Pickled Kumquats

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kumquat season is approaching once again, and Elise and I found ourselves in the familiar pickle. What do you do with a zillion kumquats?

So when life puts you in a pickle, you make pickles.

These odd sounding pickled kumquats are truly quirky when thought about, but in actual taste they are very sweet, very tart, and nicely spiced. The kumquats are quickly blanched, then immersed in a bath of sugar, vinegar and aromatics such as cinnamon and cloves. They’re delicious to say the least, but the longer they sit the better the flavor gets. Tasty on their own they would also pair perfectly with roast chicken, layered in a grilled cheese sandwich, or simply garnishing a simple sald.

After about a week some of the pectin in the seeds and pith and the sugar make the vinegar become a bit thick making the pickles even sweeter and more tart in the syrupy brine. Very tasty and perfect when roasted with some veggies such as kohlrabi.

This little pickling project also falls in step with my food new year resolution: to can more of my own food. I figure this way I can save some cash and make something tasty for myself and friends.
Pickled Kumquats
Makes about 4 cups

2 lbs (about four cups) of kumquats, sliced in half and any seeds easily accessible discarded
1 teaspoon of salt
3 cups of white vinegar
1 cup of sugar
4 cardamom pods
5 cloves
6 peppercorns
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick

1) Place kumquats in a pan. Cover with water and add the salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2) Place vinegar, sugar, and spice in a pan and bring to a boil. Add the kumquats. Allow to simmer for 1 minute.

3) Can into sterilized jars. Be sure that the kumquats are fully immersed into the liquid and leave 1/2 in. of head space.


  1. Yum...I love kumquats but have never had the pickled.

  2. Nice kumquat close up. I've just started getting into canning, and I think I would get carried away with it if I had more time. I love kumquats and think I'll have to try this out. How long did you process them for?

  3. Pinky: Took me about 20 minutes to cut and seed them all. =)

  4. Those look beautiful and yummy. I have a lot of white rice vinegar at home.. do you think that would be an okay substitute for white vinegar? Or is it not acidic enough?

  5. Do you have some ideas for what to do with them after they are pickled?? I too have a campus kumquat tree to gather from, and kumquat marmelade feels a little too sweet. But what do you do with the pickled ones?

  6. Sasha - I use them in martinis, on snack plates with cheese, or with rilletes.

  7. Thanks, Garrett. I see the part in the post about roast chicken now, too. Ooh, I think I'm going to make these.


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