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January 2021 Publishers' Letter: 

IDid you recognize the fruit on the cover as kumquats? We didn’t! We just like the brightness of those beautiful fruits.


However, the kumquat is not just an orange-looking fruit about the size of an olive from Southeast Asia. The plant symbolizes good luck in Asian countries. They are kept has houseplants and are common gifts during the Lunar New Year. The flowers symbolize prosperity and are popular floral decorations at new year markets. Kumquat trees are used as ornamental plants and can be bonsaied.


The height of the kumquat season coincides with the Lunar New Year/Chinese New Year, and they can produce hundreds, if not thousands of fruit, a year. The English name “kumquat” comes from a Cantonese word that means “golden orange” or “golden tangerine.” the earliest known reference appeared in 12th-century China. The kumquat’s flavor is distinctly citrusy. While the fruit is slightly sweet, the overwhelming flavor is sour and tangy. The kumquat’s peel is surprisingly appetizing. In fact, the peel is the sweetest part of the fruit.

There is a lot more to know about kumquats and we’ll leave it to you to discover their raw and cooked potential in your food, or you can try this lovely recipe below.

Whether or not kumquats become a staple in your kitchen, the idea behind these little jewels is a wish for all of you for 2021 – one of prosperity, abundance, small but big surprises and a sweetness of life we all need.

Kumquat and Dried Cherry Chutney

This vividly colored chutney is sweet, tart and tangy. Spread it on crostini or crackers for an appetizer, or pair it with pork or duck. Makes 2 cups

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon aniseed

1 1/2 cups of sliced, de-seeded kumquats (about 7 to 8 ounces)

1 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons

1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed navel orange juice (prepared juice may be substituted)

1/2 cup dried cherries

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a small, dry skillet over medium heat, toast mustard seeds and aniseed. Gently shake the pan in a back-and-forth motion until seeds are aromatic and lightly toasted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a heavy, small saucepan with remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the chutney thickens and the kumquats become translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer chutney to a bowl and let cool before serving. Chutney can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Bring to room temperature or reheat on the stovetop before serving.

Note: To de-seed kumquats, slice the fruit into rounds with a sharp paring knife. Using the tip of the knife, gently pluck the tiny seeds from the slices. (and recipe)

These articles are currently live on the website. The rest of the articles are dripped out throughout the month. If there is an article you'd like to see, email [email protected]

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