Habanero and fruit are often a great compliment in hot sauces. There are many mango hot sauces on the market. When Anita’s was making “Torcher Hot Sauce” we realized that adding a fruit would balance the heat of the habanero and scorpion peppers. It was then we came across the Kumquat.
Look and Taste
The kumquat looks like a mini oblong orange. It is native to southeast Asia. It is about the size of a grape and eaten with the peel. Surprisingly the peel is the sweetest part of the fruit. The flesh is quite tart. As a whole the kumquat has a sour tang with some sweetness.
In the Philippines they have a green hybrid kumquat called the calamansi that they squeeze like a lemon into cocktails. It is slightly more sour.
Health and Harvest
The English name “kumquat” comes from the cantonese word “kam kwat”(金橘) for the Golden orange. The kumquat has a lot of vitamin C and is rich in potassium. It is good for curing a cough or helping with digestion.
It comes from a slow growing evergreen tree. It’s a hearty fruit that harvests in southeast Asia from November to March. Although the kumquat can grow at lower temperatures it thrives in the heat. Kumquat is grown throughout Taiwan especially Ilan and Chaiyi.
Around The World
The first documented cultivation of the kumquat was in China in 1178 AD. It was then introduced to Japan, Taiwan, Indochina and India. The Kumquat has branched out to many countries outside of Asia. It can be found in Israel, the Mediteranean, Peru and Brazil. It also grows quite easily in the USA.. It was introduced probably by the Chinese to Hawaii. The Japanese introduced kumquat to the mainland in the early 1900’s. California and Florida have ideal climates to cultivate the kumquat.
How it is Eaten
A great way to release the flavor of the kumquat is to roll it between your fingers to release the oils in the rind and release the flavors. They can be eaten raw, candied or pickled. It can be preserved and made into a marmalade. The natural pectin in the fruits seeds helps thicken sauces.
It’s great for adding zest to both beef and lamb. They can also be added to season carrots, pumpkin or salads. They are often found as decorations during Chinese New Year.
Anita’s “The Torcher” hot sauce uses Candied kumquats. They are candied in order to preserve them to be eaten all year around. The method for preserving is quite easy.
1t sea salt
Honey to cover
Clean and dry kumquat. Leave peel on.
Cut kumquat in half
Pour honey over kumquat
Add sea salt
Add lid to jar and shake
Leave in dark cool area
Shake it every few days
It will be ready in a week
Once it is finished it is great for adding to hot tea, ice cream, bread and salad. It could also be added to soda or a cocktail.
Hakka Kumquat Sauce
The Hakka minority in Taiwan have a distinct type of food which is saltier and more hearty. They are well known for pickled and preserved foods. They are also well known for their kumquat sauce.
3T rice wine
Wash and dry kumquat
Cut in half
Process the kumquat into a paste
Add other ingredients
Simmer to a boil
If you want it spicy add Anita’s “The Classic” or “The Torcher” to taste
It is great served as a dipping sauce for chicken or as a duck sauce for a warm dish.
The kumquat has a long history in Taiwan and the rest of Asia. It has been crossed with many other fruits to make hybrids and is an ideal addition to Anita’s “The Torcher” hot sauce. It’s the ultimate heirloom fruit.