Pickled Kumquats


Have you heard that French expression, je ne sais quoi?  It’s what you say about the woman walking down the street who seems to have it all together, or a fancy hotel that brings you a cocktail while you’re still checking in.  Directly translated, it means I don’t know what, and it’s often used when something is amazing but you can’t quite figure out why.


I recently had a salad with no cheese, no fruit, no meat, and no candied nuts.  None of the fun stuff.  And, it was delicious.  Bite after bite, I loved it even more.  But I couldn’t figure out why…it just had that….je ne sais quoi.  I finally spotted a tiny piece of orange.  That was it.  This tangy, chewy, bright little bite made this salad so lively and flavorful.  I had to stop the waitress to find out what it was: pickled kumquat.


They’re just on their way out of the season, so head to the grocery store and grab as many as you can (I had to have my local Whole Foods dig around in the back).  Toss together a jar of pickled kumquats then slice for salads, grain bowls, seafood, or even an festive cheese platter. 

Food La La Recipe:  Pickled Kumquats


  • 1 pound kumquats, rinsed and cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt


  1. Combine vinegar, salt, and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil.  Transfer to a heat-proof bowl and let cool.
  2. Place kumquats in a large jar, or Tupperware and set aside.
  3. Pour mixture over kumquats and store let sit in refrigerator for three days.
  4. To use:  Use your thumb to peel the fruit out of the kumquat (discard) and slice the peel into thin strips, or dice into little pieces.