings. Similar in taste to an orange but with the tart bite of a lime, they lend themselves to cooking quickly into a jam. Cooking them, rind and all, allows for a healthier fruit spread as well. The rinds will soften up much like citrus candies and is packed with flavor and nutrition. The spice from the Thai Peppers makes the jam a little more adult and can be adjusted up or down to your tastes. If you’ve never tasted these little gems, fresh or preserved, I’d highly recommend giving them a try. This sugar-free version of a spicy Conserve is a perfect way to explore the world of Kumquats.
The seeds of the Kumquats have a natural ability to help thicken the fruit juices into a spreadable sauce. They are larger than lemon seeds despite the small size of the Kumquats and easily removed after slicing them in half. Some recipes suggest binding up the seeds in cheesecloth and submerging them in with the boiling fruits while they cook. I just put the seeds into a tea strainer and set that in with my Kumquats while they cooked. This isn’t an essential step but it helps make up for the lack of sugar in my recipe.
The tangy tart Kumquat mixed with a pinch of heat makes a perfect complement to breads or salty crackers.
- 3 cups Kumquats, washed, dried, sliced, seeds removed
- Save the Kumquat seeds for quicker thickening if desired, doesn't effect the end flavors.
- 1 1/2 cups filtered Water (more as needed)
- 1 tsp liquid Stevia ( I used NuNaturals brand)
- 1/2 tsp Thai Pepper flakes or to taste (wouldn't go more than 1 tsp though, just sayin')
- pinch of sea salt
- In a large sauce pan, bring water and sliced fruit to a hard boil. Add in stevia and salt. Reduce heat to a strong simmer and stir frequently, about every 2-3 minutes.
- Continue cooking / stirring until the water is beginning to thicken up some. Reduce heat to a slow simmer.
- Test one Kumquat slice (careful to let it cool, it will be HOT) Add a drop or two more Stevia to taste if needed. This also lets you know how the peels are tasting. They should have a bite to them but not be tough when you're finished.
- Continue simmering your fruit until the water has turned into a syrupy bubbling sauce. This will happen quite quickly once the fruit has softened and the water has boiled off. Taste test again and add in a little more water to continue cooking if the peels are not soft enough to your liking.
- Add in the Thai Pepper and simmer 5 more minutes on low heat.
- While your Peppers are softening, heat your glass containers for your preserves. I run mine under hot water for a minute or two and then remove the water and shake out any excess just before using them for jam.
- Remove your pan from the heat. Place your jar(s) close to your pan on top of a dish towel.
- Carefully ladle in fruit to almost fill jars. If you have a canning funnel, that's the least messing way to do this. Let the filled jars sit for 30 minutes to cool some before placing on lids.
- Allow jars to cool completely before storing in the fridge or freezer.
- Serve jam room temperature with hot bread or top off some vanilla ice cream for a real treat.
Summer is just around the corner with all the beauty and fresh flavors of fruits. I use canning as a way to preserve some of those flavors to enjoy year round. It’s easy. Don’t get too hung up on all the in’s and outs of the process. It really can be as simple as boiling down the fruits and preserving them safely in the fridge or freezer.
Can’t you almost smell the spicy fruity aroma now?
Catch up on your Kumquat nutrition facts and fun HERE.