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.

candied mandarinquats in progress

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!

candied mandarinquat

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.

Candied mandarinquats

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.

8 responses to “mandarinquats

  1. dudette;
    yum!! those look amazing. i’m going to try the same recipe with those bitter oranges…and where can i buy those beauties? bbowl?

  2. novella: if you’re using bitter oranges, you might just want to candle the peel (I’m assuming you’re limiting it to the peel) since the pith will be super bitter.

    mandarinquats are amazing! you can candy the whole thing because you’d normally eat the whole thing whole (like a kumquat) anyway.

    btw, i got mine at the grocery store in Market Hall, in Rockridge—was just walking past one day and noticed them (they’re no longer there). i have also heard that berkeley bowl carries them.


    Muffin bottoms angered when grocery store decides to sell just muffin tops. Seriously.

  4. oh! i am going to the Irvine farmers’ market near here tomorrow and will have to look out for those

  5. Muffin Bottoms: funny! Thank you for the link.

    sarah: yes–they’re GREAT. they are only in season for a short time, so if you see them grab them. and if you’ve missed them this year, grab them next winter!

  6. i’ve seen a bunch of posts about mandarinquats, and i’ve been looking for them all over the place! now i want them even more, i love candied citrus.

    i guess i have a mission for the weekend.

  7. These look SO gorgeous and So delish!!! Yummm…Have you ever candied your own ginger? I’ve always wanted to try to do that!

  8. Pingback: The mandarinquats are in! « domesticshorthair

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