I love small batch fridge preserving. While there are many things I preserve a lot of in season, I prefer to preserve ingredients so that I can make a wide variety of flavors whenever I want. I am not a big sweet person, but I love bold unique flavors. I often make just a few pints at a time of marmalade, compote, aigre-doux, and mostarda. I like the twangy flavors to balance out the sweetness of yogurt (I love it with coconut milk yogurt) or to add flavor to things like snacks of cured meats and flax crackers. This kumquat cranberry compote is so good. It has the burst of cranberry tartness, the rich zest of citrus, with the deeper intensity of kumquat. I freeze Wisconsin cranberries in season to be used all winter if I can - but had one last bag that I had managed to keep fresh in my fridge. It goes perfectly with this short burst of kumquat season.
Kumquats are quirky little citrus similar in color and skin to tiny oranges, but with more of a sour pucker to them, and the fruit as well as pith and skin are edible. Kumquat are packed with anti-oxidants, vitamin C, calcium, iron, selenium, zinc, fiber, and B vitamins. And of course cranberries are full of fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, and more as well. Having a burst of intense twangy goodness when March is long and gray is a good thing.
Kumquat Cranberry Compote
This is a delicious twangy compote sweetened with honey.
Put your kumquat slices and cranberries into a big pot.
Add the cinnamon stick, grated ginger, and vanilla bean to the pot.
Crush the cloves, allspice, and cardamom with a mortar and pestle a bit (or put into a baggie and crack a few times with a rolling pin). Add the crushed spices to a tea bag or piece of cheesecloth. Tie it up and add to the pot.
Add in your orange juice or whiskey. Start with 1/3 of a cup. Depending on how juicy your kumquats are, if your cranberries are fresh or frozen, or if you use OJ or whiskey, your liquid needs might slightly vary. Start with the smaller amount, add more as you are cooking if it is looking too dry. It should be just enough liquid to soften and integrate the ingredients into a thick but stirrable whole.
With everything in the pot, bring to a boil and stir stir stir. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, adding more liquid if necessary. If using whiskey the alcohol is cooking off, but leaving an amazing aroma and flavor.
After 15-20 minutes on medium, stirring often, remove your cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, and spice bag.
Add the honey, stir, and turn down to LOW for another 10-15 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir, and then let sit for a final 10 minutes or so to cool. It should be nice and thick and garnet.
Spoon into clean jars, and refrigerate.
This should keep in your refrigerator for a few weeks if you can keep yourself from eating all of it immediately.
NOTE: If you use a very sweet orange juice as your liquid, you might not need as much honey. Taste it as you go!
Make a zingy fresh dressing - mix a Tablespoon of the compote with a teaspoon of coconut vinegar and 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil. Whisk until blended and drizzle over your salad or steamed veggies.
It is fantastic over yogurt, on a cheese and meat plate, as a condiment with roasted chicken, in your morning hot cereal, or as a dressing for salads and vegetables.
I love the color and flavor. It has a punch of twangy cranberry, the freshest citrus zest, and enough sweetness to balance the tart without being overly sweet. It is so good!
Gomasio is one of my favorite condiments made from sesame seeds and salt, often with other herbs and seaweed. It adds such a rich flavor without much salt. And for a family that doesn't eat a lot of packaged foods and uses sea salt exclusively, this also gives us iodine which is naturally found in the seaweed without any fishy flavor. It is just ... good. Every gomasio seems to have a different recipe - the variations are endless - but this is my standard go-to base recipe that I make and re-make often.
I like using dulse flakes in my gomasio. Dulse is a sea vegetable which has has iron, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, calcium, potassium, and a long list of other minerals. It adds so much healthy goodness without any seaweed smell.
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1 Tbsp dulse flakes
1 Tbsp hulled hemp seeds
1 tsp dried onion
1 tsp dried garlic
1 Tbsp dried holy basil/tulsi (optional)
1 Tbsp good salt (sea salt, himalayan pink salt, alaea hawaiian salt, fleur de sel, or a smoked flake salt ... just not refined white salt)
Start by toasting your sesame seeds in a dry pan on med-high. This only takes a short time - you are not cooking the seeds, just heating them to release their oils and aroma and toast lightly. Stir stir stir and remove from the heat and pour into a bowl before they start getting too dark.
Combine all of your ingredients and gently grind together. I find a large mortar and pestle works best. You can pulse *just a few times* in your food processor, but do not over do!! You don't want to make sesame paste. You don't want a powder. You want just all of the ingredients integrated and infused with each other so they don't separate. I usually take 3-5 minutes with a mortar and pestle to gently grind it all together.
Store in an air tight container - it fits perfectly in a 1/2 pint jelly jar, or put in a shaker. Sprinkle over eggs, steamed veggies, chicken, stew, soup (miso!), dips, salads, you name it. IT IS DELICIOUS!
While *more dulse* may sound like a great idea after reading about its benefits, don't. While iodine is something we all need and seaweed is common in a lot of Asian diets, it is in small amounts. Don't overdo it. This recipe has a low ratio for a reason!
I am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, organic gardener, plant conservationist, photographer, writer, designer, artist, nature lover, permaculture designer, health justice activist, whole foods maker, and mother of two unschooled teens in south central Wisconsin.