Delicious, sweet yet tangy, kumquat fruit or cumquat(as the fruit generally recognized in Europe) is a winter/spring season delicacy. Although kumquats taste just like that of other citrus fruits, they are distinguished in a way that they can be eaten completely including the peel.
Kumquats are a small sized evergreen tree native to South-Eastern parts of mountainous China. A mature kumquat tree bears several hundred olive-sized, brilliant orange color fruits in the winter. The fruit resembles miniature orange with juicy segments.
The kumquat is cultivated in the United States, China and Japan. This sweet, tart fruit is a very good source of dietary fiber and vitamins C and A. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, which provides a full nutrient profile, one kumquat has 12 calories, .02g fat, 3.1g carbs and .4g protein. Kumquats also provide vitamin B, calcium, and riboflavin.
This tiny fruit is notable in many ways, but one of the kumquat’s greatest qualities is that it’s the only citrus you can eat whole — skin and all. Unlike lemons and oranges, whose white pith is unbearably bitter, the kumquat’s skin actually adds a pleasant sweetness, which is perfectly balanced by the tartness of the juicy flesh.
Kumquats are native and most popular in China, but they are also grown in the warm climates of California and Florida (among other Asian and European countries). They’re in season during the winter months, as most citrus fruits are, and add a nice bright flavor to the lineup of winter produce.
There are two main varities of kumquats — Marumi and Nagami. Marumi are less common, but if you come across them be sure to pick some up. They are round in shape, golden yellow in color and are just a bit sweeter and juicier than Nagamis. Nagamis are more oval in shape, about the size of an olive, have a deeper orange color, and are much easier to find.
One interesting fact about the kumquat: despite its resemblance to the orange, it isn’t always classified as citrus fruit. Some botanists place it in its own genus, Fortunella. Regardless of the classification, kumquats are one sweetly mouth-puckering fruit that you should enjoy all winter long.