During a Sunday afternoon walk through a food market I came across a tiny orange that looked like a citrus fruit, the size and shape just slightly bigger than an olive - known as Kinkan or Kumquat.
This fruit is native to south-eastern parts of the mountains in China and has four varieties - Nagami kumquat, Marumi kumquat, Meiwa kumquat and Hong Kong Wild. It is also cultivated in India, Japan, Taiwan, Hawaii and South East Asia.
The Marumi kumquat is grown as an ornamental plant as well as for culinary use, mainly in the production of marmalades and jellies.
The kumquat plant symbolises good luck in China and other countries across Asia.
The Kumquat is a great source for health benefits as well. It is rich in vitamin C and high in antioxidants, and is a rich source of minerals.
All kinkan varieties are edible fresh, their skin is sweet and fragrant and the flesh can be sour, depending on the type you come across. Even though you can get kumquats all year long, you will get the most out of them from the end of January until mid March.
For a cocktail recipe I’ve decided to share with you the Salvatore Calabrese “Breakfast Martini” with a gentle kumquat twist:
Maestro’s Kinkan Martini
2 teaspoons of Kumquat marmalade 40ml London dry gin 10ml Triple sec 20ml lemon juice
1. Shake and double strain into a chilled martini glass.
2. Garnish with kumquat marmalade spread over toasted bread.