Kumquat from Corsica

Kumquat Corse

[Kumquat from Corsica]

I wrote a little ode to the Corsican clementine last winter, but it turns out one shouldn’t flatter a citrus too much, lest it rest on its laurels and the following year’s crop be a disappointment.

All was not lost, however, on the citrus front: the maltaise orange from Tunisia was honey sweet and remarkably juicy, and a recent visit to the organic market turned up this novelty, at least to me: kumquats from Corsica, bright orange marbles that glowed like miniature lightbulbs.

I’d bought fine specimens earlier in the season, but these belong to a different variety, rounder in shape and even tastier.

If you can get past the multiple seeds — there can be five or six packed in there, probably driving one another batty — the reward is a chewy, juicy and all-natural sourball, so sweet and acidulated you may indeed pop them like candy.

The citrus season is drawing to a close and I don’t know how much longer these will be available, but on the off chance that you visit the Batignolles market tomorrow morning, you will find them at the produce stall that’s the second to last on your right when you’re coming from the Rome metro station.

  • I’m a kumquat fanatic, I have some sitting in a dish in my kitchen and a batch of kumquats in syrup in my fridge. Unfortunately, the ones we get here don’t look half as good as the fine specimen you have. I’m going to hop in my teleporter now and arrive somewhere near the Rome métro station. Let’s hope I don’t knock anybody down.

  • Love kumquats.
    Hint – If you have a moderate climate and a terrace you can grow them in a medium large pot. A little bushy tree about 4 or 5 feet tall will have loads of kumquats.

  • elisabeth oliviere

    If you quarter kumquats lengthwise, you can get all of the seeds out. Quartered kumquats are truly wonderful in salads, they are in my lunchbox salad at least three days a week during their season, which is thankfully long here in San Francisco.

  • Maya

    Hi Clotilde,

    I discovered kumquats for this first time this winter myself. The ones I can get here (Palo Alto, CA) are the oval-shaped variety, not your lovely round Corsican ones. Gosh they’re good — juicy, full of flavor, pleasantly bitter skin, just wonderful. I’ve been eating them fresh, but I just found this fantastic collection of kumquat desserts at Nordljus.

    Gorgeous. I may have to give some of her pastries a try. Thought you might like the tip!

  • eleyne

    The seeds are edible, which is a good thing, given how many of them there are. Coincidentally, I’ve been using your yogurt scone recipe for a couple of years now, and they go fabulously with kumquats, quartered and then thinly sliced, and chocolate mixed in. That’s the current house favorite- at least, that and passionfruit.

  • mmm making my mouth water, mum used to bring these and lychees home when we were kids. I loved them and now they are intricately linked with happy memories of that kitchen.

  • I love to have kumquats around the house to eat them as a snack, or I use them for cooking duck or chicken. Always delicious.
    I got your url from a friend in Austria who’s a gourmand and very good cook. After a couple of visits here, I can see why she recommand your site! :-)

  • lexi

    think they’ll still be around in May when i come?? *tear* seems that is not the case, huh

  • Jora

    My husband and I just bought a new house. One of the huge selling points for us is that there is a loaded kumquat tree outside our son’s (19 mos.) bedroom, which he eats off all day long. I am serious, the kumquats sealed the deal.

  • richard

    I never see kumquats here in the USA but I think it would be a lot of trouble to peel all those little oranges. I suppose there is a nice reward inside every skin!

  • Papadesdeux – Thanks for the tip: I’ll pass it on to Maxence, our resident gardener…

    Richard – The rind is edible!

  • I saw this intriguing fruit for the first time about a month ago at the local Market. I was a little skeptical to taste it; but judjing by your post and the comments, it sounds like a tasty fruit. I will give it a try.

  • jora, Lol!!
    :-) you are very lucky!
    J’adore Kumquat !

  • After my recent indelicacy here, I should probably refrain from attempting kumquat humor. I will say that it’s been a while since I’ve gobbled the little orbs. Were they available to me now, I might be tempted to do a creme brulee or kumquat fool… though the savory implications are many as well.

  • I also never tried this fruit but after all the rave reviews I’m on the mission to find them and discover a new food item.

  • Max

    My grandparents have a condo in Florida and kumquat trees grow in their backyard. They were such a treat for my brother and I when we were growing up!

    I haven’t had one in forever, but your post has inspired me. Thanks!

  • sam

    clotilde – I can’t recommend the kumquat, celery and walnut salad in Heidi’s new book enough. It made a kumquat eater out of me.

  • Though they are so pretty I havn’t made up my mind about the kumquat yet, but my 6 year old daughter made her feelings very clear when she found one in the middle of her chocolate pudding at a wedding that was running very late. I’m afraid there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth and she may never trust dessert again!

  • Hi Clotilde,

    I’ve never had kumquats, but they look very similar in size and shape to Kalamansi – a small Filipino citrus fruit. I’m assuming kumquats are more sweet than sour, whereas kalamansi are definitely sour.

  • I LOVE kumquats. I have the round fruit variety with thin skin and very sour liquid flesh. The olive shaped fruit variety doesn’t grow well for me, and it has a thicker skin but sweet flesh.

    I live in Hawaii and my small tree is always with fruit, full of it during season. I use the skin for baking cakes, flavoring butter, making citrus pasta sauce, and for gelato. I use the flesh and juice in place of lemon juice for any recipe.

  • Thea

    As the fruit is so sour, kumquat makes a superior marmalade (like serville orange). However, you have to use the round ones, not the sweeter, oval nagamis. I have never had to make it as my mother-in-law makes copious quantities every year thanks to her very prolific tree. That, and Rosella (Australian native hibiscus) Jam, are my favourite toast toppings.

  • Hi,

    I’m hosting AFAM – kumquats this month, today is the last day and I would love to have this recipe as your entry.


    Thank you, Margot

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