With all the rain we’ve had lately, we have a bumper crop of kumquats. I usually make kumquat marmalade, sometimes with the addition of fresh ginger. Last year I also made a compote which was delicious served at room temperature with labneh. Cut them up, skin and all, removing as many seeds as possible and place in a saucepan. Add a little water and sugar to taste – as if you were stewing apples or rhubarb. Then simmer gently until tender. I also made some preserved/candied kumquats rolled in sugar. Delicious but a lot of work.
This year I thought I would have a go at preserving some in salt, to use the way you use preserved lemons – in couscous, tajines, rice salads and so on. I did some research on Google, found a large jar and here is the result. In the photo you can also see two jars of lemon quarters which were preserved with salt in the same way about two months ago. Adding a little sugar is an optional extra I found in some recipes for preserved kumquats online. I have never used any sugar when preserving lemons, but thought I would give it a try.
Kumquats preserved in Salt
Enough kumquats to fill a large jar
lime or lemon juice
Wash and dry the fruit, then cut them in half. No need to remove the seeds. Pack fruit into a large jar with a tightly fitting lid, sprinkling each layer generously with salt and, if liked, a little sugar. As a rough guide I used about a tablespoon of salt and a teaspoon of sugar for every 8-12 kumquats. Fruit varies in size – ours are huge this year. Press down on the kumquat halves, so you can squeeze in as many as possible. Add enough lime or lemon juice to come about a third of the way up the jar, then seal with the lid. If you have a metal lid it’s best to put a piece of baking paper over the top of the jar before the lid. This will stop it from being corroded by the salt. Keep the jar in a sunny kitchen window for about two months, or until the fruit is soft and “preserved”. Every day turn the jar upside down to distribute the juice and salt evenly. If the jar doesn’t leak you can stand it upside down every other day. When ready the fruit will have softened and be less bright in colour – check on progress by removing the lid and having a look. Store the preserved kumquats in a dark pantry or cupboard where they will keep for at least a year
Uses for preserved lemons and kumquats: Most recipes say to throw the flesh away and just use the diced skin, but you can use the flesh if you like to add a nice citrus flavour to curries and casseroles. In Vietnam kumquats preserved in this way are used to get rid of a sore throat or cough. Just eat the whole thing!