Discovering the Limequat, a Cross Between the Lime and the Kumquat

Limequat is a captivating citrus hybrid, renowned for its fusion of lime zestiness and kumquat sweetness

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By Alex

limequat

Today we’ll discover a citrus marvel: the Limequat, a delightful fusion of lime‘s zestiness and kumquats tangy sweetness. Join us on a journey to discover the origins, characteristics, and culinary versatility of this unique fruit, as we delve into its history, cultivation, and some mouthwatering recipes.

Limequat, What is it?

The Limequat, a fascinating hybrid fruit, blends the zesty essence of lime with the tangy sweetness of kumquat. Like the latter, limequat can be eaten with its peel, has a sweet and sour taste, and can also be grown in pots. It boasts a unique flavor profile, making it a delightful addition to culinary adventures.

With its small, round shape resembling a lime, and a vibrant green hue, the Limequat is not only visually appealing but also offers a burst of refreshing citrus flavor.

Created in the early 1900s, it has only recently made its way to our tables.

History and Origins of Limequat

The origin of the Limequat traces back to the early 20th century, where it was first developed through crossbreeding experiments.

In the early 1900s, botanist Walter Swingle of the Department of Agriculture in Florida had the idea of ​​combining two fruits: the lime and the kumquat. The result is the limequat, a citrus fruit with an oval shape and yellow-green peel. Today, it is cultivated in many countries including China, Japan, Spain, Israel, Malaysia, South Africa, Armenia, Great Britain, and the United States.

Limequat Citrus Tree: Notable Characteristics

The Limequat tree (scientific name Citrofortunella floridana) appears as a small bushy shrub with leaves resembling those of a lemon. Between autumn and early winter, it produces abundant fruits very similar to kumquats, but slightly larger.

Limequat trees are evergreen shrubs that belong to the Rutaceae family, known for their citrus fruits. These small trees can reach heights of up to 6 to 10 feet and feature glossy green leaves, fragrant white blossoms, and small, round fruit that ripens to a vibrant green or yellow color.

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Varieties

Several Limequat varieties exist, each with its own unique characteristics in terms of flavor, size, and hardiness. Common varieties include the Eustis Limequat, also known for its cold tolerance, and the Lakeland Limequat, prized for its juicy and aromatic fruit.

Another limequat variety is the Tavares Limequat, which displays orange coloration reminiscent of the kumquat and pink flower buds, a trait commonly found in West Indian limes.

Limequat: Fruit Description

The Limequat, a captivating citrus hybrid, boasts a distinctive appearance and flavor profile. Sporting a petite, round shape akin to a lime, its smooth skin transitions from vibrant green to yellow as it ripens.

The fruit typically measures about one to two inches in diameter. Its thin peel encapsulates juicy flesh that combines the tartness of lime with the subtle sweetness of kumquat. Unlike many citrus varieties, the Limequat is often consumed whole, including its peel, offering a harmonious blend of flavors in each bite.

Upon slicing open a Limequat, one is greeted with a burst of citrus aroma, hinting at its refreshing taste. The flesh is tender and succulent, packed with citrusy juices that invigorate the palate. Its flavor profile is a delightful fusion of tangy and sweet notes, making it a versatile ingredient in various culinary applications. Whether enjoyed fresh as a snack, squeezed into beverages, or incorporated into dishes for a zesty twist, the Limequat never fails to impress with its vibrant taste and visual appeal.

How to Eat It

There are several delightful ways to enjoy the Limequat’s unique flavor and texture. One simple method is to eat it raw, either whole or sliced, allowing you to experience the delightful combination of tartness and sweetness in every bite. Since the peel is thin and tender, it can be consumed along with the juicy flesh, enhancing the citrusy experience.

