Until I read Shuna’s ode to mandarinquats, I had never heard of the fruit before. Maybe they had been there all along but I’d ignored them in the piles of citrus fruit every winter.
But this year? I noticed them–and piqued by curiosity and encouraged by Shuna’s enthusiasm for the citrus fruit, I bought a bagful.
I bit into one, sending a jet of juice into my hair.
They’re not quite as easy to eat as kumquats. Kumquats are thumb-sized, small enough to pop into your mouth whole, thus containing the juice spray and filling your mouth with an intense orange-y flavor, peel and all. Not so with the mandarinquat–juice everywhere! They’re the size of a small child’s fist, somewhere between a kumquat and a lemon. And they’re a bit tangier than kumquats. A bit tart for eating out of hand, at least in my opinion.
So I candied them, buoyed by Shuna’s suggestion to candy them, pith and all, in their wagon-wheel shape.
First I sliced them thinly.
I can’t tell you how much this sight cheered me with the brilliant color! And the smell? If I could smell this every morning, every day would be a good day.
Then I prepared a simple sugar syrup (boil about 1 cup of sugar to 1.5 cups of water and whisk until the sugar dissolves). Into which I put the slices and boiled for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the slices became translucent.
I drained and dried them. It takes a bit of patience–the pieces take awhile to dry. Resist the urge to eat them!
Until I coated them with more sugar and stored them in an airtight container. Voila…candied mandarinquats. They should keep, in that airtight container, for a few weeks. But mine are gone already.
It’s citrus season–there are more than just mandarinquats out there. There are key limes and meyer lemons, too! I think I’ll be candying more citrus fruit.