Cumquats are somewhat slow, compact-growing trees that may reach up to 3m in height. They are phenomenally ornamental, with rich, glossy green leaves dotted with colorful fruits and aromatic whitish flowers in the backyard.
The cumquat or kumquat (the name derives from Cantonese for “golden orange” or “golden tangerine”) now fits into the genus Fortunella, despite most of us still consider it as a sort of citrus.
Amid the named varieties, keep an eye out for the ‘Nagami’ cumquat, with decorative teardrop-shaped fruit, and ‘Meiwa,’ the classic round and brightly colored variety.
Kumquats How To Eat
You may enjoy the small fruit, rind and all, in a single bite. The edible skin is delicious and a lovely balance to the slightly sour flesh.
Cumquats also make excellent marmalade and integrate nicely with dark chocolate in savory desserts. If you’ve never experienced cumquats saturated in brandy, then you’re missing out.
With their admirable tendency and ornamental feature, edible fruit, cumquats are a fantastic choice for containers and tiny gardens.
Feel Mediterranean air in the garden with cumquats in big terracotta containers, turn them into topiary or standards or lattice them against a courtyard wall.
They are remarkably cold-tolerant and adaptable to a wide range of climates so that you can grow them in most parts of Australia. A sun-exposed spot is most suitable.
They also prefer rich, well-drained, somewhat acidic soil, so dig in lots of compost before planting or cultivate them in a good-quality potting mix.
Cumquats are abundant with fruit from late autumn up to early spring. Take the fruit from young trees for the first few years to help form a robust, solid, and lively plant.
The fruit converts from green to a splendid orange once ripe and grips good on the plant.
Cumquats likes various food, so feed them routinely over the growing season with a fully organic fertilizer. Administer a good layer of mulch to help conserve moisture; you have to keep it away from the plant’s stem.
Water plants regularly, particularly when young fruit is developing, and trim plants to shape after picking your crop.
DID YOU KNOW?
Cumquats originate from China, where the fruit is a symbol of prosperity.
Many gardeners call the calamondin (Citrus mitis) a cumquat; some growers have even renamed it the Australian cumquat. The miniature orange fruit is wonderfully decorative and makes a delicious marmalade.
A 100-gram serving (about five whole kumquats) contains:
- Calories: 71
- Carbs: 16 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Fiber: 6.5 grams
- Vitamin A: 6% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 73% of the RDI
- Calcium: 6% of the RDI
- Manganese: 7% of the RDI
Kumquats supply smaller quantities of several B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, and zinc.
The eatable seeds and the skin of kumquats provide a tiny amount of omega-3 fats.
Like many other fresh fruits, kumquats are highly hydrating. About 80% of their weight comes from water.
The rich water and fiber content of kumquats make them a stuffing food, yet they’re somewhat low in calories. This makes them a fantastic snack when you’re watching your weight.
What are the nutritional benefits of eating cumquats?
Cumquats are packed with vitamins A, C, and E, fiber, and antioxidants. They also contain essential minerals like potassium and calcium. Eating cumquats can support a healthy immune system, promote digestion, improve skin health, and provide a source of natural energy.
Tips for Buying and Using Kumquats
Kumquats cultivated in the U.S. are in season from November to June, but availability can vary based on the place you live.
If it happens you wait until the end of the season to check for them, you may miss out.
Search for kumquats in supermarkets, gourmet food stores, and Asian grocery stores. Should you live in a state where the fruits are grown, you also may find them at farmers’ markets.
The most found variety distributed in the United States is the Nagami, having an oval shape. The Meiwa sort is also in demand and is round and a tad sweeter.
If you have problems finding kumquats in local grocery stores, you may as well order them online.
Alternatively, if you are fortunate enough and can find and afford them, go for organic kumquats as you usually eat the peel. If organic isn’t an option, wash them well before eating as they may have pesticide residues (14Trusted Source).
When selecting kumquats, please give them a light squeeze to detect ones that are plump and solid—select fruits with orange color, not green (which usually means they’re still not ripe).
Skip any with squishy spots or strange colors on the skin. After you arrive at home, please put them in the fridge for up to two weeks. Storing them on your countertop, they’ll only last a couple of days.
If you are stuck with kumquats that you can’t eat before they go wrong, think over creating a purée from them and keep this in your freezer.
Apart from eating them as whole fruit, other uses for kumquats:
- Chutneys, sauces, marinades for meat, chicken, or fish
- Marmalades, jams, and jellies
- Sliced in salads (fruit or leafy green)
- Sliced in sandwiches
- Added to stuffing
- Baked into bread
- Baked to desserts such as pie, cake, or cookies
- Puréed or minced for dessert toppings
- Small dessert cups (when split into halves and scooped out)
- Minced and steeped in boiling water for tea
Kumquats, a gem among citrus fruits, have truly carved a niche in the vast world of nutrition and flavor. Native to Southeast Asia, these small, olive-sized fruits have a rich history, with roots traced back to Southern China, whose name derives from the Cantonese word for “golden orange.”
Their journey from Asia, encompassing regions like Taiwan, Japan, and India, eventually led them to grace the soils of Florida and California, becoming a cherished addition to the American citrus landscape. While many might mistake them for a smaller variant of the mandarin orange or grapefruit, kumquats stand proud in their genus, “Fortunella,” with varieties like the ‘Fortunella margarita’ or the ‘Marumi’ distinguishing themselves with a sweet flavor that combines pulpy skin and tender pulp.
Europe, too, became enchanted by this diminutive fruit, with references ranging from Yates to incorporating their flavor in treats like strawberry jams. The evergreen kumquat plants, with their glossy leaves sprouting from leaf axils, can grow up to several meters, bearing fruits that measure mere inches in diameter — typically around 3-4 cm.
It’s fascinating to realize that such a small fruit is packed with anti-inflammatory properties, thanks partly to the limonene they contain, a compound also found in the Rutaceae family, including other citrus marvels.
So, whether you’re familiar with the diverse varieties of kumquats from Japan’s Marumi to the hybrids in India, or you’re just discovering the juxtaposition of their strawberry-like sweetness with a grapefruit’s zesty bite, one thing remains evident: kumquats are a testament to the rich tapestry of flavors and histories that intertwine our world.