When I ask people if they would like a Kumquat they look at me as if I have said something rude! A what? And I wonder why it is that the Kumquat has never gone mainstream? The most likely explanation is that for some mysterious reason, the rind is the sweet and tasty bit and the juicy fruit is sour! There is probably a metaphor somewhere there? Most often, the Kumquat is grown for its ornamental value. The small oval citrus fruits resemble miniature oranges and look wonderful hanging from the stems between the dark leathery foliage of the tree. They look great as standards and they produce seasonal periods of heady blossom fragrance, as do all members of the citrus family.
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Kumquats are frequently eaten raw. As the rind is sweet and the juicy centre is sour, the raw fruit is usually consumed either whole, to savour the contrast, or only the rind is eaten. The fruit is considered ripe when it reaches a yellowish-orange stage, and has just shed the last tint of green.
Culinary uses include: candying and kumquat preserves, marmalade, and jelly. Kumquats apear more commonly today as a martini garnish, replacing the classic olive (I wonder what Mr. 007 Bond would have to say about that?). They can also be sliced and added to salads. A liqueur can be made by macerating kumquats in vodka or other clear spirits. Delicious! Kumquats are a popular addition to both hot and iced tea. And how about creating a conversation point by placing a bowl of kumquats on your table at the next lunch party you host.