Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What does eating a kumquat look like?

How to eat a kumquat
Have you eaten a kumquat? You really should. They're one of my most favoritist of fruits. But they're a cross of pleasure and pain. Tart and sweet. Bitey and delectable. Chewy and punches of flavor. Kumquats are those eency weency tiny little wee bit o' orange fruits. Teencier than tangerines. Zwergs.

Kumquat trees are cute and small, too. They're like the Gary Coleman of citrus. Without the Whatcha talkin' about Willis. And the weirdest part? You eat them whole. Peel and all. Actually, it's the peel that makes them palatable.

How to eat a kumquat: Put in mouth and chew chew chew. Don't wait and around and savor the flavor. Don't roll it around on your tongue and see what flavor emerges next. No. Just chew the shit out of it until the citrus tang-pang-pain breaks through to juicy fruit essence of sweet yum and you've made it. Phew.

This is what it looks like as you work your way through the kumquat chew cycle:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Wait, there's more! Happy Chinese New Year! Kumquats are a traditional fruit to give as good luck at the Chinese New Year. Kumquats symbolize prosperity and make a great gift this time of year.

I wish I could grow kumquats here in Portland. Then I could have an abundant crop and make things with them like kumquat preserves or marmalade, or mash them up with vodka and make a crazy mad infusion. And then there's always the kumquat-ginger-caipirinha, made with cachaca, ginger, superfine sugar and kumquats. Holy moly. I really should make this...

2 oz cachaça
5 kumquats, sliced
1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp superfine sugar
1 tsp chopped, fresh ginger

slice of kumquat for garnish

Place the kumquats, ginger and sugar into an old-fashioned glass.
Muddle well.
Fill the glass with ice, then add the cachaça.
Stir well or shake it.
Garnish with a slice of kumquat.

Whether or not you eat kumquats au natural, or in a decadent drink as described above, you need to have a kumquat or two at least once in your lifetime. And now's the time of year. Hop to. And happy new year!


Tim D. Roth said...

Lindsey and I purchased a kumquat tree from Cornell Farms some time ago, so in theory they can be grown in Portland, just not at the significant-harvest level. We've made some awful tasty jungle juice with them for the occasional party. Love those kumquats.

Ali and Evan said...

Damn that animation is simply fantastic. We will be out shopping for kumquats tomorrow!

Samuel John Klein said...

You know, that's quite brave of you. Not everyone has the guts to put even still of themselves masticating on the intermets, and you did an animation!

BTW, you're still a heck of a food stylist. Your pictures are quite appetizing.

Syd said...

I like the animation too. Very cute.

purpletwinkie said...

I so love kumquats and thanks to you (and technology), I now know how to eat one! Thanks Lelo in Nopo!

Anonymous said...

J turned my on to kumquats last spring. I was, of course, skeptical - but they are sooooo yummy and bright and alive with flavor.

I'm still not sold on foreign sauces or thai food.

Kathryn said...

Will you be bringing kumquats to the party on Saturday???

Rozanne said...

Love kumquats! Love this post! And most of all--love the animation!!!! Is that an old-skool animated GIF? If so, that's an excellent use of the "technology."

You perfectly capture the experience in your expressions!

I need to go out and get some kumquats today!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow...Adreanne would love these, I have to get me some.

Anonymous said...

saveur is running a good read about these treats.

Anonymous said...

What about kiwi?

Damn, I love kumquats, I'm going to put them on the grocery list right now. Cute animation. You're quite animated!

Karolcooks said...

Whenever I see you, I think of hot green chiles. Love it.

A Lewis said...

Would you believe this guy, who just happens to be halfway through his life, has never tried one of these little goodies? Time is of the essence!

LeLo said...

Tim-I've attempted to grow citrus indoors here in Portland and have failed miserably. You two must have the special touch! And patience!

Ali & Evan-I'll be watching for kumquat ice cream!

Samuel John K-What can I say? Nice use of the word masticating.


Purpletwinkie-Technology is an amazing thing, isn't it?

RadioGretchen-What about a kumquat sauce?

RSG-Great idea!

Rozanne-Yes, that there is an animated GIF. Good eye you have there!

Anon-Yes she would, and you would too.

Anon2-The Saveur story is lovely! Thank you for that link.

Wacky mommy-Kiwi is good. It's sweet, though, and not really a citrus, is it?
I once lived in a major kiwi growing area. They're yummy.

Karol-I have no idea why, but okay!

Lewis-You need to. Trust me. You'll either love them, or hate them. Report back.

Monogram Queen said...

Happy Belated Valentines Day Lelo & AdRi!

I don't think I want to try a kumquat but I like the name. I also LOVE your gingham shirt. I am a sucker for gingham.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I've never had a kumquat before. Maybe I thought it was a made up thing. Like the ugli fruit.

Or apples.

Known Alias: Ingrid Tuesday said...

I don't think I've ever even seen a kumquat before. They are tiny! Like those little mini kiwis! (I think they're called wikis?)

Also, I think I'm in love with your kitchen.

Coffee and Vanilla said...


I'm hosting AFAM - kumquats this month, today is the last day and I would love to have this recipe as your entry.


Thank you, Margot

Coffee and Vanilla said...


Just a short note to let you know that April's AFAM (Kumquats) round-up is now online:



Anonymous said...

Kumquats become ripe-ish around January where I'm from (SoCal) and we'd climb up the trees outside the Santa Barbara Library to get the more ripier ones from the high branches. If you eat them too early they are even more tart. They rival the most tart thing I've ever put in my mouth which was a pickled lemon. Why a person would pickle a lemon, I don't know, but I now just heed the words of Trini Lopez who tells us that the lemon tree is very pretty, the lemon flower is sweet, but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.