By 19 co-authors
Choose ripe kumquats. Ripe kumquats range from bright orange to yellow-orange. Stay away from greenish, unripe fruits .The skin should be nice and firm, free of blemishes or shriveled areas.
Wash and dry the fruit. No matter where you got the kumquat, rub the peel under cool, running water. Since the peel is edible, you don't want any traces of pesticides or dirt on the surface. Pat the fruit dry with a paper towel.
Rub the kumquat (optional). Some say that rubbing or squeezing the fruit between your fingers helps it release the sweet, citrus-like scent of the rind.
Remove the seeds (optional). The seeds are not poisonous, but they have the same bitter taste as orange seeds. If you're feeling dainty, slice the kumquat in half and pluck out the seeds. You can easily spit the seeds out as you eat instead, or even chew them up if you don't mind the flavor.
Eat the kumquat. Unusually, kumquats have a sweet rind and sour flesh. Nibble the end of the kumquat to taste the rind first. Once you encounter the mouth-puckering juice, you can either keep nibbling cautiously, or pop the whole fruit in your mouth. If you can stand it, the explosive wedding ceremony between tart and sweet is unique in the fruit world.
Store extra kumquats. Kumquats will last for about two days at room temperature, or about two weeks in an airtight, refrigerated container. You can eat them cold from the fridge or let them warm up first, whichever you prefer.
Slice and add to salads. Their intense flavor makes kumquat a good pairing for bitter or peppery greens, such as endive or arugula. Slice into thin rounds with a sharp knife. Remove the seeds, then layer the slices on top of the salad to show off the color.
Make kumquat marmalade. Kumquat marmalade is much sweeter and less bitter than regular marmalade. The recipe is similar to most marmalades or jams.
Pickle the kumquats. Pickling takes at least three days, but the result is quite unique. This particular recipe keeps some of the kumquat's sweet flavor.
Add the kumquat to meat dishes. The acidic kumquat adds a nice flavor to lamb and poultry dishes. Add it 30 minutes before the meat is done braising or simmering. Seafood pairs especially well with kumquat, but it doesn't need to marinate in it. Add the fruit at the last minute instead, either as a garnish or blended in a vinaigrette.
Infuse vodka with kumquat flavor. Wash plenty of kumquats and cut them in half — at least 10 fruits per cup (240mL) of vodka. Cover with vodka and let sit in a cool, dark place, shaking once a day. It should pick up a faint taste after a couple days, a strong taste after a week or two, and steadily continue to infuse for many weeks or months.
Stew kumquats. In the United States, the first appearance of kumquats coincides with Thanksgiving preparations. Take advantage of this to add pizazz to your holiday cranberry sauce, or use the same basic approach to make chutneys and desserts:
Freeze the rinds into cups. Cut large kumquats in half horizontally. Scoop out the sour, juicy flesh with a narrow teaspoon or grapefruit spoon, and add it to smoothies, fruit salad or ice cream. Freeze the hollow rinds in airtight containers, then use the rinds to hold sorbet or other desserts.