Kumquats are small, ovular citrus fruits that originally come from China. They are common oriental fruits. They were discovered by the British botanist Robert Fortunella. Kumquat means “kimku” in Cantonese, or golden orange. Kumquats are small, approximately 1 to 2 inches in length. They are golden orange in color, and divided into 5 or 6 sections and sometimes several large seeds. The rind is thin and edible. Unlike other citrus fruits- the skin of the kumquat is eaten, and is actually sweeter, and less bitter than that of the flesh. The flesh of the kumquat is very tart or bitter. When eaten “as is”, sometimes a slight numbing sensation from the high citric acid occurs on the tongue, lending it to be a great palate cleanser.
There are 4 main varieties of kumquats. In Florida, there are two that are grown: Nagami and Meiwa.
The Nagami is tarter, and is preferred for cooking and marmelades. Nagami is the most popular. It is 1 ¼ to 1 ¾ inch in length, and contains 2-5 seeds. It is originally from China.