Preserved Kumquats (Goddammit)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

-If you turn your head and squint you can hear the sound effects from Pac-Man.-

The way I see it swearing is totally acceptable in certain situations, if not encouraged. In some cases this might be after getting a paper cut or when your computer inexplicably crashes. It might be finding out that that new camera you purchased last week is now on sale for a unheard of low price of sweet-mother-f***er-if-I-only-waited-a-week. These are all good times to swear up a storm so harsh that nearby children cry, Lovecraftian gods are summoned, adults suffer spontaneous nosebleeds, and paint curls off the walls.

Another good time for colorful language like this is when you realize all the canning you did in the last year - the jams, jellys, pickles, tinctures, and liquors - have all been destroyed. Not only were these little homemade delicacies for your enjoyment, but they existed as Christmas and birthday gifts for friends and family. All now gone.

That, dear readers, is a damn good reason to curse like a rebellious Catholic school girl.

The day I realized this particular loss I began to swear at the fire like a madman. I used the word "asshole" more than a bunch of proctologists at a rectal convention. Seriously, it wasn't pretty.

However, one can only swear so much before finally getting over oneself and fixing the problem.

Luckily, here in California, it's the peak of kumquat season and the local kumquat tree is in total hardcore bloom. The green branches are so emblazoned with huge orange clusters of what have to be the biggest kumquats I've ever seen that they're beginning to sag and break.

-Sucks to be you, East Coast.-

A perfect time to start preserving and pickling and jamming once again. Candied kumquats, kumquat salsa, and pickled kumquats... they're all being churned out here and being canned as fast as my little hands can put them together.

However, I've added a new kumquat recipe to my repertoire. These piquant citrus fruits are being preserved this time, the same way you might preserve a lemon. The end result will be fragrant, floral, bits of kumquat that can grace the most delicate baked fish, layered into a grilled cheese, or diced into a salad.

As one who doesn't own a lemon tree and therefore isn't "burdened" (who are you kidding lemon tree owners?) with an overabundance of fruit it's a nice alternative. Quirky and unique - it sets my kitchen and dishes apart from others and is a fine way to begin restocking the larder.

-It's hard to swear when you taste one of these, but it's fun to give it a shot anyways. Fun game for the kids.-

Preserved Kumquats
The below is a rough recipe. It's easy enough that you can just toss it together so don't fret about making it or specifics. I made a a few jars in a few sizes and basically kept going until I ran out of kumquats.

Kosher salt
lemon juice (about 2 lemons worth for every 1/2 pint jar)
Spices (optional; I used peppercorns, a bay leaf, and a cinnamon stick)

1. Place a tablespoon of salt at the bottom of a sterilized jar.

2. One by one, prepare the kumquats in the following way. Pick off any protruding stems, then cut the kumquats as if you were going to cut them in half lengthwise, starting from the tip, but do not cut all the way. Keep the kumquat attached at the base. Make another cut in a similar manner, so now the lemon is quartered, but again, attached at the base. (These were big kumquats, smaller ones you should only have to cut once.)

3. Pack the inside of the kumquat generously with salt.

4. Pack the kumquats in the jar, squishing them down so that juice is extracted. Fill up the jar with kumquats. Add the lemon juice to top them off and add an extra few tablespoons of salt.

5. Seal the jar and let sit at room temperature for a couple days. Turn the jar upside down occasionally. Put in refrigerator and let sit, again turning upside down occasionally, for at least 2 weeks.

6. To use wash off the excess salt and use as needed. Store for up to 6 months.

-Pictured: giving house fires the finger.-

Kumquat trees (grow very well in cold climates) - Four Winds Growers
Candied Kumquats - Simply Recipes
Kumquat Salsa - Simply Recipes
Pickled Kumquats


  1. Being a retail putz I'll tell you that most retailers honor the new price if you've got a receipt in hand within 2 weeks of purchase. Maybe you've still got time left to get the price adjusted on the camera?? :)

    Sure wish I could have some of those kumquats. We delivered a great chicken with kumquat-honey recipe in class a few weeks ago. Yum!

  2. Fran - The camera was just an example, sadly. I am still using my regular old point and shoot. ;)

  3. Well really Garrett, I'm sure proctologists have a much more dignified word for asshole than asshole. And do they really call them rectal conventions? LOL

    As an east coaster, I can say with authority that it does suck to be me after reading this post! I really want some of those delicious looking little pac-man fruits growing in my yard. On the bright side we did get to make a snowman this weekend!

