Seasonal Spotlight: Kumquats

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If you're fortunate to live in a citrus growing area or have your very own kumquat tree, now might be the season to enjoy these little winter jewels. While harvest may range between December and June, in many areas kumquats are at their peak in February and March.

Originally from China, kumquats have been cultivated in other Asian countries and throughout the world. In the US, most kumquats are grown in California, Florida, and Texas. The two most common varieties are the oval Nagami kumquats and the round, slightly sweeter Marumi kumquats.

The fruits may be small, but they pack quite a punch. Eaten peel and all, kumquats are sweet on the outside and piercingly tart on the inside. They can be eaten raw (try them in salads), candied, made into jams and relishes, added to drinks, and cooked. Cooking kumquats mellows the acidity a bit, and they can brighten up savory tofu, meat, and seafood dishes. They also work particularly well in dishes with rich spices like ginger, cinnamon, or star anise.

When shopping, choose fruits that are bright orange, firm, and fragrant. Store kumquats at room temperature for a few days or in a bag in the refrigerator for up to a couple of weeks.

Recipes:
Bittersweet Baking Winner! Candied Kumquat & Bittersweet Chocolate Cherry Mini Galettes
Cocktail Recipes from Rye: Santiago Sun
Dark Chocolate Mousse with Sugared Kumquats

Candied Kumquats, from Chez Pim
Kumquat and Pinenut Lamb Stew, Little Polenta Cake, from Chocolate & Zucchini
Kumquat Salsa, from Simply Recipes
Kumquat Tea, from White on Rice Couple
Kumquat Vanilla Marmalade, from Lelo in Nopo
Nutty Pear Kumquat Chutney, from Cooking from A to Z

(Image: Flickr member LaoWei Kevin licensed under Creative Commons)

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Emily Ho is a Los Angeles-based writer, recipe developer, and educator on topics such as food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. She is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and Food Swap Network. Learn more at Roots & Marvel

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