The Not-So-Humble Kumquat

Fruits of the Oval Kumquat, Fortunella japonic...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The kumquat. It sits in your grocer’s produce section, usually hiding in a little bin somewhere near the organic plantains and the little lime and lemon juice bottles shaped like their namesakes. It’s tiny, a little bigger than your average genetically enhanced grape, and orange—and you’d never guess what’s inside.

We bought a handful of them to see what they were like. We weren’t sure how to eat them at first, so I cut the rind off the first one, and we ate it. POW! We were hit with a kick-you-in-the-teeth-and-smash-your-face-with-a-brick sour flavor. It’s an understatement to say that it was tart. It was incredibly cheek-puckering. What a punch this quiet, demure looking little fruit packs.

But it was awesome! It wasn’t just sour, like sour-patch-kid candy. It had flavor, and lots of it. And once I finally looked up just what to do with this little kumquat it got even better. Turns out, you’re supposed to leave the rind on and eat the whole thing like a grape. The rind helped mellow the sour out a bit and added a sweet (but not too sweet), floral dimension to it. It’s the only fruit I’ve ever eaten that had several different flavors that all come out at different times. It’s quite the experience!

I sliced a couple up and put them in a salad (the lettuce was from my garden! Yay!) along with sliced strawberries and fresh-cut chives from my herb garden. Topped it off with some raspberry vinaigrette and it was delicious! I think the kumquat will be making more appearances in my household.

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