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!
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 boys in south central Wisconsin.