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I've been on a kumquat tear lately—slicing them into wheels and tossing them into green salads. A few have been quickly candied and poured over a tender almond cake. There was a pound that I turned into a labor-intensive marmalade.
And then there's this kumquat pickle. Slightly sweet, puckery and gently spiced, it may well be my new favorite thing to eat.
If your citrus experience is limited to oranges, clementines, and grapefruit, eating a kumquat will feel backwards at first. Kumquats keep their sweetness in their skin and their tartness on the inside. If you try and peel away the exterior, all you'll be left with is a marble-sized bite of unrelenting sour. Instead, you pop the whole thing in your mouth and let the flavors mingle.
Much like the pickled cranberries I posted just before Thanksgiving, these kumquats can do double duty. The pickled fruit is perfect on a cheese platter, alongside cured and roasted meats, or tossed with hearty green salads.
The vinegar syrup can be treated like a shrub or drinking vinegar. Stir it into sparkling water, a cocktail or into a vinaigrette for a flavorful sweet/tart bite.
Before You Get Started
While kumquats are fairly common these days, depending on where you live, it can still be something of a hunt to scare up a pound or two. If you can't find them at your regular spots, try an Asian grocery store.
Don't worry if the kumquats look a bit dried out on the inside. They'll still pickle up just fine.
Should you want a stronger flavor from the spices, instead of tying them up in a spice bag, add some of each to the bottom of each jar before you ladle in the fruit.
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About the author: Marisa McClellan is a food writer, canning teacher, and dedicated pickler who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her jams, pickles and preserves (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars.