Chinese Salted Kumquat Recipe

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Many people candy the kumquat — or if you’re Chinese, you may have had it dried or salted.

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One of my Mom’s favorite remedies for sore throat is salted, preserved kumquat mixed in hot water and a little honey. Basically, it’s just like making Moroccan preserved lemons, but with kumquat. The kumquat is kept whole, but squashed or cut slightly to expose the insides (so that salt can seep in). In a large mason jar, add alternate layers of kumquat and salt until you’ve filled the jar. Cover and let sit for a few days to a month. Refrigerate.

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You can keep this Chinese sore throat remedy for the next time you are sick – just add a couple of kumquats to your mug, mash them with a fork and fill with hot water. Swirl in a bit of honey.

So why does this work? Find out in the video where I talk with my parents!

Chinese Salted Kumquat Recipe Video



Chinese Salted Kumquat

Servings: 10 or more Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time:
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Mason Jar
Kumquats, enough to fully smush into the jar
Kosher Salt, enough to fill in all the cracks
For the Salted Kumquat Tea


STEP 1: In a mason jar, add alternating layers of kumquat and salt until the jar is completely filled and the kumquats are somewhat smushed tightly inside. Cover and refrigerate indefinitely, but at least for 2 weeks.

STEP 2: Make tea from the kumquats mixture to help heal a sore throat. In a glass, add 2-3 salted kumquats, some of the salt mixture, hot water and honey until it is drinkable. Choke it down. Feel better.

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Comments 17

  1. Candice

    OMG! I love salted kumquat. It works wonders when I have a sore throat. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you why it works either. It’s just something my grandmother and parents passed on to me.

  2. Wendy

    Thanks for sharing. I like the kumquat in salt remedy. I am going to have to try this. Though I am not wishing any sickness on me. My mother always said just gargle with salt water.

    Your parents are so sweet and your hair cut look great. Hope you are all feeling better.

  3. Gum Kau

    I’m Chinese and I’ve never heard of this! Chinese fail. πŸ™‚
    Your parents are so cute, I think you need to include them more on your blog. πŸ™‚

  4. Amy uae

    just thinking from what I know from nursing and learned when talked about gargling salt water for sore throat, I was told that it is because the solution is hypertonic. With all the salt, and maybe from the concentration of fruit sugars from the pickling, it acts like a sponge. Because of the osmotic principle, the water from the germs in your throat will want to flow into the salty particles to evenly distribute the water, but in effect it makes them shrink and they will become unable to adhere.

    Here is a little info on gargling salt water:

    And kumquat nutritional value:

    It does have some vitamin C. I am not Chinese, and have not been to China.. but I would guess it was kumquats because they were readily available? And maybe people could just plop one in their mouth and suck on it because they’re about that size.

    Just my thought πŸ™‚ Feel Better!

  5. J. Brinly

    Never heard of this remedy…..interesting….one week too late for me….I lived 5 years in Mainland China….we used the Asian Pear steamed with a little rock sugar and then mashed…with the syrup….also something called called Pang Da Hai (?sp.) for lose of voice….we swore by that….I am thinking it is seaweed or the root from something from the ocean…do you know? are you from Hong Kong perhaps? I have a book with Chinese food healthy recipes …..problem being I am not Chinese….but have great respect for their knowledge.

  6. Yvonne

    This reminds me of something that someone brouight back from Hawaii years ago and I think it was called “Bak Fa Ning Mong”, used for sore throat. It was also very dark in color, so it makes me believe it was kept longer than two weeks and I wonder if it was lemons and not kumquats. It was so long ago, I don’t remember anymore!

  7. Shashi @ RunninSrilankan

    Even my mom doesn’t know why some traditional Sri Lankan remedies work – but they sure do!
    I haven’t tried salted kumquat before – for sore throats and colds my mom fed us “rasam” made with tamarind, spices and lemons-it looked like sewer water, but it did smell good!
    Thanks so much for sharing this Chinese remedy, Jaden

  8. Natalie

    I lived in Japan and found a wonderful citron tea orig. from Korea made of any type of citron plus honey. Looks like a marmalade that you add to water and drink. Citrons are high in Vit C and honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. My mom always told me to gargle with warm salt water to reduce swelling in the throat and loosen mucus which contains bacteria.

  9. JoAnne

    I just watched your video and that phone call was hilarious!!! When I was little & had a sore throat (we’re Chinese), my mom would have us suck on “sour balls” (that’s what we called them). They’re actually salted dried plums. They’re really salty and hard and have a pit in the middle. It always worked. Now that I have my own kids, I have them suck on those “sour balls” now. You video reminded me of my childhood.

  10. DCook

    I think its probably the salt killing the germs, like the comment from the nurse. But, there is another fruit related to the kumquat called Loquat. If you can get to chinese herb store you can find Honey Loquat syrup. Add it to tea and it will help with a cough. I was skeptical but it worked for me. Why does it work? Don’t know. πŸ™‚

  11. sALLY oH

    I come from Singapore and that is what we use for sore throat (Preserved Kumquats are readily available). Since living in San Francisco, I use Meyer lemons and it has worked well.

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