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What Is It?
The sweet/sour fruit of a specific citrus species (family Rutaceae) native to south Asia and the Asian Pacific. Unlike most other citrus, kumquats are consumed whole.
Sweet/sour, highly fragrant, orange-like
Fortunella japonica, cumquat, kinkan (Japanese), jīn jú (Mandarin)
Conventional and Asian grocery stores, fruit markets, and directly from growers
Bright orange (generally – see more detail below), fragrant, relatively firm, small fruits (about the size of a large green olive) with a fragrant peel. Fruits may be round or oval.
Difficulty: Low to Moderate – Often eaten raw and out-of-hand. Seeding the fruits can be very time-consuming, though not inherently difficult.
The whole fruit is frequently eaten raw, though it is also wonderful cooked, candied, or used in desserts and baked goods. Much of the flavour comes from the rind – the flesh itself often has little or no juice.
Ripen: Room Temperature
Short Term: Refrigerate
Sweet/Sour; Orange-like and aromatic with a sweet rind and relatively sour flesh.
Calamondins/calamansis make a good substitute, though the rind tends to be thicker. A mixture of orange, lemon, and lime juice can sometimes work (see “Need More Detail?” below).
Important as a table-fruit in Asia, and in Asian and European preserves (e.g. marmalade) and desserts.
Savory: Rich, fatty meats (e.g. duck), slightly bitter vegetables (especially greens)
Sweet: Chocolate, coffee, nuts, alcohol (whisky and brandy), vanilla
Round (Marumi), Meiwa, Oval (Nagami), Jiangsu (Fukushu), Nordmann & other seedless varieties (all fairly interchangeable in terms of flavour). See “Need More Detail” for kumquat hybrids.
Extremely high in Vitamin C.
For a full nutritional profile, click Need More Detail? below
The fruit is entirely edible or usable, including the skin (zest and pith), flesh/juice, and seeds.
Health & Science
As with grapefruit (and many other citrus), kumquats may interact with certain classes of drugs.
Organic vs. Conventional
Both organic and conventionally grown kumquats are sold, though availability may be limited.