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There's a lot to do with kumquats

Easy kumquat sauce brightens up a dish of yogurt. The sauce also is good on chicken or pork chops. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)

Recipe: Simple, versatile kumquat sauce makes most of sweet-sour flavor

Kumquats can be addictive. These little gems are made to eat in one bite, the sweet skin complementing the sour juice inside.

A symbol of good luck and prosperity, kumquats are a common gift during Chinese New Year. They also grow very well in Sacramento, making them a popular addition to backyard gardens. Varieties with rounder fruit tend to have higher cold tolerance.

Kumquats grow well in Sacramento. This tree is
at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)
Compact like their fruit, kumquat trees can produce abundant mini-citrus crops to brighten winter days.  Like other citrus, kumquats can be as attractive as they are fruitful, a natural for edible ornamental landscapes. But unlike Meyer lemons or Washington navels, kumquats can be a puzzle.

What do you do with them? (Besides pop them in your mouth and spit out the seeds.)

Embrace their yin-yang nature and make the most of their sweet-sour flavor.

Like a thin marmalade, this simple kumquat sauce can serve as both sweet and savory. With this sauce’s versatility, there’s a lot to do with kumquats.

Atop dessert, it contrasts with the richness of cheesecake, ice cream or pound cake. Add a couple of tablespoons to a smoothie for a jolt of kumquat flavor.

As a glaze on chicken, this sauce adds a caramelized citrus crust. At the table, it complements pork roast or chops.

On Greek yogurt, it was simply delicious.

In a sealed jar, this sauce will keep at least a week in the refrigerator; up to a year in the freezer.

Slice the kumquats and remove seeds before cooking.
(Photos: Debbie Arrington)
Simple kumquat sauce
Makes 2 to 4 servings


1 cup kumquats, sliced and seeded (about 16 whole)

½ cup sugar

¼ cup water

¼ cup orange liqueur or white wine


Gently wash kumquats, removing any stem. Slice crosswise, discarding seeds.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, water and liqueur or wine. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add kumquats.

Bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer.
Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until kumquats are tender and sauce reduces into a light syrup, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool. Serve warm or cold as dessert topping, over yogurt or as sauce for chicken or pork.

Note: This sauce will keep in the refrigerator at least one week.


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For week of Nov. 26:

Concentrate on helping your garden stay comfortable during these frosty nights – and clean up all those leaves!

* Irrigate frost-tender plants such as citrus in the late afternoon. That extra soil moisture increases temperatures around the plant a few degrees, just enough to prevent frost damage. The exception are succulents; too much water before frost can cause them to freeze.

* Cover sensitive plants before the sun goes down. Use cloth sheets or frost cloths, not plastic sheeting, to hold in warmth. Make sure to remove covers in the morning.

* Use fall leaves as mulch around shrubs and vegetables. Mulch acts as a blanket and keeps roots warmer.

* Stop dead-heading; let rose hips form on bushes to prompt dormancy.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location – and definitely indoors overnight. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they’ll bloom again next December.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Plant spring bulbs. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Daffodils can be planted without pre-chilling.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers and plant such spring bloomers as sweet peas, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Plant trees and shrubs. They’ll benefit from fall and winter rains while establishing their roots.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Bare-root season begins now. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb.

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