Cumquat trees are native to south Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, where the plant apparently symbolises good luck and prosperity. Our tree is surrounded by camellia trees in full bloom and bordered by rosemary bushes that have become a little overgrown – a very pleasing corner feature of our rather ragamuffin garden.
A year ago we spent an intense weekend pruning and moving plants so that our garden wall could be repaired. I know it was a year ago, because our cumquat tree was at least as burdened with fruit then as it is now. We’d recruited a few people to help with the garden rampage – and a couple of these industrious ‘garden gnomes’ were kind enough to collect all the fruit for me before pruning the tree back. I duly turned the harvest into bottles of rather delicious cumquat chutney at a later date and rewards were issued.
Since then, the tree has bushed out and fruited even more prolifically than ever. Unfortunately the garden-gnome-recruitment-scheme hasn’t worked quite as well this year, but I have a couple of likely characters coming to stay for the weekend soon… I’m fairly sure I’ll be able to bribe them with baked goods to deal with the cumquat harvest then.
This does beg the question of just what I’ll do with hundreds of tiny, bright orange, pip-infested obloid fruits this year. In the past I’ve candied, spiced and brandied them, made jams, marmalades, chutneys and cakes, used them when baking fish and as accompaniments to roast meats. However, the darn tree appears to be getting more and more prolific as the years go by and many of the cumquat recipes I’ve found use only a handful of the fruit.
These muffins, for example, whilst undoubtedly very yummy only use up ten cumquats in total. Ten. In the grand scheme of things, I’d need to make about 20 batches of muffins to use anywhere near the number of cumquats I have on hand – and I really don’t think my waistline would appreciate that very much! Nevertheless, having found the recipe, I’ll give them a try this evening. I’ll also try this delicious-sounding cake over the weekend. It uses 750g of cumquats – and since one cumquat weighs approximately 19g, that makes about 40, which sounds more promising. I’ll reassess the cumquat situation after that
Meantime, we harvested 170 grapefruit today and there are more on the tree. This is our third harvest this season and we’re just about grapefruited out. So, if anyone would like some, please give me a shout and we can arrange for a pick-up or delivery 🙂