I found out I don’t know squat about quats!
I mean I know kumquats. I am quite familiar with loquats. Ditto limequats, and orangequats. I have even eaten dishes prepared with the least quatly named of the quats the calamondin.
But I gotta admit I never even heard of the quat I quaffed recently from the Hollywood Farmers Market. It’s called a mandarinquat, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this little fruit is a cross between a kumquat and a mandarin. And I didn’t need to be a genius to decide to choose these as the subject for my weekly Market Matters post. After all, it’s citrus season, and I mean look at these little beauties! They’ve got Sup! written all over them.
The farmer who grew them said, they are best eaten rawâ€“ simply popped in your mouth like a kumquat. He said they were sweeter than a kumquat, with the same yummy skin as a kumquat. Sounded pretty good to me. So I left the market with a couple of pounds, quite pleased to suggest to all of you to do just that.
But when I got home I encountered some unforseen circumstances. Namely they don’t really pop in your mouth all that easily. That’s because they are bigger than a kumquat. Too big to eat in one bite, even for a big mouth like me. So you gotta bite ‘em in half. But you see, they are quite juicy so I got an eyeful of that sweetly acidic squirt. It hurt…
The next issue (for me) is seeds. It is quite a seedy little citrus. So I found myself covering my eye with one hand, and spitting seeds into the otherâ€“ which is not only comical, it made actually tasting the fruit next to impossible. So I had just eaten my very first mandarinquat of my not so you life, and I had no idea what it even tasted like. This is not the makings of culinary nirvana in my mind.
So I moved on to the second mandarinquat of my not so young life almost immediately. This time I wised up. I took it to the kitchen and cut it in half. Then I picked all the seeds out and (finally) popped (one-half) a mandarinquat in my mouth.
And it was good. Quite good… but not as good as a kumquat. That certain herbal quality that I love in kumquats was replaced with a rather bland sort of sweetness that was rather ordinary tasting. It sorta reminded me of a mandarin… but not as good. Besides, these things are so pectin filled that they verge on slimy. I did not really like eating them raw.
So much for my planned post about just popping them in your mouth. That plan was down the drain. It was time to plan a new plan!
The obvious problem was what to do with these little fruits. They are so darn pretty. I think I should try and choose something that highlights their gorgeous orangey red color. But they also have a certain sweet and sour quality that reminds me of something. What is that something?? It’s something with a bitter edge that’s cloaked in super sweet Sunday go to meetin’ clothes.
As I was wiping the last of the pectin induced miry mess from my lipsâ€“ it hit me. The key to my problem lies in the pectin. I should make a jam or a jelly. Better yet a marmalade! Because marmalade is exactly what these fruits taste like anyway!
Well, I couldn’t make just any marmalade. I decided to make a fancy marmalade! I ran out and plucked a Meyer Lemon from the tree behind the pool. I wanted to bring some of the more complex citrus flavor I felt was missing in the mandarinquat when I popped it in my mouth all by itself. Speaking of complexity I also decided to add a bit of cinnamon to layer an exotic note into this jam, err I mean marmalade. So today I am presenting you with Mandarinquat & Meyer Lemon Marmalade with Cinnamon. I think I invented it! Try googling… and while you are googling, there is no need to double-check the word quaff. I am well aware of its actual meaning, so just let it go and allow me some literary license.
- 1 1â„2 lb mandarinquats, washed & dried
- 1 meyer lemon, washed & dried
- 1 q water
- 4 1-inch pieces of cinnamon stick
- 3 c sugar
Working over a bowl cut all the fruit in half and remove the seeds. Then slice the mandarinequats, peels and all into 1/4-inch strips allowing the peels, pulp, and juice to collect in the bowl. Repeat the process with the Meyer lemon, but slice its strips at 1/8-inch. Discard all seeds.
Bring fruit, peels, juice, water and cinnamon sticks to a boil in a large saucepan. Cook for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, cover, and let cool. Refrigerate overnight.
The next day uncover the citrus mixture, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook until thickest peel is tender, about 20 minutes. Add 3/4 cup sugar.
and bring mixture to a boil, stirring often. Cook until it registers 220 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool about 15 minutes then transfer the marmalade to an airtight container. Remove the cinnamon sticks pieces and cover, letting it come to completely cool at room temperature. Refrigerate overnight before serving. Marmalade will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 month.
SERIOUS FUN FOOD