Kumquats Unveiled: From Health Properties to Tasty Recipes

These small fruits are meant to consumed whole, peel and all!

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By Manu

kumquats

Kumquats are diminutive citrus fruits that pack a powerful punch of flavor within their small, oval-shaped profile. Unlike traditional citrus fruits, these little gems are meant to be consumed whole, showcasing a unique combination of sweet, edible peel and tangy flesh. Bursting with essential nutrients like vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants, kumquats contribute not only to a vibrant and zesty culinary experience but also to potential health benefits. Whether enjoyed fresh, added to salads, or incorporated into various recipes, kumquats stand as a distinctive and versatile addition to the citrus family.

Join us on a journey to unravel the secrets of these unique citrus fruits.

What are Kumquats?

Kumquats, belonging to the Fortunella genus, are small citrus fruits celebrated for their sweet peel and tangy flesh. Unlike larger citrus varieties, kumquats are meant to be consumed whole, offering a unique combination of flavors in every bite. The visual appeal of their small, oval shape and vibrant orange color adds to their distinctive charm.

This is also the reason why this plant is popular among citrus fruits to grow at home.

Trivia: the name ‘Fortunella’ is due to Robert Fortune, the botanist who introduced this fruit to Europe for the first time.

Varieties of Kumquats

Kumquats boast a captivating array of varieties that cater to diverse palates and preferences. Among the most notable are the Nagami and Marumi kumquats, each with its own unique characteristics.

The Nagami kumquat, characterized by its oblong shape and slightly pointed end, is the more common variety. Its vibrant orange hue and robust flavor profile, combining a sweet peel with tart flesh, make it a favorite for both culinary use and ornamental purposes. The Nagami kumquat’s versatility extends to its ability to be eaten fresh, added to salads, or used in jams and marmalades.

On the other hand, the Marumi kumquat presents a rounder and more petite appearance. With a sweeter taste than its Nagami counterpart, the Marumi variety is often favored for fresh consumption, making it a delightful snack on its own or a colorful addition to fruit bowls. Its compact size and appealing flavor also contribute to its popularity as an ornamental plant in gardens and landscapes.

Nutritional Content of Kumquats

These small citrus gems are not only admired for their unique flavor but also revered for their impressive nutritional content. Packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, these tiny fruits contribute to a well-rounded and health-conscious diet.

One standout feature of kumquats is their high vitamin C content. A single serving of kumquats provides a significant portion of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C, essential for immune system support, collagen formation, and overall skin health. Additionally, the antioxidant properties of vitamin C in kumquats help combat oxidative stress, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

Kumquats are a rich source of dietary fiber, promoting digestive health and aiding in weight management. The combination of soluble and insoluble fiber in kumquats supports regular bowel movements, prevents constipation, and helps control blood sugar levels.

These citrus fruits also contain various essential minerals, including potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which contribute to maintaining healthy blood pressure, bone density, and muscle function. The potassium content in kumquats is particularly noteworthy, playing a crucial role in fluid balance and cardiovascular health.

Beyond vitamins and minerals, kumquats contain bioactive compounds, such as flavonoids and carotenoids, which possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds may offer additional health benefits, including reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of chronic diseases.

Incorporating kumquats into the diet not only adds a burst of refreshing flavor but also provides a nutritional boost, supporting overall health and well-being. Whether enjoyed fresh, added to salads, or used in culinary creations, kumquats stand as a nutrient-rich addition to a diverse and balanced diet.

Kumquats Health Benefits

What benefits does this fruit bring to our health? This low-calorie fruit is rich in substances that make it a food with remarkable therapeutic properties.

  • It supports and strengthens the immune system.
  • It promotes the functioning of the respiratory and digestive systems.
  • It has a beneficial effect on the nervous system.
  • It has antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and even anti-tumor effects due to the numerous antioxidants present in it.
  • It acts as a mild natural laxative.
  • It benefits vision and skin health thanks to vitamin A.
  • It is beneficial for cardiovascular health due to potassium, which helps stabilize blood pressure, and fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels in the blood.
  • It regulates the body’s water balance due to the presence of potassium and is very useful for the nutrition of athletes.
  • It keeps teeth and bones healthy thanks to calcium and phosphorus.
fresh kumquats picked
Fresh Kumquat fruits picked from a tree.

