How to choose: Entirely edible (except for the seeds), kumquats’ thin, sweet, bright orange peel covers tart, tender pulp. Look for small, green-tinged stems, indicating freshness. When fully ripe, kumquats feel soft to the touch. Refrigerate up to three weeks.

Preparation tips: Gently roll between your fingers to release the rind’s essential oils—then eat like candy. Serve sliced kumquats on sandwiches, broiled fish, pork, or chicken. Alternate on kabobs with shrimp, pineapple, and red onion. Chopped kumquats work tasty wonders in cheesecakes, cookies, and batters. They’re also a favorite in marmalades and chutneys.

Health benefits: Kumquats contain healthy doses of vitamin C and fiber, plus vitamin A and potassium.

Spicy Seared Tofu with Kumquat Sauce

(Serves 4)

16 ounces firm tofu
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 kumquats, seeded and thinly sliced
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Sea salt (optional)

1. Rinse tofu and pat dry. Cut into 4 slices of equal size and drizzle with tamari to coat all sides.

2. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet and add ginger, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for 2–3 minutes. Add tofu and pan sear until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and keep warm.

3. Add olive oil to the skillet and heat. Add shallot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Sprinkle with brown sugar and simmer, without stirring, until melted and golden. Immediately stir in kumquats, water, vinegar, and 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Simmer, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Stir in parsley and salt to taste. Simmer until thickened to desired consistency, about 1 minute.

4. Divide tofu onto 4 plates and top with kumquat sauce.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 226 calories
% fat calories: 55
Fat: 14g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Protein: 13g
Carbohydrate: 13g
Fiber: 2g
Sodium: 258mg

Recipe provided by James Rouse, ND, the creator of Optimum Wellness and The Fit Kitchen, seen weekly on NBC’s KUSA television news.