New Food Friday: Kumquats

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After some feedback from readers on my pomegranate post, I’ve decided to start a series of blog posts that focus on interesting, in-season and/or new-to-me ingredients. I’m calling it “New Food Friday” and in each post, I’ll tell you a little about where and how to buy the food, how to prepare it, and what it tastes like or could be used for. (I’m also planning some companion blog posts where I’ll share recipes for using the New Food.)

This builds off of a little game I like to play in the grocery store sometimes. I’ll set a budget for myself–say, $3–and then explore until I find something in that budget that I’ve never tried or have never cooked with. (Or that I haven’t tried recently. This is how I found out that I like kiwi as an adult when I hated them as a kid.) Sometimes that’s a new condiment. Sometimes it’s a variety of cheese. Often it’s a new fruit or vegetable. Then I take it home and figure out what to do with it!

I hope you’ll enjoy learning about some of these foods along with me! And I’m open to suggestions. Leave a comment if there’s something you’d like to see or learn more about!

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New Food Friday: Kumquats

What it is: Kumquats are small citrus fruits the size of large grapes, only about 1-2 inches in diameter. The entire fruit is edible raw, but they typically contain seeds that are about the size of those inside an orange. Kumquats come in both round and oval varieties.

What it tastes like: A citrus fruit that is slightly crunchy with a sweet zest (thanks to the essential oils in the peel) and tart interior. To me it tastes like a cross between a lemon and and orange.

Where and when to find it: Find them in the produce section of your local grocery store, in season November through March in the United States. I found them in 1-pint clamshells like this but you may also see them loose:

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How to buy it: Look for mostly orange kumquats that are firm and undamaged.

How to store it: Kumquats are ripe when they turn orange, so if yours are a bit green just leave them out at room temperature for a few days. Once ripe, store them in the refrigerator.

How to prepare it: The best part about kumquats is that you don’t have to peel them! Simply remove any stems and wash, and you’re good to go. I soaked mine for about a minute in a mixture of 1/2 cup white vinegar to 4 cups of water, then rinsed and dried. Roll them between your fingers before eating or slicing to release the essential oils and bring out the sweetness.

What I did with it:

  • Ate them whole. My least favorite thing about citrus fruits is peeling them, so this felt like a wonderful luxury.
  • Used them as a yogurt topping with a little bit of honey. The addition of a little cinnamon and ginger worked well with the kumquat flavor.
  • Used them in oatmeal. Come back on Monday for the recipe!

The verdict: It turns out I really love kumquats! I’ll be looking for more excuses to use them throughout the winter.

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