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Make this Kumquat Pickle recipe before the citrus season ends! This small winter citrus is absolutely delicious, and you can easily preserve them for months to come.
These tart, punchy pickles rely on vinegar, organic cane sugar, and the acidity of the kumquat for a long shelf life. In this recipe, pink peppercorns are added for subtle spice and depth of flavor, along with ginger.
The beauty of kumquats is you can eat their thin skin too, which softens even further as they’re lightly boiled with the vinegar and sugar.
The process is relatively simple – from beginning to end, it took me less than an hour.
Pickles, jams, marmalades, krauts…. those little items that accompany a meal and push our palates a little further. I just love the myriad of components the little jars can house within their glass walls – sweet, sour, tart, tangy, salty, spicy, and many more.
I started canning and preserving when I was young, helping my mom make upwards of 20 pints of roasted salsa and rhubarb jam. The process was long and tiring. So much peeling and chopping, followed by hectic rushing to fill the scalding hot jars with whatever was bubbling in the pot. BUT…. those jars were like liquid gold come winter time.
My strategy on canning is more small-batch driven, as I really enjoy being able to tuck away all sorts of options instead of focusing my energy on one or two recipes. One week I can pull out of a jar of chai pear butter, the next I’m noshing on the Kumquat Pickles you see here, a recipe I’m sharing from my friend Autumn‘s new book, Beyond Canning!
I’ve been reading Autumn’s blog for quite a few years, first stumbling upon this delicious Rhubarb Shrub recipe she created. I’ve always admired her unique combinations, but most of all, her ability to make these fantastic small batch recipes and take away the intimidation of canning. I recently sat down with to ask her 5 questions to dig a little deeper into her inspiration, and learn more about why she loves “putting things up”.
1. What was the very thing you canned, and how did you learn?
I first canned at a canning party at my friend Kate’s house. I always recommend folks who are new to canning do it the first time with someone who knows what they’re doing. It’s just so helpful to have a friend to reassure you when you’re just starting out. I remember at that canning party we made a TON of pickled green beans. Another awesome thing about making canning a social event, is that it splits up the work!
2. What do you hear most commonly that is definitely a myth about canning?
Surprisingly, I’ve encountered a fair number of folks who still have a perception of canning as something done only by people living on farms. I got excited about preserving when I lived in NYC.
3. What are the best fruits to make jam with and why?
The ones you enjoy eating that grow around you! ;) Really though, since I left NYC for the desert I’ve been focusing on discovering ways to preserve what I love that is plentiful by me– the beautiful apricots from my friends’ backyard, the grapefruits from my boss’ tree. The women in my boyfriend’s family have an AMAZING fruit tree game. From them I get pears, figs, tiny red plums, and pomegranates. When I was a NYC greenmarket nerd, the things that I looked forward to preserving every year were sour cherries and rhubarb.
4. Do you have any secrets, or tips to make sure your fruit or vegetables don’t float to the top?
That has been a problem for me in the past. This is sometimes called “fruit float” although it happens with veggies too, as you point out. Making sure that you release air bubbles before applying the lids is an easy way to help cut down on this phenomenon. It can be helpful to use a regular mouth pint jar with a shoulder (as opposed to a wide-mouth jar), which can help keep everything submerged.
5. If you had to pick one recipe from the book that you will make every year, no matter what, which one is it?
The Bergamot Scented Meyer Lemon Marmalade. I use fresh bergamot zest to scent the marmalade and it’s just the most heavenly thing. That said, when I had meyer lemons this year, I didn’t have bergamots, so I omitted them. Even without the fancy add-in, I love this recipe! The advantage of meyer lemons in marmalade is that the peel in more tender and less bitter, making this a perfect recipe for folks who might still be on the fence about marmalade.
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Hi There, I am writing from South Africa and cannot wait to try this recipe. I have only tried pickling once (preserved lemons) which was successful. Kumquats are in season now and is relatively inexpensive. Thank you for this recipe
beautiful pictures–just the pop of color my grey day needed! next best thing to eating the kumquats…
oh, thanks Janet! also – love the name of your website. sending kumquat sunshine! xo
I’m so excited about this, canning and all forms of preservation are somewhat intimidating for me, but also something I’ve been slowly getting into the last couple years. I made a strawberry, rose and fig jam last summer that made such a lovely treat a couple months ago! I also pickled radishes and they’ve been the punchiest, most delicious addition to salads lately. Still though, I feel nervous with every new attempt. I absolutely love the idea of a canning party, or at the very least partnering up with an experienced canner :) This book looks like it would be such a vital guide. My fingers are crossed that I’ll win, but even if I don’t I plan to seek it out. Lovely post, Amanda! xo
I can say with all honesty that I’ve never seen pickles look so pretty as you’ve made them look here! And I am a huge fan of that balanced flavor combo. Sounds like a lovely book, and I enjoyed the interview too! A canning party sounds like so much fun. xoxo
amanda, every element of this post i truly adore. preserving and canning are both such important processes to me – the extension of harvest, the cultivation of flavor, the ability to further nourish ourselves. the sound of that marmalade is divine. beautiful & i can’t wait to have a look at this lovely book! xo
I bet there are so many wonderful things to preserve through the seasons in your neck of the woods danielle!
I’ve been meaning to get into pickling, fermenting, canning etc. Maybe this summer I’ll get into preserving and make some jam from all the Ontario strawberries we get. I’ve never had pink peppercorns but these pickled kumquats sound so lovely! <3
Hi Genevieve! It’s such a fun little escape from normal cooking. They end up like gifts that never stop giving! Definitely try making jam with those Ontario strawberries. xo
Autumn’s book is so beautiful! I used to can with my Grandmother when I was a little girl and those times in the kitchen are some of my most cherished memories. Man, a blogger canning party would be fun!!!
Thanks for the recipe and feel free to ship me some of those little pickles ;)
oh gosh, a blogger canning party would be suuuuuppper fun. we’d need quite a big kitchen! and maybe some wine. ;)
Kumquats are curious little cuties, aren’t they? I love trying new seasonal ingredients. This would be so yummy as an appetizer with Robusto cheese and crackers.
these are so curious! and puckery, sweet. i like that cheese pairing idea!
I absolutely love canning and I’m loving this combination — it sounds like perfection. I hope your trip to So Cal was fun!! xoxo
I like trying different types of foods and you seem to find just the right ones to put together. I’m anxious to try kumquats, living in Florida I see them in stores but I’ve not tried them yet
These are just the sweetest little orange globes of deliciousness! When I worked at the French restaurant, we always made a kumquat jam that we served with our cheese plate. It was my favorite thing in the whole restaurant. I would always sneak little spoonfuls of it! The book sounds fabulous! Can’t wait to check it out!