Kumquats are a group of small fruit-bearing trees in the flowering plant family Rutaceae.
Although kumquats are considered a type of citrus, they are actually classified under the genus Fortunella.
The kumquat plant is native to south Asia and the Asia-Pacific region.
The earliest historical reference to kumquats appears in literature of China from the 12th century.
They have long been cultivated in India, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and southeast Asia.
They were introduced to Europe in 1846 by Robert Fortune, collector for the London Horticultural Society, and shortly thereafter were brought to North America.
The English name “kumquat” derives from the Chinese gām-gwāt 金橘, literally meaning “golden orange” or “golden tangerine.”
Kumquat plants reach about 2.4 to 3.6 meters (8 to 12 feet) high.
The branches are mainly thornless and have glossy dark green leaves and white flowers, occurring singly or clustered in the leaf axils.
The bright orange-yellow fruit is round or oval, about 2.5 cm (1 inch) in diameter. Depending on size, the kumquat tree can produce hundreds or even thousands of fruits each year.
Kumquat fruits are ready to go when you pluck them off the tree and eat away. The paper-thin skin is where the sugar lies, and there’s virtually no bitter pith. The flesh is extremely, mouth-puckeringly, sour. The seeds, while sometimes a bit crunchy, are small and edible.
The fruits are popularly eaten raw, or as a garnish, or even cooked, candied, or made into jams, jellies, or marmalades. Many chefs also pickle and preserve them in sugar, salt, or vinegar and use them as condiments for other dishes.
There are 71 calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of kumquats.
This fruit is a good source of antioxidant vitamins including : vitamin A vitamin C and vitamin E and B-complex vitamins. They are also good source of flavonoid antioxidants like carotenes, lutein, zeaxanthin and tannins minerals like calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and zinc.
The health benefits of kumquats include their ability to regulate digestion, boost the immune system, and improve skin, hair, dental, and eye care. They also reduce your chances of developing diabetes, lower your cholesterol levels, strengthen your bones, and improve nerve health.
In Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine, kumquats are often smashed with honey, ginger, or even salt and made into a tisane to heal colds and flu.
The essential oil of the kumquat peel contains much of the aroma of the fruit, and is composed principally of limonene, which makes up around 93% of the total.