Candied fruit for a sweet and happy new year

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Mứt quất (candied kumquat). Photo credit: Can Tho Vocational College Mứt quất (candied kumquat). Photo credit: Can Tho Vocational College

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Mứt Tết (Tet candied fruit) is an indispensable treat during the Lunar New Year Festival.
Tet is a time when everyone prepares a box of colorful candied fruits at home to give visitors, gift to friends and family, and offer to ancestors.
A typical guest would munch on a candy and roasted watermelon seeds and drink a few cups of tea. Children enjoy the candies as little snacks.

A box of colorful candied fruits is available at every home during Tet. Photo: Hoang Thuy

In the past people used to make the candies at home, sending the pleasant smell of fruits wafting through villages.
But these days most are too busy, and this has become is a waning habit. Instead, they tend to buy candied fruit at supermarkets and markets where hundreds of the yummy treats line the shelves.
Of course, some still make them at home. It is a simple process and the ingredients are all readily available - like coconut, ginger, sweet potato, kumquat, tamarind, and pineapple.

Mứt dừa (candied coconut). Photo: Tram Pham

They also have health benefits.
For instance, having a few pieces of candied ginger will help digestion, while candied kumquat, which is often eaten whole with the peel, helps relieve sore throats and ease hangovers.

Mứt gừng (candied ginger). Photo: Dieu Linh

The candied lotus seed is useful for relieving stress and getting a good night's sleep.
People making candied fruit at home often prefer lotus seeds since they are delicious and easy to make.

Mứt hạt sen (candied lotus seed). Photo credit: webkheotay.com

Soak dried lotus seeds in water for several hours so that they enlarge and become tender.
Bring the seeds to a boil then simmer until they are soft. Then rinse the seeds and allow them to cool. 
Put an equal amount of sugar into a pan, and add half a bowl of water. Stir constantly to let the sugar dissolve. Simmer over low heat until the mixture thickens and turns syrupy.
Add the lotus seeds, stir gently, and add a few drops of grapefruit flower extract for more fragrance. 
Use a spoon to keep pouring the syrup over the seeds until they are evenly coated with the syrup and become translucent. Then put them on a tray and allow them to cool.
The delicious candy is now ready to eat.

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