In Season: Kumquats

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[Flickr: cbcastro]

Kumquats, Asian citrus fruits that resemble small oranges, are typically eaten whole. A sweet, juicy rind and a slightly sour center actually make the rind the more appealing part of the fruit. In season from November to March, kumquats are best when firm and bright orange in color; avoid those with a greenish tint as they are not yet fully ripe. Kumquats will keep at room temperature for up to three days, and they can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Go crazy for kumquats with recipes, tips, and info, after the jump.

There are many of varieties and hybrids of the kumquat; the Hong Kong, Marumi, Meiwa, and Nagami are the most significant. The Hong Kong variety is the most primitive as it is only found growing wild in southern China and is not commercially produced in the United States. A very small variety—a little larger than a pea—the Hong Kong is characterized by a thin orange or red peel with a small amount of flesh and only three or four very sour segments. The Marumi has a spicy aromatic orange-yellow peel and more flesh than the Hong Kong variety, with about seven slightly sour segments per fruit. The Meiwa kumquat is best for eating fresh with a very thick, sweet, orange peel and a less sour, ususally seedless flesh. The Nagami variety is the most commonly found in the United States, with a sweet rind and four or five large flesh segments. Take advantage of this delicious winter fruit and experiment with the kumquat in your kitchen. Below is a compilation of kumquat recipes to get you started.

Recipes