Posted by: ktzefr | February 6, 2017

Krazy for Kumquats

Kumquats are ripe!

Kumquats; Photo:KFawcett

Kumquats; Photo:KFawcett

“For however many kumquats that I eat

I’m not sure if it’s flesh or rind that’s sweet,

And being a man of doubt at life’s mid-way

I’d offer Keats some kumquats and I’d say:

You’ll find that one part’s sweet and one part’s tart:

Say where the sweetness or the sourness start.”

~ from “A Kumquat for John Keats” by Tony Harrison


Kumquats are like inside-out oranges — sweet rind, tart flesh.  But they are bite-sized like grapes.  Eat the whole fruit — seeds and all.  But don’t buy green or yellow fruit!  Ripe kumquats are brilliant orange. Their color symbolizes wealth, and they are a traditional gift for the Lunar New Year in China. 

teaspoonThe first time I bought raw kumquats I treated them like little oranges and meticulously peeled away the rind and removed the seeds.  I was left with a small blob of sour pulp that was not the least bit appetizing.  Adding an inordinate amount of sugar didn’t help.  The fruit concoction was tasteless. 

How one should eat a fruit is sometimes the most important thing to learn.  I grew up eating apples and oranges and bananas, but I have since learned how to scoop out the insides of a pitaya, a zapote, or a passion fruit, and that a ripe cherimoya can be broken apart by hand, and that all mango species were not created equal.  Picking the right fruit at the right time and knowing how to eat it properly makes all the difference.

Decades ago I bought a jar of preserved kumquats for a recipe called Hong Kong Sundaes.  I’m not sure what happened to the recipe, but I played around with it over the years and still make a variation with a number of different fresh fruits.  (Cook ripe kumquats until they soften a bit in a simple sugar syrup, and then add brown sugar and butter.  Turn off the heat and add some Grand Marnier.  Serve warm over a slice of pound cake and a dollop of vanilla ice cream.  Amazing!)

chile The wonderful, sweet little fruits pictured above are Frieda’s Adorable Kumquats. 




  1. Kudos to your determination to peel the kumquats! LOL We’re happy you’ve found us and are now enjoying the inside-out oranges. 🙂

    • Yes! I love the kiwi berries, too. By the time I discovered them I knew the little gems weren’t supposed to be peeled. 🙂

  2. So good, I love those little guys. 🙂

    • Yes…omproject. Try the little kiwi berries if you haven’t had them. Yummy.

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