What do you get when you cross a Fortunella margarita with a Citrus aurantifolia?
A limequat. If nothing else, it’s a ton of fun to say the word limequat.
I’ve played with kumquats (Fortunella margarita) before and I adore the small Mexican limes (Citrus aurantifolia), but I’d never even seen a limequat until my friend (and Edible Phoenix editor) handed me a bag of them a few weeks ago.
She grows them in her backyard, and apparently they’re prolific little suckers because she was handing them out like candy to goblins on Halloween.
Because the whole fruit is edible (but please save yourself the excruciating, mouth-twisting experience of eating one raw), limequats are perfectly suited to jams, chutneys and pies.
I’m not much of a jammer, and we have one of best kumquat marmalade makers at one of our local farmers’ markets (Carol’s Delectable’s from Snowflake, AZ), so I decided to preserve these gift orbs, like Moroccan-style preserved lemons.
I gave them a bath, sliced them in half and juiced them. I had about two pounds, and needed all of the juice to cover half the rinds.
Turns out, that while I don’t make jam, apparently I do make compote (I cooked the remaining rinds with some sugar and spices and voilà! a compote).
Now, if I had taken the time and trouble to put the compote into sterilized jars and sealed them in a water bath, I could honestly say that I am a jammer. But I did not — because I’m not a jammer. Certainly not like Mrs. Wheelbarrow.
I used the compote immediately as a garnish to grilled halibut, and thought to myself, this would be great with chicken, too, or even in a wild rice dish. Maybe even in a smoothie (yeah, I’m crazy that way.)
I divided the rest up into disposable containers and handed them out to my neighbors, like Halloween candy, with a note that said to use it up within a week or two.
Back to the preserved limequats. With half the rinds (yes, you have to pick out all the little seeds, what a pain in the…) and all of the juice from two pounds of limequats, I added a generous tablespoon of salt.
I could have added some spices had I been thinking clearly, like a bay leaf, maybe some peppercorns and/or cinnamon stick and whole cloves.
But I wasn’t, so I didn’t. C’est la vie.
I did add another half cup of Key lime juice so that the limequats were completely covered in juice, and sprinkled another tablespoon of salt on top.
I stuck the jar in the fridge and let it sit for a couple of weeks, shaking the container every now and then.
Every few days, I plucked a half limequat out of the salted juice broth and tasted it.
The texture really didn’t change much until the second week. It was already fairly soft, but after two weeks, it was noticeably softer than the first day.
So I have a jar of preserved limequats ready for anything.
Now what? Got any ideas?