2.20.2010

How to Eat and Prepare Kumquats


Kumquats are beautiful little jewels of the citrus family.  I came across a basketful of these guys in my local co-op,  $7.79 a pound for organic Florida kumquats.  A steep price but a handful goes a long way.  We enjoyed them sliced into a green salad with lemon poppy seed dressing. 

Kumquats take me back to working in Savannah for a locally owned garden center.  We sold kumquats trees.  They always sold better with fruit on them.  So I made a rule that I could eat one kumquat a day until the little trees each had ten fruit, then I had to stop.  I would wait until all the watering was done and the Georgia sun was strong before picking my one kumquat and enjoying it with a glass of iced tea.  Not sweet tea mind you, I never could drink the stuff.  Maybe if I'd lived down south for more than a year. 

How to Eat a Kumquat: 
Mary Ann, the manager of the garden center in Savannah, showed me how to eat the kumquat fruit.  First roll the fruit back and forth between your fingers with enough force to squeeze the fruit.  This releases the oil in the skin, and it will look shiny.  The oil has a sweet citrus smell and taste.  If the kumquat isn't rolled the peal tastes bitter.

Then just bite into the fruit skin and all.   The inside is juicy like a tangerine and the skin is tender enough to eat.

When serving the kumquat as a garnish or in a salad it is often sliced into rings.  Be sure to roll the fruit before cutting.

If you are lucky enough to have access to lots of kumquats or have the good fortune of a whole tree, there are many sweet and savory ways to enjoy your fruits:

7 comments:

  1. Fascinating. I always wondered how the heck to eat those things.
    Now: quiz - how do you eat loquats? We have tons of those trees growing around here, i have a friend who makes jam, but we all know that means 'mostly sugar.' Any suggestions?

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  2. I adore kumquats. Had them for the first time over at some friends' for dinner about a year ago. They are amazing thinly sliced in salads. Some of the recipes linked here with kumquats look so good too.

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  3. wow...they sound excellent...kumquat upside down cake link in your blog is fascinating

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  4. Miranda - I have no idea about loquats! We didn't sell them at the nursery. They must be really sour. My thought would be to combine them with a naturally sweet fruit like strawberries, apples or pears. Loquat marmalade? No idea, tell me if you think of something good.

    Arugulove and Trendsetters - I agree some of those recipes look awesome. I'm wishing the kumquats weren't so expensive or so far away. That Kumquat Upside Down Cake does look amazing. Great photos.

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  5. Those little guys are adorable! Are they like clementines in taste?

    We buy clementines here and eat them in salads sometimes too. I've never tried the skin, though.

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  6. We just bought an Indio Mandarinquat tree which has fruits very similar to the Kumquat. We just had 3 flowers, and now there are 3 little fruits just starting to swell. Exciting! Thanks for the recipe ideas!

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  7. Anonymous3/13/2012

    Jasmine - I think they're similar to Clementines in taste, but more tart on the inside. You should definitely give em a try! Just don't forget to squeeze those oils out, cuz if you don't, it'll taste like you're eating a Clementine with the skin on.

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