Kumquats are small, oblong orange-like citrus fruits with a bright sweet-tart flavor. Kumquats are grown across Asia and in California and Florida in North America, where they are at their height in the winter. The peel of these tiny fruits is edible, unlike that of other citrus fruits, making them a convenient snack. They can be cooked or eaten raw in various sweet and savory cuisines. Kumquats are little citrus fruits that look a lot like oranges. They are classified as Fortunella in the Rutaceae plant family and grow on little kumquat trees. The kumquat’s peel is thin and delicious, with a sour flesh that allows the fruit to be eaten whole.
The bulk of kumquats grown in North America is grown in California and Florida, with the peak season occurring between January and March. Kumquats should be consumed or used as soon as feasible after purchase. Unlike other citrus fruits, Kumquats have a short shelf life, and this is because their peels are substantially thinner than oranges and lemons. Keep kumquats in a paper bag at room temperature or in a plastic bag in the fridge’s crisper drawer for up to a week if you need to store them for a few days.
What are Kumquats?
Kumquats are little citrus fruits that grow on short shrub-like trees commonly utilized in warm areas landscaping. Kumquats, native to eastern Asia and belonging to the same fruit family as oranges, lemons, and limes, are distinguished by their small size and edible peel. Depending on the variety, they can appear as early as November and as late as April, but they’re at their best around December and January. Kumquats can be candied, pickled, pureed, converted into marmalade, or washed and eaten whole.
How to Use Kumquats?
Kumquats are typically eaten whole and uncooked as a sweet-tart snack. They can be used as table decorations and a fruity palate cleanser as part of a holiday spread. The fruit is usually sliced or left whole and candied for a delightful addition to sweets or drinks. Kumquats, like oranges, can be pureed or juiced. Peeling is not required, but the tiny seeds must be strained out. Kumquats’ tartness is reduced when cooked, making them popular in marmalades, chutneys, and jams. These condiments add a sweet, tangy accent to savoury foods like roasted or grilled meats.
How Much Variety of Kumquats?
7 Different Varieties of Kumquats
- Meiwa Kumquats (or round kumquat): Kumquats are small, spherical fruits with a beautiful orange peel. Kumquats from Meiwa are much sweeter than other types.
- Nagami Kumquats (or oval kumquat): In the United States, this is a common kumquat cultivar. These oblong-shaped fruits’ vivid orange peel and sweet-tart flavour make them ideal for marmalades and jellies.
- Centennial Variegated Kumquat: A Nagami hybrid with a giant oval-shaped fruit striped with pale yellow and dark green. The meat is juicy and has an acidic flavour.
- Jiangsu Kumquat: A bell-shaped kumquat fruit with a flavour milder than other varieties.
- Fukushu Kumquat: A hybrid of kumquat and mandarin. It is more significant than a typical kumquat, with a flattened round shape and smooth rind, making it ideal for candying.
- Mandarinquat: A cross between a kumquat and a mandarin. Oblong-shaped with an appearance similar to small tangelos.
- Limequat: A cross between crucial lime and kumquats. The rind is smooth and light yellow with a sour taste.
How to Eat Kumquats?
Kumquats can be eaten whole—skin, seeds, and all—due to their sweet and acidic flesh. Kumquats are also frequently used in marmalade, jellies, and baking. Kumquats can be used to give your dishes a citrus kick: Slice them thinly and use them to end salads or make a chutney to serve alongside savoury foods like duck and chicken or seafood. Kumquats are turned into a tea with honey and ginger in Chinese cuisine to help heal colds and flu.
How to Cook with Kumquats?
8 Ways to Cook With Kumquats
These kumquat recipes will punch up any ordinary dish.
- Kumquat marmalade: Kumquats, together with their peels, are finely diced and cooked with sugar until thickened. For breakfast, this vibrant and zesty marmalade pairs beautifully with cheeses like Comté and goat cheese.
- Candied kumquats: To make candied kumquats, mix chopped kumquats with sugar and water and simmer until the peels turn transparent. Serve alongside salads, pork, chicken, or desserts. To make a cocktail mixer, save the syrup foundation.
