A kumquat is one of those things that I always admire at the produce section of the supermarket but never buy. I love the burst of sweet-and-sour-with-a-spicy-kick goodness that this tiny citrus fruit with the beautiful shiny orange skin adds to almost anything. But a part of me doesn't want to cook with it — maybe I'm afraid the novelty will wear off.
If you do decide to bring kumquats into your kitchen, you'll find that they're pretty versatile. You can eat them raw, cooked, candied, pickled, or as a marmalade. Even just tossing a few peels of the rind can add a ton of flavor to anything. They also last a few weeks in the fridge, so you'll have some time to contemplate and experiment — but you better get them quick because they're a mid-winter fruit, and spring is just around the corner. My favorite rendition of kumquat was on white fish, sea bass it might have been, at some fancy restaurant in San Francisco. So tasty.
Kumquats are full of vitamin C and potassium; in Japan, it is called kinkan, also the name of a popular over-the-counter drug brand that makes remedies for sore muscles, sore throat, and mosquito bites.
Kumquats were originally found in China, but have made their way to Japan, Europe, and North America; Dade City, Florida even has a Kumquat Festival every winter to celebrate its harvest.
Every installment of Taste Test will explore recipes, the science, and some history behind a specific food item.
Image via Miss Meister's Flickr