Because those enticing orange piles rarely include instructions, how to eat a kumquat is a question many of us face from time to time. If you do a bit of head-scratching yourself around such piles, you'll be happy to hear that eating the fruits couldn’t be easier or more pleasant.
Yes, you read that correctly: some people simply eat them like grapes, popping the entire (thoroughly washed) kumquat into their mouths and crunching them up...although generally spitting out the seeds. [If you cut them in half beforehand, however, you can remove most of the seeds.]
Either version of the "grape approach" is certainly the easiest way to go: right down the hatch. By first rolling the kumquat with your fingers or between your palms for a bit, however, you'll help it release its aromatic oils and "mellow" the whole experience.
Otherwise, your mouth could feel a bit puckery afterward. Please note, as well, that you could find the insides somewhat pithy—which is why I take an alternate route myself.
Here's the way I prefer to eat a kumquat myself. First, cut it in half lengthwise. Then scoop out the fibrous center, all of it, and eat only the peel. That’s right: just trash the insides entirely unless you can think of a creative way to use them, which is by no means impossible.
For example, marmalade or jam could work, especially if you mix in part of an orange. Or try this recipe; its photographs alone inspired me to try it, nor was I disappointed by the results.
But about that peel—does it really taste okay? Way more than
okay, my friend: in fact, totally amazing. My best shot at describing it
would be as the distilled essence of an orange, with some zest mixed
in, and then multiplied about a gazillion times. Biting into a kumquat
is like setting off a tiny flavor explosion in your mouth.
Eat them on their own, slice or chop them (with or without their insides) to toss into salads or sprinkle over desserts, glaze them—they're delicious all ways. More good news: they keep very well in the refrigerator. But don’t let them languish in there too long, because they're way too good to waste.
BTW: in North America (where I hang out), you can often find kumquats between November and March, depending upon your location. If you've never tried these orange dynamos, give yourself a treat and gobble one down—now that you actually know how to eat it!
Living Vegetarian the Easy Way
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