It is an exciting time when Cumquats (Kumquats) are in season. Each year, Cumquat Marmalade is made. And then attention turns to Cumquat pickles.
This is an Indian style pickle. Sometimes we make other pickles with cumquats, jar after jar of orange fruits in a spiced vinegar and sugar solution. This recipe, my favourite, is pickled in lemon juice and salt. We never tire of them, serving them with all Indian dishes, with plain rice or vegetable rice, in salads, in dishes being cooked a la grecque, and in any other way we conceive of using them.
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The pickled cumquats have shades of spice as well, with Kalonji (Nigella), fennel, cardamom and coriander seed, as well as some cinnamon. You could also use black mustard seed, aniseed, star anise, even black pepper. The salt assists the flavour and helps to preserve the pickles.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 0 mins
Serves: Use as an accompaniment to favourite dishes
500 g cumquats
lemon juice to cover – you can use lime juice also
3 Tblspn sea salt
1 stick cinnamon
1 tspn kalonji (Nigella seed)
1 tspn fennel seed
1 tspn cardamom seed
1 tspn coriander seed
Wash the cumquats, remove any seeds and cut into halves or quarters, depending on the size.
Layer the cumquat pieces in a glass jar with the cinnamon, spices and salt. Press the cumquats down lightly so the mixture is somewhat compact and sits level in the jar.
Pour the lemon and/or lime juice over the cumquats. Make sure the juice completely covers the cumquat pieces, and keep at least a couple of centimetres of space between the cumquats and the top of the jar. Make sure that there are no air bubbles in the jar – you can cover the jar and turn it over several times to help remove air bubbles.
Cover the jar tightly and leave it in cool dark place for two weeks, turning the jar each day. If the level of lemon juice goes down, top it up. It may go down as the salt and juice is absorbed by the fruit.
It should now be stored in the fridge. Use the fruit and the juice in your recipes and on your favourite foods.
The remaining juice in the jar, when the pickles are finished, makes a wonderful dressing. I love to mix it with the oil from Punjabi Quince Pickles, and the result is simply amazing.
I generally make a jar or three of Pickled Cumquats each year. This is my 2016 activity. These are salted, and I allowed the juices to ooze for a day in a warm, sunny spot, before filling with lemon juice.