Rajisthani kumquat pickle

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Ever notice how koons-like kumquats are?

or is it just me?  look, i’m up here in the berkshires for the week…i’m happier than a pig in snow (about it).

and i have a date with a couple of bunches of carrots i need to tell you all about in the next few days for the great can jam of 2010. that said, I’ve been waiting to get my paws on some organic kumquats since this year’s citrus season began, and this is why:

rajisthani kumquat pickle
2 pounds organic kumquats
4 meyer lemons (other kinds of lemons can be used, or limes)
1/2 cup sea salt
heaping 1/4 cup sugar (i use raw)
1/4 cup cayenne powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon asafetida
1/2 gallon jar, or 2 quart jars (wash and dried thoroughly)

(btw you can find a nice explanation of indian spices here)

1. rinse the kumquats off and dry completely – this is very important to avoid spoilage. slice off the little navel end of the very dry kumquats then slice in half lengthwise, discard seeds.

2. place kumquats in jar and pour salt, sugar, cayenne powder, and turmeric into jar. close top and shake.

3. place whole fenugreek, mustard and fennel seeds in a dry heated frying pan, along with the asafetida. roast until they just start to darken, about 3-5 minutes on medium heat.

they’ll look something like this:
4. take off of heat and let cool. then grind to a powder in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle.

5. pour ground spices in jar and shake well again.

6. squeeze all four lemons and add strained juice to jar giving it a shake once again.

7. normally this would be placed in the sun for 2-3 weeks, shaken once a day. if you have good sun this time of year then by all means place it on a sunny windowsill and shake once a day. if sun is scarce for you then place it not far from the heater, just so you can feel the glass getting warm but not hot. shake and rotate it once a day.

8. at about the 2 week point the liquid will thicken and gel slightly, the flavors will meld and mellow (don’t worry 1/4 cup cayenne powder is not too much!) and the kumquat skins will soften. you still want them to be rather toothsome, don’t dare let it fement to mush.

9. when you deem it to reach the point of perfection place it in the fridge where it can last rather indefinitely.

of course it won’t do that because you will be eating it with everything from flatbreads to rice to curry and everything in between, and dare i say with your paws straight from the jar

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