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Pickled Kumquats

The magical Elena Cholovsky, female libido and intimacy specialist, introduced me to the book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. According to Chapman, we perceive the giving and receiving of love in five ways: gifting, physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, and my personal favorite, acts of service. The love languages are not the same for everyone. You may give in a different language than you receive!

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; so is connecting with what you do, moving with purpose and creating.

Pickles are my love currency. As ancient culinary traditions in nearly every culture teach us, 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 pizzazz to almost any dish and can be made in a rainbow of flavours. These Picked Kumquats are fantastic on top of many salads, breakfast bowls, citrus desserts, and even a vegan coconut rice pudding. You can even throw them into cocktails or iced tea for garnish. See? PIZZAZZ.


Prep Time: 25 mins

Slicing the kumquats razor-thin is the most time-consuming part; the rest is done in 7 minutes.

Makes: 1 340-350g jar

I find one jar lasts about 6 months, which can be used in about 16-20 dishes as a garnish, accent and more.


250-300g kumquats

clean (sterile) glass 340-350g jar with lid of

4-6 whole cardamom pods

¼ cup (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 or unrefined cane sugar, or a glog of maple syrup


Combine the sugar, salt, and vinegar in the jar and shake until it dissolves. Slice your kumquats razor thin—too thick and the slices are overwhelming and bitter with too much pith, which is the white stuff between the fruit and rind. Crush your cardamom pods with the flat side of a knife. Add the sliced kumquats to the jar and layer in the cardamom.

Fill the rest of the jar with a little water so the fruit is completely submerged. Shake it up, and let it sit for at least 1-3 days at room temperature to develop some good bacteria, then refrigerate. Done!

Keep for up to 6 months.

Seasonal Life: These little oval-shaped gems are at their 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.

History: Probably native to China, but definitely to South Asia, kumquats 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.

Bon appétit!

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