Late winter marks the arrival of one of the most unusual members of the citrus family, the kumquat. With the shape and size of an olive or grape but the color and overall appearance of a tiny orange, they're certainly unique to look at. They're also a bit of an acquired taste. Compared to the size of the fruit, the skin is quite thick and the seeds are fairly large. This is noteworthy, as kumquats are commonly eaten whole, skin and all.
Like most citrus, the peel is bitter. Like a lemon, the juice is sour. Like an orange, the flesh is sweet. Depending on the time of year and the ripeness of the fruit, the balance of these flavor components can vary widely, but at peak season, kumquats taste pleasantly sour with a bittersweet edge.
Though our favorite way to eat them is whole, we find that slicing kumquats into another dish, such as a salad, is a great way to balance their innately sour and bitter notes. They also make delicious candy. Our recipe for Candied Kumquats is very versatile.
Kumquats are available seasonally in the Produce Department.