Kumquats

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Kumquats, despite their funny-sounding name, are very tasty fruits. Visually, they look like small oranges that are the size of olives. The taste is somewhat similar to an orange but without the bitterness that sometimes comes with it. The reason why kumquats don’t have the bitter bite that oranges have is due to the lack of pith (the white inner skin). You can also eat the rind of the kumquat, in fact, most of the sweetness of the kumquat comes from its rind as the flesh is quite tart.

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Sapindales
  • Family: Rutaceae
  • Genus: Citrus
  • Species: C. japonica
  • Binomial name: Citrus japonica

Kumquat Trivia

  • The name Kumquat is taken from the Cantonese word which means “Golden Orange” or “Gold Tangerine”.
  • Unlike many citrus plants, kumquats can withstand both hot and cold growing temperatures.
  • The earliest mention of the Kumquat is from 12th century Chinese literature.
  • Kumquat seeds, unlike other citrus seeds, are edible and crunchy.
  • Kumquats are the only citrus fruits that you can eat entirely.

Kumquat Buying Guide

When buying kumquats, pick the ones that have a bright orange color without any green shades. The skin should be smooth and taut, you should avoid kumquats with “loose” skin that have blemishes and visual damage.

Some packers include leaves in packing kumquats, this is a good way to determine their freshness as well. Fresher leaves mean that the fruit was picked and packed fairly recently.

Kumquat Production & Farming in Texas

Large scale production of Kumquats in Texas is not being done, but that hasn’t stopped some small organic farmers from areas where kumquats can grow from farming them. Kumquats grow in USDA Hardiness zones 9 and 10 which makes the southern parts of Texas good places to grow them.

While some areas in southern Texas are good locations for Kumquat growing, most of the area is currently being used to produce grapefruits, which thrive in the same conditions that the Kumquat needs.

Most of the Kumquats in Texas can be found in specialty Asian stores, Farmers’ Markets, and roadside stalls direct from the farms. There are also a number of farms that offer “pick your own” kumquats so you can get them if you’re in the area and if they’re in season.

Pesticides:

The PAN Pesticides Database has identified roughly 50 pesticides that are being used on citrus plants, kumquats included. Most citrus fruits don’t get flagged for pesticide residue because the rind protects the flesh from pesticide contamination. This is not the same for kumquats because, with kumquats, the skin is also consumed, much like grapes. If there is a fruit that you should seriously consider spending organic for, it’s the kumquat.

Geography:

The kumquat plant can tolerate almost any soil pH level and soil type as long as it’s well-drained. If you’re in USDA Hardiness Zones 9-10 then you can try growing the Nagami and Meiwa varieties as they have been tested to grow well in Texas.

Packaging:

Due to the kumquat being edible in its entirety, a lot of sellers pack them in thick clamshell boxes to protect the fruit from bruising and damage. For kumquats that are meant to be sold in local markets or farmers’ markets are usually backed in boxes or reusable crates.

Eating Kumquats

When it comes to consumption, kumquats share more with grapes than they do with citrus fruits. Just give them a thorough wash, remove the stem (if still attached), then pop them in your mouth to enjoy!

Storage:

You can store kumquats on the countertop at room temperature for a couple of days. Kumquats will also stay fresh and good for up to a month.  Kumquats can be frozen whole, inside a freezer bag, for up to six months. If you need to keep them for longer, you can store them in a freezer-safe container with the fruit submerged in simple sugar syrup. Kumquats frozen in syrup can be stored for up to a year.

Tip: To make a simple sugar syrup, use 4 parts of water for every 1 part of sugar.  

Cooking:

Fresh cut kumquats can be added to any salad to give them a sweet and tart kick. You can also add them to any fruit salad to add a refreshing citrus burst to your salad. Kumquats also make for good preserves or marmalades due to their tanginess and citrus flavor. Kumquats also make excellent sauces that can go well with either poultry or pork dishes.

Nutrition:

  • Carbs
    • Kumquats have a relatively low glycemic index which makes them perfect for snacking by people with diabetes.
    • About 40% of the carbs in kumquats is dietary fiber which makes it good for people that need extra fiber in their diets or people that suffer from diabetes.
  • Fiber
    • The fiber in a serving of kumquats (or roughly five pieces) is equivalent to 25% of the RDI.
      • Soluble fiber helps reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your body by flushing them out.
      • Dietary fiber also bulks up your stool, facilitating bowel movements and preventing constipation.
    • Vitamins and minerals:
      • Item

When Are Kumquats in Season in Texas?

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  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • November
  • December

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Buy Local Farmfresh Kumquats in Texas Directly from the Producer

mapMarkerGreyAlvin

Froberg’s Farm and Country Store

mapMarkerGreyHouston

Old School Produce

mapMarkerGreyQuinlan

Sunfun Farms

mapMarkerGreyWinnie

Sunny Knoll Farm