The month of May is all about nourishing our bellies and our souls here at The Lunchbox Season! And here are four amazing ingredients which, when “preserved” together, make a delicious flavouring for your tagines, stews and roasts, your salad dressings, and your bevvies: Salt, Kumquats, Cinnamon and Cardamom
Ever since our trip to California in March, we have been crazy for Kumquats! We ate them by the handful at the farmer’s markets there. Here in Toronto, however, the little gems are hard to find, and expensive, too. Hence, the hoarding impulse….Since we love to use preserved lemons in our cooking, we decided that preserved kumquats would be a lovely, wonderful alternative seasoning for some of our favourite dishes. They were super easy to make!
Now, wait a few weeks, and, Ta-da! Preserved Kumquats!
So far, we’ve added them to a lamb roast, a lentil currry, and our beloved Resurrection Chicken [our take on Dori Greenspan’s Chicken in a Pot.] And, just yesterday, I blitzed two into a vinaigrette. You can also rinse and drop one or two of these babies into a glass of sparkling water! Or, for a tea, muddle two rinsed preserved kumquats in a cup and add hot water and honey. [Bourbon will make this a cold- and flu-buster royale!!]
Don’t you want all of that? Well, here’s the easy recipe!
- 2-3 Dozen Kumquats
- Kosher Salt
- Juice of a few more kumquats or lemon juice
- Optional: Dry Whole Spices [We used Flat Cinnamon and Cardamom Pods]
- 1 half-pint glass jar cleaned and sterilized, with a tight fitting lid
- Scrub the kumquats well, removing the tiny little green stems.
- Dry well.
- Score each kumquat with a knife along one side.
- Place about 2 tbs Kosher Salt in the bottom of the jar as well as a bit of dried spice, if using. [We used 1 cardamom pod and 1 shard of cinnamon]
- Drop a few of the kumquats into the bottom of the salted jar.
- Muddle with the back of a spoon or with a mini tart shaper.
- Add more kosher salt.
- Continue to add additional fruits, spices, and salt, pressing down fairly hard with a kitchen tool, so that the fruits compact slightly and begin to juice.
- Make sure all of the fruits are covered in salt.
- Add some additional kumquat or lemon juice to cover all fruits.
- Seal the jar, leaving just about a quarter inch of head-space (room for air) at the very top.
- Let the jar sit around at room temperature for a week or two until the salts begin to dissolve and become liquid.
- Shake the jar occasionally during that time or turn it on its head for a few hours and reverse.
- Refrigerate the jar for at least two weeks before using.
- To use the preserved kumquats, open the jar, remove the amount of fruit you need, and, if desired, rinse well.
- 1 jar of preserved citrus can remain in the refrigerator for at least a year.
Now, what will you do with yours?