I'm fond of seasonal foods. They are fresher, tastier, and more nutritious than food consumed out of season.
It's early February and the kumquats grown in my hometown of Miyazaki are in high season. The Japanese word for kumquat is kinkan. You eat them whole — unpeeled. They're high in vitamin C, and the skin is full of fiber and antioxidants.
For this recipe, I have used our local variety called Tamatama. You can use any kind you can find in your local store. Common varieties are Nagami, which has an oval shape, or Meiwa, which is round and a bit sweeter than Nagami.
I use pure kudzu root powder (Japanese Arrowroot) in making the syrup. It is gluten free and gives my preserve a silky-smooth texture and glaze. Besides, kudzu root powder is a traditional Japanese superfood to guard against colds and flu.
- Kumquats: 2 kg (4.4 lbs)
- Cane sugar: 800 g (1 3/4 lbs)
- Water: 1 cup
- Lemon juice: 1 tablespoon
- Kudzu root powder: 2 tablespoon
- Wash the kumquats. Remove their stem-ends and poke a few holes in each with a bamboo stick or a toothpick.
- Put the kumquats in a large pan and add plenty of water.
- Heat to just before boiling over medium heat (5-10 minutes).
- Drain. This will take out the skin's bitterness.
- Mix the water and cane sugar in a pan.
- Add kumquats and lemon juice into the pan, and cook over medium-low heat for 25-30 minutes.
- Mix the kudzu root powder with 2 tablespoons of water and add it to the pan.
- Mix very gently and keep cooking till clear. DO NOT boil over high heat or the kumquats' skin will break!
- Turn the heat off. Let the pan cool down.
Scoop out the kumquats and syrup into sterilized jars. Keep one jar for just the syrup.