How to Eat Kumquats

Eating these tiny fruits is a sensory experience. This chapter explores different ways to enjoy kumquats, whether consumed whole, sliced, or incorporated into various dishes. From snacks to salads, the culinary versatility of kumquats enhances the dining experience.

How Many Kumquats Can You Eat Per Day?

Enjoying kumquats in moderation is recommended, with an average serving size of about four to six fruits per day. While these tiny citrus gems are low in calories and packed with nutrients, excessive consumption may lead to digestive discomfort for some individuals. As with any food, it’s essential to listen to your body and maintain a balanced diet. If you have specific health concerns or dietary restrictions, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.

Recipes with Kumquats

Kumquats lend their unique flavor to a variety of culinary creations. This chapter presents a selection of recipes that showcase the versatility of kumquats: enjoy!

Kumquat Jam

This homemade kumquat jam, with its delightful balance of sweetness and citrusy flavor, is a perfect addition to toast, scones, or as a flavorful topping for desserts. Experiment with the recipe by adding spices like cinnamon or vanilla for a unique twist.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups kumquats, washed and sliced (seeds removed)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter (optional, to reduce foaming)

Instructions:

  • Wash the kumquats thoroughly and slice them thinly. Remove the seeds as you go, as they can add bitterness to the jam.
  • In a large saucepan, combine the sliced kumquats, granulated sugar, water, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add butter if using to reduce foaming.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Allow it to cook for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. The kumquats should become soft, and the mixture will thicken.
  • To check if the jam is ready, place a small amount on a cold plate and let it sit for a moment. Run your finger through it; if it wrinkles and holds its shape, it’s done.
  • Once the jam reaches the desired consistency, remove it from heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
  • Pour the jam into sterilized jars, leaving a little space at the top. Seal the jars tightly.
  • Allow the jars to cool completely before storing them in a cool, dark place. Alternatively, refrigerate for shorter-term storage.

Chicken Strips with Kumquats

This is another easy to make recipe: this delightful and savory-sweet dish combines the tenderness of chicken with the unique citrusy burst of these little fruits.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1 cup kumquats, sliced and seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sesame seeds and chopped green onions for garnish
  • Cooked rice or noodles for serving

Instructions:

  • In a bowl, combine the chicken strips with soy sauce, minced garlic, grated ginger, salt, and pepper. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 15-30 minutes.
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the marinated chicken strips and cook until browned on all sides and cooked through. This typically takes about 5-7 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, mix together honey and rice vinegar. Pour this mixture over the cooked chicken in the skillet.
  • Add the sliced kumquats to the skillet and toss everything together. Allow the kumquats to cook for about 2-3 minutes until they are slightly softened but still retain their texture and tangy flavor.
  • Taste the dish and adjust the seasoning if needed. You can add more soy sauce, honey, or salt and pepper according to your preference.
  • Serve the chicken strips and kumquats over cooked rice or noodles. Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped green onions for added flavor and presentation.

Kumquat Syrup

You can experiment a versatile syrup that adds a burst of sunshine to your favorite drinks and dishes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups kumquats, sliced and seeds removed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon organic lemon juice
  • Optional: a few slices of fresh ginger or a cinnamon stick for added flavor

Instructions:

  • Wash the kumquats thoroughly, slice them, and remove the seeds. If you prefer a milder syrup, you can blanch the sliced kumquats in boiling water for a minute and then drain.
  • In a saucepan, combine the sliced kumquats, granulated sugar, water, and lemon juice. If desired, add a few slices of fresh ginger or a cinnamon stick to enhance the flavor.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir occasionally to dissolve the sugar completely.
  • Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for about 15-20 minutes. The kumquats should become soft, and the liquid will thicken slightly.
  • (Optional) If you prefer a smoother syrup, you can use a potato masher to gently mash the kumquats in the saucepan. Alternatively, strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove any pulp.
  • Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, transfer it to a clean, sterilized glass jar or bottle. Store it in the refrigerator. It can be kept for several weeks.
  • Use the kumquat syrup as a delightful addition to beverages like cocktails, lemonades, or even as a topping for desserts and pancakes.

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