Kumquats are little like the quails of the citrus world. They are tiny, extremely well-formed, but still, no-one is quite sure why they exist.
Now you might think there is no point to these tiny orange citrus fruit, as they yield almost no juice. Yet, it has to be remembered that although a kumquat isn’t much bigger than a grape, this bite-sized fruit can fill your drink with a big burst of sweet-tart citrus flavour.
Kumquats have an amazing flavour profile that sits somewhere between a lime and a tangerine. These characteristics can be extracted and enjoyed in cocktails in several other ways that don’t involve juicing.
The most common technique is to muddle the fruit; another is to cook the fruit into marmalade or alternatively you might look at quartering your kumquats and making them into a Kumquat Syrup.
In Chinese, kumquat means “golden orange”, so it won’t be surprising to mention that they were originally grown in China.
In contrast with other citrus fruits, the peel of the kumquat is sweet and edible, while the juicy flesh is tart.
When selecting kumquats, give them a gentle squeeze to find ones that are plump and firm. Choose fruits that are orange in colour, not green (which could mean they’re unripe). Pass up any with soft spots or discoloured skin.
Once you get them home, refrigerate the fruits for up to two weeks. If you store them on your countertop, they’ll only keep a few days.
It may also help to gently roll the fruit between your fingers before use. This helps release the essential oils in the peel and mixes the flavours of the sweet peel and tart flesh.
The vitamin C and plant compounds in kumquats can help support your immune system. Some of these may even help protect against obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers, though more human research is needed.
And remember when you eat the peel, you can tap into the rich stores of antioxidants and other plant compounds found there, so these are really the best in. Sustainable citrus.