- Preserved kumquats: Kumquats can be preserved intact in a sugar and honey mixture to extend their shelf life. Preserves can be served with roasted chicken or spooned over cheese or ice cream.
- Kumquat chutney: Kumquats’ tart and sweet qualities complement apricots and cranberries in chutney. Chutney can be used to liven up grilled cheese sandwiches or served with poultry and seafood.
- Kumquat and orange marinade: An Asian marinade made with fresh orange juice, chopped kumquats, rice wine, soy sauce, garlic, olive oil, and sugar that goes nicely with fish or chicken.
- Fruit salads: For a vibrant salad, combine sliced kumquats with other citrus fruits like grapefruit, oranges, blood oranges, and mint leaves with honey.
- Winter Salads: Kumquats’ acidity adds a refreshing note to winter salads. Combine them with endives, frisée, fennel, and a simple vinaigrette, sliced or quartered.
- Bundt Cake: Fold in chopped kumquats and candied ginger in a simple cake mix. Bake in a bundt pan and top with an orange glaze for a festive look.
What do Kumquats Look and Taste like?
Kumquats are distinguished by their small size and deep orange peel. Due to a thin, sweet edible skin and no bitter pith, they are one of the few citrus fruits that do not require peeling. The sour flesh of kumquats is best eaten with the skins to balance out the tart flavours. They have tiny edible seeds that can either be eaten or thrown away. The kumquat has a unique citrus flavour. While the fruit is slightly sweet, it has a solid sour and tangy flavor. The peel of the kumquat is surprisingly tasty. Kumquats have an orange flavour to them.
On the other hand, their thin peel is sweet rather than bitter, and the flesh is tangy and sour. A rich, sensitive interior emerges from the soft, slightly chewy peel. The amount of tartness varies based on the fruit’s ripeness and variety. Like other citrus fruits like tangerines, oranges, grapefruit, and lemons, Kumquats have a sweet-tart flavour. Most of the sugar is concentrated in the skin, thinner and pith-free than most other citrus kinds. While the skin is delicious, the juice and flesh are pretty acidic.
Where to Buy Kumquats?
Kumquats can be found in season at farmers’ markets, specialized stores, and well-stocked supermarkets. Kumquat plants are hardier than other citrus and can endure freezing temperatures, but they require considerable heat in the summer to produce the best-tasting fruit. Due to these growth restrictions and their relative unpopularity compared to other fruits, kumquats are not widely available.
Purchase kumquats with glowing, silky skins that are heavy for their size. Kumquats with bruises, wounds, or blemishes should be avoided since the edible skin is more delicate and tender than that of other citrus fruits, making it more vulnerable to injury. Because you’ll be eating the peel, you should buy organic to avoid pesticide-sprayed fruit.
When planted directly in the ground, kumquat trees grow in planting zones 8 to 10. They’re also a simple plant to grow in pots almost anywhere else, whether on a sunny patio or under grow lights indoors in the winter. When the fruit reaches a rich orange colour and is slightly mushy, it is ready to pick.
The kumquat has much more to offer than just a spunky name. One of the most unusual things about these bite-size orbs is that you eat the fruit peel, the sweet part. This makes them an easy grab-and-go snack. Because you eat the peel, you can tap into the rich stores of antioxidants and other plant compounds found there. The vitamin C and plant compounds in kumquats can help support your immune system. Some of these may even help protect against obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, though more human research is needed. If you haven’t yet tried kumquats, look for them starting around November and into the next several months. They just might become one of your new favourite fruits.
Kumquats are a citrus fruit native to China that looks like tangerines or oranges but is eaten differently. Kumquats come in various sizes, and they’re egg-shaped and roughly a half-inch long and wide, resembling large grapes or olives. The entire fruit is edible, unlike other citrus kinds. The kumquat’s exterior is pleasant, but the juice and flesh are pretty sour. It’s no surprise that kumquats are the “inside-out orange.” “Natural sour patch kids,” as one friend put it.