February 6, 2014
This year I have been able to source locally grown and pesticide free Kumquats which is always a plus. I wanted to experiment a bit and got some inspiration from Kaela over at the Local Kitchen blog. I modified her recipe and technique a bit, and I used Dried De Arbol Chili along with the Bourbon. For my taste, these pack a spicy punch, but for those that love spicy, these are quite mild. They pair beautifully with chicken, pork and duck as well as sweet/spicy toppings for cheesecake and ice cream.
You can use the jarred syrup to make a kumquatini or two in the heat of the summer, just fabulous! They make lovely gifts as well. This is the recipe that I use to make the jars for my Farmer’s Market customers. It can easily be cut in half for smaller batches. I hope that you enjoy!
Recipe for Bourbon Chili Kumquats
3 lbs Kumquats (tiny bit of skin removed from the top to remove stem)
4 Cups Sugar
6 Cups Water
1/2 Cup Bourbon (I use Jim Beam)
1 Tbsp Fresh Ground Dried De Arbol Chili (I grind my dried Chili in the Vitamix)
Clean the Kumquats thoroughly, organic is best. If you cannot find organic, the fruit should be soaked in 10 parts water to one part bleach solution and then rinsed thoroughly–I mean vigorously crazy rinsed. The pesticides concentrate in the rinds and that is exactly what you will be eating later on, that is why it is critical to do this step and ensure they are clean. Using a paring knife, remove the tiny top skin to cut off the stem and allow the sugar to absorb into the fruit.
In a heavy-bottomed stock pot, add the sugar, water and bourbon along with salt and Chili. Bring this up to the simmer and stir dissolve the sugar. Add the Kumquats to this mixture. Slow simmer the Kumquats on the stove for 2 1/2 hours and I mean a tiny, slow simmer, you do not want the kumquats to explode, you want them to maintain their beautiful shape.
Prepare jars, canner and lids, sterilize 10 Eight ounce canning jars. This recipe should yield 8 Eight oz jars of fruit with syrup and two additional 8 oz jars of syrup alone.
Using a slotted spoon, fill the jars with the drained kumquats. Now you can bring the pot of syrup back to a full rolling boil. Boil for about 5 to 7 minutes to reduce, then ladle the syrup into the jars and fill to leave 1/4 inch headspace. Seal the jars and process in a water bath canner for 12 minutes. Remove the jars from the canner and let rest on the countertop overnight. Check for seals in the morning, if any do not seal, place in the fridge. If you do not want to water process the jars, these can be kept in the fridge for up to six months, possibly more, but I am conservative.