In Season: Kumquats

by in In Season, March 10, 2010


If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard the name before but may have only tried this fruit a couple of times. Get to know these lesser-known members of the citrus family.

Where, When & What?
Native to China and also known as the “cumquat” or “comquot” (which means “gold orange”), these little fruits grow on trees that can reach up 15 feet high and sport some spectacularly glossy green leaves. Here in the U.S. most of our kumquats come from California and Florida and are available from January to June.

The most common variety is the Nagami, or oval kumquat, which grows to be about two inches long and an inch in diameter — not big at all! Kumquats have a pale orange rind that’s edible; unlike other citrus, the rind is actually the sweetest part of the fruit. The inner flesh and juice are sour and contain seeds, which you shouldn’t eat. There are also limequats, a cross between limes and kumquats that sport yellowish-green rinds and a similarly sour flavor with hints of lime mixed in. I haven’t been able to try them firsthand yet, but I’m dreaming about a limequat margarita!

Nutrition Facts
One tiny kumquat only has 13 calories, 1 gram of fiber and 14% of your daily vitamin C. They also contain some vitamin A, potassium and folate, but you’d have to eat quite a few of them to reap the benefits.

What to Do With Kumquats
More versatile than you might think, kumquats work well pickled, candied, baked in breads and pastries, cooked down to marmalade, muddled in cocktails and just eaten raw (rind and all). Florida’s Kumquat Growers Inc. has even more adventurous recipes.

Shopping Tip: Choose fruit that are firm and free of spots or blemishes. Refrigerate them in a plastic bag for up to one month.

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Comments (8)

  1. Dan says:

    I'm going to see if I can find any at my local produce store so I can juice it :)

  2. CasSondra says:

    I never knew u could eat the rind, cant wait to give it a taste and to educate others about them.

  3. Sarah says:

    Why can't you eat the seeds? I've eaten them before, they are a little bitter, but no big deal.

  4. loisann0 says:

    I eat lemon, orange and lime rind all the time after a good wash before slicing……………………….slice thinly and add it in with some sugar and and sprinkle on baking sheet, put in 250 oven for 2-3 hours stirring gently about every half hour. remove from oven and and put in a bowl, let sit a couple of weeks stirring gently a couple of times a day. Do not cover- let air dry so it doesn't mold. Use in tea, drinks and recipes or nibble as a candy.To get the most out of a piece of fruit, After good washing, grate off some of colored rind for cooking (let air dry before covering) , 2nd juice and then I I thin slice what is left, leaving whatever pulp there is and then mix with sugar and bake in 250 oven on baking sheet,( the leftover liquid in rind flavors the sugar), and you can use it in lots of ways after it is baked and dried out. (The thicker the slices you have the longer the whole process will take of dehydrating..wouldn't reccomend for a dehyderator..all the sugar would fall through vented trays unless you cover the trays…I would not use my dehyderator for this project. Some people jar this up and give as gifts…MS does it, so you know it is a classy gift. I have seen her do it.

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  7. Maryann says:

    I eat the pits too. Why shouldn't you eat them? Does anybody know?

  8. danawhite says:

    Hi Maryann-
    Eating kumquat pits doesn't appear to be harmful but they are typically removed from the fruit before eating.

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