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Haven’t you ever had one of those days when you couldn’t stop thinking about what you were going to do with all the kumquats you had in the refrigerator? Considering which of your grandmother’s kumquat recipes you wanted to make? Probably not …

But what about the times when you’re at the grocery store and wonder what exactly is a kumquat … and they’re right in front of you (in one of Trader Joe’s clear plastic pint boxes) … and you’re bright enough to know that they’re related to oranges and lemons… but you’re still in the dark. You’re curious about who buys them, because it isn’t anyone you know.

… W.C Fields knew that there was something funny about kumquats. Mention them and people are at a loss.

Don’t fret, or as they say in citrus circles don’t make a pomelo out of a kumquat.  They probably don’t actually say that…

Kumquats, like the Earth girls (in the movie with Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum when they were young and married) are easy.

I think of Kumquats as nature’s prequel to SweeTarts. The skins are sweet, and the not-that-juicy insides are tart. If you pop one in your mouth and chew vigorously you get the desired effect. Don’t chew like a nervous little mouse. You need to get some molar action and grind the peel to appreciate the sweetness. If you don’t give it a bit of a vigorous chew don’t blame me if you don’t become a fan.

Kumquat Infused Vodka

Kumquat Infused Vodka

 

To be honest, I don’t eat whole kumquats all that often. I buy them all the time, and use them to perk up food and drink. Here are 5 ways to use kumquats:

Make your own infused vodka – 1

Kumquat Infused Vodka is a two-ingredient recipe. If you click on the link you’ll see 3 ingredients, but only two end up in the actual recipe. The kumquats go into boiling water for 30 seconds to 1) clean the living daylights out of them since the skin stays on, and 2) because the quick exposure to hot water makes them release more flavor into the vodka. Thin slices get the maximum sweet-tart combination. If you’re not into sour/tart, put whole kumquats into the vodka, but score them in several places with a sharp knife to expose the oils inside the skin to the alcohol.

Garnish martinis with tasty style – 2

Thinly sliced kumquats are like lemon twists on steroids.

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Make Kumquat Syrup – 3

Water and sugar make simple syrup. Add chopped kumquats, a little salt, and a few whole cloves and you’ve got a whole new way to perk up pancakes and French toast. Splash a little into a cocktail. If you put something sweet into your Manhattan, try a dash of Kumquat Syrup instead. For dessert, slice and grill pound cake and then drizzle with a little of the syrup.

Treat your salad to Kumquat Vinaigrette – 4

Two types of salads benefit most from Kumquat Vinaigrette. If the basic salad ingredients are all neutral – such as romaine + jicama + carrots – this is a dressing that perks things up. On the other hand, if the ingredients are robust and seem to compete for dominance – such as arugula (or dandelion greens) + radishes + red onion – the Kumquat Vinaigrette brings all the flavors together with its firm embrace.

Add one or two kumquats to a smoothie – 5

One little kumquat has 13% of your RDA of vitamin C. If you’re in the doldrums of a week and stuck with nothing but bananas and apples (or lackluster strawberries) to make your morning smoothies , a couple of kumquats will add some zip. You can even freeze kumquats so you’ve got some on hand for future smoothie malaise. If they’re small freeze them whole. If they’re on the big side halve them before freezing so they’re easier on your blender.

Will kumquats change your life? Unlikely. But my little chickadee, they are a nice change of taste.

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In case you’re wondering – this is a pomelo – it can weigh in at 2 to 4 pounds.

pomelo - 1 whole