    I have never tasted a kumquat - when my LA family comes to visit next I'm going to request that they stash some in their luggage. Beautiful pics!

  4. Oh dear, I'm sorry about all your cans.

    I hope it will make you feel good that you have saved some kumquats from rotting, I have a giant pot of marmalade brewing up and a load of candied slices and there is still a bucketload left and I love preserved lemons so this sounds like a winner!

  5. excited that this version does not require me to know about sanitary canning methods! (need to take that class)

    will now go and raid my BFF's kumquat tree!

  6. I am so sorry you lost your pantry. That sucks!

    Thanks for the great idea. Now I just have to get a kumquat tree. (I have a potted meyer lemon but it only averages a dozen fruits a year so I am selfish with them!)

  7. "Sucks to be you, East Coast"

    ...i'm gonna go eat some more kale now...

  8. I'm so exceptionally jealous. We're buried under snow out here in Alabama where the local crop is cotton for your jeans. Just... grr!

    I wonder if I could grow kumquat in a pot in the house?

  9. Liana - I am betting you could do so. Check with your local nursery's and see, or do a bit of online research to check. =)

  10. For a food blog, I think you could use a little less colorful language in your life. The excessive expletives detract from your cynical wit and are contrary to the person you seem to be outside of your blog. I've had the pleasure of meeting you and waiting on you locally and hope I don't offend!

  11. Anonymous - Not offended at all. Honestly, in my day to day life I don't swear much. In the blog, I only use swearing when I feel it is appropriate to the story I'm telling, or is actually word for word dialogue that someone has said in which case I think it would be wrong to change it. In this post however, the post was in part about swearing in and of itself and when I feel it's okay to use it. In this case losing four dozen jars of homemade preserves which took tons and tons of work to do was such a situation.

    Furthermore, I personally feel that simply denying a word only gives it more fame or infamy and demonizes it for no particular reason, but that using them appropriately gives them a proper purpose like any other word, and thus a correct usage within language itself.

    I know each time I swear on the blog I chance to loss of some readers, but I feel the readers who understand what I'm writing about will forgive me or even enjoy it in the context I present it in.

    Anywhose, thanks so much for commenting and expressing your thoughts about the subject. Hope to meet you again sometime. =)

  12. I think this post is a wry, recursive reflection on language. However, I am doomed to spend the rest of the day imagining what actually goes on at rectal conventions. I don't even want to think about the swag bags.

  13. Garrett, I honestly cannot see a problem with using swear words in a post ABOUT the timely usage swear words. Then again, I swear whenever I see your goddam sexy food-porn photos.

  14. F***in' A, I'm with Trina (and smiling wickedly.) Honestly, in this era, formerly taboo words are becoming mainstream--just pause and note the difference between censorship on television thirty years ago versus now. One can hear bitch, ass and other formerly unacceptable words. There is an active desensitization to previously offensive words. The Rap music genre has aided this greatly, but it speaks to the progress of our current civilization and the ensuing social mores. So, for better or worse, it's now acceptable; especially in artistic writing. Bottom line--use it if it serves your purpose or if it's true to who you are. I prefer the genuine Garrett to a contrived one each and every time, so please continue to write with the same great honesty and authenticity that you have been. That's what will keep me reading. (that, and the food porn wink*wink*)

  15. I wish I was your friend. Or at least, I wish I had a friend with access to kumquats and a penchant for making delicious gifts. Please move to Canada asap. Thanks!

  16. goddammit, it does suck for east coasters.

    (i've tried to stop swearing so much in life...i usually give it up for lent.)

  17. I've never tasted a kumquat so I don't know what I'm missing out here on the East Coast. I do however have pretty much unlimited access to the best-tasting (and freshest) maple syrup. I especially love the days when my coworkers come in to the office with a fresh batch they boiled the night before. Drinking it straight up out of a dixie cup, Nothing can top that! Yummy! Gotta love Vermont. Oh and wait Ben and Jerry's is right down the road too. =P'

  18. What a good idea, I wanted to make candied kumquats covered in chocolate this year but haven't had the time - this would be easier thing to do.

  19. I wish I could swear like you on my blog. Hunting blogs, though, are a different world.

    BTW, wanna come over and pick some Meyer lemons?

  20. We (my bf, really) makes Kumquat Marmalade every year, my Grandmother has a prolific tree. I went over and picked kumquats today and preserved them. I'm excited to see how they turn out!


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