It is said, by many a kumquat guru, I don’t know any personally, but in my research those that worship the sour little morsels say that they taste best if gently rolled between the fingers, massaged, before being eaten. It is supposed to release the “essential oils” in the citrus. I have learned to roll my lemons and limes around the counter top prior to cutting them or juicing them, never researching why, so I tried it. I would first like to tell you that when someone says to squeeze something gently, they mean it. I squeezed, ran to the kitchen sink and stuck my entire face under the cold running water. Yes, I had just released essential oils into my eyes. Yes, I did. Not a proud moment, but nonetheless a learning experience. Always have someone else massage your kumquats.
You eat kumquats as you would eat grapes (with the peel). The person who first introduced me to the citrus failed to mention they also contain seeds the size of orange seeds. Once I realized this, I didn’t want to chew them and I was in the middle of the produce section so spitting them out in my hand was not an option and you don’t want to swallow them. I was told when I was young that if you swallow a watermelon seed a watermelon tree will grow inside of your stomach. I don’t need to explain to my doctor how a bonsai got in there. Come to find out that watermelons aren’t even grown on trees. My grandfather also called the watermelon a “piss punkin.”
The seeds are good for something. They contain pectin, which can be extracted through boiling and then used for making jelly. I am not going to attempt the jelly this time around, but I did decide to make my own preserved kumquat and infused salt. Citrus salts are like having a stash of firecrackers in your cupboard. Sprinkle a little on popcorn, scrambled eggs or ice cream and it’s like lighting a pack of “black cats” in your mouth. Minus the actual use of flame or the after smell of sulfur…that would be dangerous.
3 quick kumquat facts:
- Best available November-June
- 3.5 ounces/100 grams contains approximately 71 calories
- On your counter they stay fresh for about 4 days, in the refrigerator up to 3 weeks
Remember; always let someone else massage your kumquats.
“Whatever it is you are looking for, I hope you can eat it.”
12 oz kumquats (340 grams)
.5 oz ginger root (20 grams), sliced, skin on
12 oz Mason jar or equivalent with airtight lid
1 cup Kosher salt
- Task someone to massage your kumquats
- Begin layering in the jar; kumquats, salt, ginger, salt, etc. until full
- Seal lid until tight; shake
- Store jar in a cool, dark place 2-3 weeks
- Shake once after 72 hours as the salt with begin to turn to liquid
- This is where you can reserve some of the salt to use as you please
- Open the lid every few days to release any pressure caused by fermentation
- Once the liquid tastes a bit tangy, place in the refrigerator and it will last up to 1 year
Try adding vanilla bean, rosemary or even peppercorns in place of ginger for a new experience.