Hilary Eats Kumquat Pickles

Languages of Love & Kumquat Pickles


There is a book by Gary Chapman called “The 5 Love Languages” introduced to me by the magical Elena Cholovsky of the vegan Raw Food Mecca, Alchemy Bali.

Chapman groups the way we perceive the giving and receiving of love into five buckets. They are not the same for everyone. The languages in short are: gifting, physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time and my personal favorite, acts of service.

Cooking is my preferred act of loving service.  Doing so with mindful awareness of the person, the gratitude I wish to convey or the love I am showing is how I transfer that alchemy into deliciousness, through intention. Intention is an important part of making good food, and connecting with what you do, moving with purpose and creating beauty.

Pickles are my love currency. As Portlandia taught us, and ancient culinary traditions in nearly every culture, you can pickle basically any fruit or veg. It is a great way to preserve food, boost nutrients, make food more digestible through fermentation and feed the trillion+ bacteria in your gut which you depend on to live a happy, healthy life.

Besides all that, pickles add mad pizzazz to almost any dish and can be made in a rainbow of flavours. These Kumquat Pickles are fantastic on top of basically any salad, citrus desserts, cakes (e.g. speckled on a lemon bread…coming soon) or very nice on a vegan coconut rice pudding. You can even throw them in cocktails or iced tea for garnish. See? PIZZAZZ.

Kumquat Pickles
Active Time: 25 mins
Slicing the kumquats razor thin is the most time consuming, the rest is done in 7mins
Serves: I find one jar lasts about 6 months, or on about 16-20 dishes as garnish, accent and more

250-300g of Kumquats
1 clean (sterile) glass jar with lid of 340-350g
4-6 whole cardamom pods
1 Tbs (14g) pink peppercorns
1/4cup (60ml) of coconut vinegar, white wine vinegar or raw apple cider vinegar
2 fat pinches of coarse sea salt
1 fat pinch of coconut sugar, unrefined cane sugar or a glog of maple syrup

This is stupid simple. Put the sugar, salt, and vinegar in the jar and shake until it dissolves. Then slice up your kumquats razor thin, too thick and the slices are overwhelming and bitter with too much pith (that white stuff between the fruit and rind). Now crush your cardamom pods with the flat side of a knife. Add your sliced fruit to the jar and layer in the cardamom and pepper. Fill the rest of the jar with a little water so the fruit is completely submerged. Shake it up, and let it sit to develop some good bacteria for 1-3 days at room temp. Then refrigerate. Lasts up to 6 months.


Seasonal Life: These little oval shaped gems are like the It Girl of the citrus world, which is at its best in winter. Their season is supposedly November to March but they only really appear in the Netherlands from late January to March, which is why I pickle them to make their goodness stretch into summer.

Probably native to China, but definitely South Asia, they appear in literature as early as 1178 AD and arrived in Europe and North America in the mid-19th century. Often used as an ornamental tree, a beautiful little one grew in my Grandparents backyard in Pasadena, California. I used to steal the little fruits, squish them with bare hands and suck out the juices. End Sidebar.

Bon Appétit!