How To Find, Choose, & Use


Citrus japonica

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The Basics

  • 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.

  • Seasonality


  • Flavour Profile

    Sweet/sour, highly fragrant, orange-like

  • Other Names

    Fortunella japonica, cumquat, kinkan (Japanese), jīn jú (Mandarin)


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  • Find

    Conventional and Asian grocery stores, fruit markets, and directly from growers

  • Choose

    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.

  • Prep

    Difficulty: Low to Moderate – Often eaten raw and out-of-hand. Seeding the fruits can be very time-consuming, though not inherently difficult.

  • Use

    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.

  • Store

    Ripen: Room Temperature
    Short Term: Refrigerate

Culinary Info

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  • Flavour Profile

    Sweet/Sour; Orange-like and aromatic with a sweet rind and relatively sour flesh.

  • Substitutions

    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).

  • Cuisines

    Important as a table-fruit in Asia, and in Asian and European preserves (e.g. marmalade) and desserts.

  • Flavour Pairings

    Savory: Rich, fatty meats (e.g. duck), slightly bitter vegetables (especially greens)
    Sweet: Chocolate, coffee, nuts, alcohol (whisky and brandy), vanilla

  • Varieties

    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.

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  • Nutrition

    Extremely high in Vitamin C.
    For a full nutritional profile, click Need More Detail? below

  • Top-To-Tail

    The fruit is entirely edible or usable, including the skin (zest and pith), flesh/juice, and seeds.

  • GMO Status


  • 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.


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  • Dark chocolate mousse with candied kumquats -
    Dark Chocolate Mousse with Candied Kumquats
    Rich, creamy, chocolaty mousse with sweet, bright candied kumquats. The kumquats can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for a month or more, making this...
  • Kumquat apple tart with Scotch whisky caramel and a cardamom-scented crust -
    Kumquat Apple Tart with Scotch Caramel
    Sure apple pie is good, but sometimes it's worth trying something different... and delicious. There isn't even any cinnamon! But there is citrus and whiskey!

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