How to Eat a Kumquat

Paul and I went grocery shopping last night while Elizabeth went with my mother to a school play.  She made me a wonderful, colorfully illustrated list to take, which included cherries, for which she has been asking me for about a week now, as though they just popped into her brain and she can’t get them out again.

Well, cherries are hit or miss out of season in upstate NY and I did not find them, but I did find a box of kumquats (because they are so common…) and decided to pick them up as we have never eaten them before.  Today we pulled them out, looked up how to eat them, and then tried the little orange fruits.



I found a video online which gave us some directions: turns out that kumquats require little prep before eating, pretty much all you have to do is wash them.  Once washed you can just pop them into your mouth and eat them whole, rind and all.

Actually, the juice of the kumquats is sour – very sour, and it is highly recommended that you eat the rind because it is not sour, but sweet.  To release some of the sweet oils of the rind before you take your first bite, it is recommended that you roll the kumquat between your fingers while applying slight pressure.  Once rolled, just eat.

My kids couldn’t get past the sour taste, and boy is it sour!  But I like sour things, and somehow the sour followed by the sweetness of the rind washes the sour taste out, and once you swallow the kumquat, you are left with a pleasant sweetness in your mouth, the same flavor as the aroma of the oils released when you rolled the fruit in  your fingers. Because you are left with the pleasant aftertaste, you are therefore deceived into taking another, haha!  Actually, the incredibly tart sourness and the mellow sweetness that is somehow replaced thereafter reminds me of macrobiotics, and eating the kumquats makes me think that their oddly intense extremes in flavors probably have some very beneficial health affects.

According to, kumquats are full of good stuff, including fiber, flavonoid anti-oxidants, vitamin C, essential oils (which you help release when you roll them in your fingers), as well as B-complex vitamins, and minerals. Or if you want a roller coaster for your mouth, go ahead and pop a kumquat.  As well, if you just need something to ground you and bring you back into the present, the intense flavor that demands that you pay attention to it may help. So, if you enjoy interesting and powerful flavors or sour foods, I would recommend kumquats to you.

Share your thoughts: What has your experience been in trying kumquats?


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