I found kumquats this week at the Ferry Building market that I popped in my mouth one after the other until they were gone. I swallowed the seeds, talked with my mouth full. If I'd bought the entire box it wouldn't have been enough.

I know kumquats are generally politely sliced and tossed sparingly into a salad. That's nice.

They are even talked about with a slightly puckered smile if they are talked about at all. And then no one is paying attention.

When a kumquat is good though, when the skin is sweeter than sin, when the juice makes my wrists tingle and the sides of my mouth involuntarily smile, I pay attention.

I bite off the top with the stem, lick the first juice. Make sure it's good. With the tiniest second bite, I erase the almost sour with sweet and I'm ready. The entire fruit is next.

The rind is as orange on my tongue as it was in my hand and I resist the urge to chew it all at once. Instead I press the juice slowly from the inside, until the tart is almost too much and I can't stand the anticipation. Then like pressing on the accelerator at the last minute to run a red light I bite into the sugary skin.

That's where the truth of the kumquat happens. Where the taste of the entire fruit explodes then merges. That, right there, is what I'm talking about.

And I don't care if it's wrong to eat them whole. I can't stop until they are gone even though I don't know when I'll find them as fresh again.


Anonymous said...

It's not wrong. That's the very way they're supposed to be eaten. At least, that's what I learned when I was first introduced to them (in Korea).

Donna said...

All I could picture was the Easter card I sent Benjamin with a picture of the Easter Bunny with 382 Jelly Bellies stuffed in his mouth trying to break his last year's record. You are too funny. See you soon.
Love, Olivia

Green Bean said...

It haven't eaten kumquats since we had a tree full of them growing up. Some how they were "gross" when I was a kid but so were tomatoes, strawberries, and anything green really. Thank you for sharing their experience. I'll have to look for them at the next farmers' market and try them for real instead of just vicariously.

Anonymous said...


You bring Presence to food, and to Life!
Thank you for that.


JV said...

Hi Miss Kale
You make eating kumquats sound erotic...smile...so I'll have to try some...

News flash: Farmers Market opens this weekend in Sebastopol.

Keep up the good work of elevating peoples awareness,(mine for a start)I look forward to reading what it is that you write and of course I think your the best writer ever or at least My favorite writer.

Kale for Sale said...

seeded - Oh good. Thank you for telling me. I honestly don't know anyone who eats them the way I do. And I love learning about how other cultures eat.

Olivia - I bet Benjamin loved that card. FYI though, I only eat kumquats one at a time.

green bean - I got a kumquat tree in December that has lots of new growth and I can't wait until it has fruit. It's my first fruit tree. Let me know how it goes. Make sure they are really plump and firm. If they give a little between the skin and the fruit like there's a layer of air or dryness don't buy them or try them. They wil be gross. And take it slow the first time.

Tamara - Kumquat kisses to you too.

Mom - See response to green bean above before you buy any. I'll have to come up and go the Sebastapol market with you. I've never been to it. And you're my favorite Mom. xoxox