Kumquats In Syrup

Kinkan No Kanro Ni

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes



Appears in

At Home with Japanese Cooking

At Home with Japanese Cooking

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1986

  • About

Fresh kumquats are in season in the cold months and I always make kinkan no kanro ni whenever I see this luscious orange fruit. In Japan kumquats in syrup are a New Year’s delicacy, but there’s no reason why they can’t be enjoyed as a garnish or dessert at any Western meal.


  • 25–30 firm fresh kumquats
  • teaspoons saké (rice wine)
  • cups sugar
  • ¾ cup water


Remove any leaves from the kumquats, wash the fruit well, and pat it dry. Make 3–4 small, vertical, shallow slits in each kumquat, being careful not to cut completely through. The Japanese remove the seeds, since it is considered poor etiquette to leave them on your plate while eating. This is a time-consuming task with the heavily seeded American variety of the fruit, but if you wish to be authentic here is how to do it. Hold each kumquat between thumb and forefinger, and squeeze lightly so that the slits part to expose flesh and seeds. Insert a toothpick, and carefully poke and pick out seeds.

Put the kumquats in a saucepan with cold water to cover and add the saké. Bring this to a boil rapidly, then reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer for 10–15 minutes. Drain the soft, tender fruit.

In a saucepan combine the sugar and ¾ cup water, and cook it, stirring constantly, for 2—3 minutes or until syrupy. Add the drained cooked kumquats and simmer the fruit in the syrup for 8–10 minutes. Let them cool in the saucepan, and just before serving, drain them of any excess syrup. Refrigerate any leftovers, covered in syrup, for up to 4 days. If you wish to store for a longer period of time, transfer the hot fruit and syrup to sterile Mason-type jars, and seal them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.