Kumquat, The Fruit With 7 Interesting Facts
Image Credit: Ripe kumquats, Pixabay

When you first spot a basket of brightly coloured, little oval fruits that resemble lemons, you might think they are baby oranges. But hold on—despite having a similar appearance, they are entirely distinct. This fruit is a kumquat. The extremely tart flavour will make your mouth pucker when you take a bite. These diminutive, elongated fruits are the citrus family's tiniest members. Here are things that will leave you more surprised.

Naming history

Kumquat, the name sounds quite unique, isn't it? The moniker has Cantonese roots. The genesis of its name comes from the Cantonese word 'kamkwat', which translates to golden orange or tangerine. 

Place of origin

Kumquat originated in China. From this county, it debuted in other regions, such as Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Japan, centuries ago. Kumquats are now grown in warm climates worldwide, including India, Australia, South Africa, California, Florida, South America, and Europe. Between January through March, this fruit has its peak season. 

Unique features in the citrus family

They are the citrus family's tiniest members. They are part of the Rutaceae plant family's genus category Fortunella and look similar to oranges. They bloom on petite kumquat trees. The kumquat fruit is typically egg-shaped, 1-inch in length, and 0.5 inches wide, resembling huge grapes or olives.

A basket full of kumquats, Image Source: organicallyblissful


Kumquat trees come in a variety of kinds and have varying seasons. There are kumquat trees in California that bear fruit all year round. But with the winter citrus plants, the fruit on the smaller trees ripens and changes from green to scarlet around January.

Unusual taste

Like other citrus fruits like tangerines, oranges, grapefruit, and lemons, kumquats have a sweet-tart flavour. The skin, which is thinner than the majority of different citrus kinds and pith-free, does contain a significant amount of sugar. The flesh and juice are incredibly sour, while the skin is sweet. It makes sense why kumquats are called "the inside-out orange." Since you'll be eating the skin, choose kumquats that are bright orange, lustrous, plump, and devoid of blemishes.

Eat it whole, including the peel

Although this native citrus fruit from China resembles an orange or tangerine, it is eaten very differently, and the entire fruit is edible. The skin of kumquats is delicious and edible, unlike the skin of other citrus fruits that we discard. Kumquats are typically consumed whole since the shell is thin and sweeter than the flesh. These tiny fruits can be eaten without peeling.

An array of culinary use

Kumquat Marmelade, Image Source: hamisharafi.com

Kumquats are used to make tea in Chinese cooking containing honey and ginger to treat colds and the flu. Even though people typically only eat these juicy, tart kumquats as a snack, they are also lovely on cheese boards, sliced on salads, used in sauces, and muddled into drinks like margaritas. Kumquats are frequently used in baking, particularly in muffins, as well as in marmalade and jellies. Serve them as a quick sauce or dip to go with savoury foods like goose, chicken, or fish.