EDIBLES: From tree to table: Kumquat  and cranberry relish

 

EDIBLES: From tree to table: Kumquat and cranberry relish

 

Date: November 16, 2011
by: Molly Schechter | Social Editor

 
 

 

Some folks grew up with the cranberry sauce that comes out of a can — after you remove both ends of it, that is, and slide the gelatinous mass onto a plate. And a surprising number don’t know it in any other form. That’s a shame, because it is one of the most easily made and delicious condiments of the holiday season, requiring few ingredients and no special cooking skills.

The most basic recipe is on the package, and it’s this simple. Wash and pick over a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries. Combine a cup of sugar and a cup of water in a small saucepan and simmer gently until the sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries, cook 10 minutes, let cool to room temperature, then chill.

If you want your cranberry sauce to look like jewelry, there’s a little more to it. You prick each cranberry with a cake tester or a toothpick so it doesn’t explode but stays whole when cooked. My mother thought I was crazy, but I did it that way for years until I realized … she was right.

More than a decade ago, I discovered this combination of cranberries and kumquats, originally published in now defunct (and dearly missed!) Gourmet magazine. Kumquat season here starts in December, gets serious in January and winds down in April. The fruit is sweetest after it has been exposed to some cool weather. Because of the sugar syrup, you can use it for this recipe as soon as it is no longer green.

The kumquats used here came from the tree of friend Jim Herrington, from Longboat Key. The fresh fruit will be in the stores this week, according to Dale Rodgers, produce manager of the Longboat Key Publix. Expect to pay about $3 for a pint.


Cranberry and Kumquat Sauce
Start to finish: 30 minutes, plus chilling time
Yield: approximately 4 cups

Ingredients:
1/4- to 1/2-pound kumquats (10 to 20 kumquats)
12 ounces fresh cranberries (or unthawed frozen cranberries)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Halve kumquats lengthwise and use the tip of your knife to carefully pick out any seeds. Rinse cranberries and pick over; remove and discard stems.

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer and stir for about five minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear. Add kumquats and simmer for five minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer kumquats from syrup to a bowl or other container you can refrigerate. Add cranberries to syrup and simmer for 10 minutes. Let both fruits cool completely.

Cranberry mixture and kumquats may be made as much as a week ahead. Hold in separate airtight containers so the kumquats stay orange. Combine the fruits just before serving.

 

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