Kumquats are a group of small fruit bearing trees in which their fruit being edible, resembles an orange in colour and shape but is much smaller, being the same size approximately as an olive. There are many varieties and they are thought to have originated from China and made their way into Europe in 1846 by Robert Fortune. As for being introduced to the Ionian, it was an English botanist, Sydney Merlin who first brought them to Corfu in the same year, which the Island has now earnt a PDO (Protection Designation of Origin) for this lovely little gem of a fruit. They have a very distinct taste and can be used for making liqueur, glazed fruit, marmalades and other confections. I have made what we call “gliko tou koutaliou” in other words a sweet that is eaten by spoon.
What you will need:-
1 kilo of kumquats
800gr of sugar
1 stick of cinnamon
juice from 2 lemons
first wash the fruit and clean them of their stalks. Using a toothpick, prick the fruit at the top of the fruit piercing into the heart of the fruit. Place them in a saucepan, cover them with just enough water and slowly bring to boil. As soon as it reaches boiling point turn the heat down, add the cinnamon stick and continue slowly boiling around 5 minutes.
Meanwhile in another saucepan prepare the syrup. Place sugar, water and lemon and bring to boil for at least 20 minutes. This is not needed if you have soaked the kumquats over a 24 hour period (See tip below)
Wash under cold water the kumquats and remove the cinnamon stick.
Place kumquats in syrup mixture and continue cooking for about 2 hours, until the fruit has softened.
Place in sterilized jars and seal.
Tip. I usually place the kumquats in water and change the water over a period of time within a 24 hour period, thus making sure they are not so bitter.