Kumquat
2 mins read

Kumquat

Introduction

Kumquat (Fortunella spp.) is a small, sweet, and sour fruit that belongs to the Rutaceae family. Native to South Asia, kumquats have been cultivated for centuries in China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. The fruit is often eaten whole, skin and all, and is a popular ingredient in jams, preserves, and desserts.

Etymology

The name “kumquat” comes from the Cantonese Chinese “gam gwat” (), which means “golden orange”. The fruit was introduced to Europe by Robert Fortune in 1846 and was named “Fortunella” in his honor.

Description

Kumquats are small, oval-shaped fruits with a smooth, thin skin that ranges in color from orange to yellow. The flesh is juicy and sweet, with a single seed in the center. The fruit is about 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) in diameter and has a sweet, slightly sour taste.

Taxonomy and Cultivars

Kumquats belong to the genus Fortunella, which includes four species:

SpeciesDescription
Fortunella japonicaJapanese kumquat, small and sweet
Fortunella margaritaOval kumquat, larger and more sour
Fortunella crassifoliaMeiwa kumquat, sweet and juicy
Fortunella hindsiiHong Kong kumquat, small and sweet

Distribution and Habitat

Kumquats are native to South Asia, including China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. They are widely cultivated in warm climates, including the United States (Florida and California), Brazil, and Africa.

Cultivation

Kumquats are relatively easy to grow and require minimal care. They prefer well-drained soil, full sun, and regular watering. The trees are pruned regularly to maintain shape and promote fruiting.

Production and Uses

Kumquats are grown for their fruit, which is eaten fresh, used in jams and preserves, and made into desserts. They are also used as an ornamental plant in gardens and landscapes.

Phytochemistry

Kumquats contain a range of bioactive compounds, including flavonoids, phenolic acids, and carotenoids. These compounds have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Flavor

“The kumquat is a fruit that’s sweet and sour at the same time, like a marriage of honey and vinegar.” – Unknown

Toxicity

Kumquats are generally safe to eat, but the seeds and leaves contain a toxic compound called amygdalin, which can release cyanide when ingested.

Nutrition

Kumquats are low in calories and rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber.

NutrientAmount (per 100g)
Calories71
Vitamin A10% DV
Vitamin C45% DV
Potassium10% DV
Fiber2g

Culture

Kumquats have been a part of Asian culture for centuries, with a rich history in China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. They are often given as gifts during the Chinese New Year and are a symbol of good luck and prosperity.

In conclusion, kumquats are a unique and flavorful fruit that offer a range of culinary and nutritional benefits. With their rich history and cultural significance, kumquats are a fruit worth discovering and enjoying.