South Louisiana gets all citrusy this time of year, with a beautiful bounty of oranges, satsumas and even the occasional grapefruit. But one particular citrus fruit always seems to get short shrift: kumquats. Plenty of us grow kumquats, but you just don’t hear as much enthusiasm for the fruit as you do for its cousins. Its natural tartness can be off-putting to some, as well as the requirement to eat it whole, skin and all. And then there are the seeds …
Maybe it’s because we inherited a couple of large backyard kumquat bushes that I have come to love this weird little fruit. My husband I and both make a beeline for the bushes when we arrive home, popping ripe kumquats into our mouths before entering the house. We have so much fruit during the winter, it’s forced me to get creative so the bounty doesn’t die on the vine. I don’t have time for canning or preserving, but I have found that taking time to simply puree a few cups of sliced and seeded kumquats yields lots of possibilities. It’s a great base for smoothies, quick breads and sorbets. It’s also really easy to candy them for use in sweet and savory dishes. All it takes is simmering kumquat slices in simple syrup.
Kumquats are also good for you. Packed with vitamins C and A, they’re full of cancer-fighting antioxidants. And they’re a beautiful additional to flower arrangements, holiday table decorations or as a garnish on a roast turkey platter or charcuterie board.
So get creative with kumquats this year, and let us know about your favorite uses in the comments.
Maggie Heyn Richardson is a regular 225 contributor. Reach her at hungryforlouisiana.com.