Kumquats are a cute little orange citrus fruit, about the size of a really big olive, that is native to South Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. They have been cultivated in China Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia for quite some time. In Cantonese “gām-gwāt 金橘” literally means “golden orange” or golden tangerine.
So, you may be wondering, what in the heck do they taste like?
I tried some a couple weeks ago and liked them so much I bought more. This is what it is like to eat them.
Imagine a very small orange with a rind that isn’t bitter, is thin, and tastes sweet. Imagine that the fruit inside tastes like a cross between a lime and a lemon.
Originally, I didn’t know any of this. Then one morning I went into my local Albertsons (the upscale one) and saw a wonderful golden pile of tiny fruits in the produce section. The pricetag was rather high, so I only bought a few. But I HAD TO KNOW the secret of the mighty kumquat. It couldn’t just be a fun-to-pronounce name.
When she was putting groceries away, the spouse looked at my little bag of orange goodness and said “what? kumquats?” However, she knows how I like trying new things and thew\se were right up my alley. I read up on them online and prepared to make my experiment.
When you bite into this fruit you have an initial impression of sour juiciness, but as you chew, the sweetness of the rind mingles with that sourness and makes a very nice flavor that is more complex than that of most oranges.
They also have a light, delicate scent, and are a little better if you roll them between your palms before eating them, to release the fragrant oils.
I would always eat a kumquat whole, or at most, sliced in half. Cutting them up small would be an issue. Though, I might not mind making marmalade with kumquat rind instead of orange zest – that might be quite good!
The best kumquats are bright orange with a glossy, blemish free skin.
If you like, here is more information on this amazing fruit!