For those looking to incorporate Limequats into their culinary creations, they can be used in various cooking and baking applications. Their tangy flavor makes them a perfect addition to salads, salsas, and marinades, adding a refreshing zing to your dishes. Additionally, Limequats can be juiced and used to make refreshing drinks and beverages such as cocktails, mocktails, or flavored water.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try using Limequats in desserts like pies, tarts, or sorbets to add a unique twist to traditional recipes. Their vibrant citrus flavor pairs wonderfully with sweet ingredients, creating a delightful balance of flavors.

Whether enjoyed fresh, juiced, or incorporated into recipes, Limequats offer a versatile and flavorful addition to any culinary repertoire, inviting you to explore the endless possibilities of this exotic citrus fruit.

When to Buy It

Limequats are typically available during the winter months, from late fall to early spring, when they are in season. Look for them in specialty grocery stores, farmers’ markets, or online fruit retailers to enjoy them at their peak freshness.

Limequat Calories

In terms of calories, Limequats are relatively low, making them a guilt-free indulgence. A single Limequat contains few calories, making it a nutritious snack option for those watching their calorie intake, with no fats whatsoever!

One fruit (approximately 67 grams in weight) provides only 20 calories, distributed as follows:

  • 100% carbohydrates
  • 0% protein
  • 0% fat

Limequat Properties

Limequats offer several health benefits due to their rich nutritional profile. These citrus gems are a rich source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient known for its immune-boosting properties. Additionally, Limequats contain antioxidants that help combat oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, promoting overall health and well-being.

Moreover, Limequats are low in calories and fat, making them a guilt-free snack option for those watching their calorie intake. Their high fiber content contributes to digestive health by promoting regularity and preventing constipation.

The presence of various minerals, such as potassium and calcium, further enhances the nutritional value of Limequats. Potassium plays a crucial role in regulating blood pressure and supporting heart health, while calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth.

Furthermore, the natural compounds found in Limequats, such as flavonoids and limonoids, have been linked to various health benefits, including reducing the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.

These fruits offer not only a delightful culinary experience but also a plethora of health-promoting properties, making them a valuable addition to a balanced diet. Incorporating Limequats into your regular meal plan can help boost your immune system, support digestion, and contribute to overall wellness.

How to Grow Limequats

Growing Limequats is a rewarding endeavor that can yield a bountiful harvest of fresh citrus fruit. These hardy trees thrive in subtropical climates and are relatively easy to cultivate with proper care.

To grow Limequats, start by selecting a suitable location with well-drained soil and ample sunlight. Limequat trees prefer slightly acidic soil but can adapt to a range of soil types as long as they have good drainage. Plant your Limequat tree in the spring or fall, ensuring that it has enough space to spread its roots.

Water your Limequat tree regularly, especially during dry spells, to keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Mulching around the base of the tree can help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Prune your Limequat tree annually to maintain its shape and promote healthy growth. Remove any dead or damaged branches, as well as any suckers that may sprout from the base of the tree.

Fertilize your Limequat tree with a balanced citrus fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions, typically in the spring and summer months. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of fruit production.

Protect your Limequat tree from frost and cold temperatures, especially when it is young, by covering it with frost cloth or bringing it indoors during freezing weather.

With proper care, Limequat trees can be grown in home gardens or orchards, providing a bountiful harvest of fresh fruit.

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Limequat, Uses in Cooking

Limequats are incredibly versatile in the kitchen and can be used in a variety of culinary applications. Their tangy flavor pairs well with both sweet and savory dishes, adding a refreshing citrusy twist. Use Limequats to make marmalades, jams, sauces, dressings, or desserts such as pies, tarts, and sorbets.

Recipes with Limequat

Here are three tantalizing recipes featuring Limequats:

Limequat Marmalade

Ingredients:

  • 500g (approximately 1 pound) of Limequats
  • 300g (approximately 1.5 cups) of granulated sugar
  • 250ml (approximately 1 cup) of water

Instructions:

  • Wash the Limequats thoroughly and slice them thinly, removing any seeds.
  • In a saucepan, combine the sliced Limequats with sugar and water.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens to a jam-like consistency.
  • While the marmalade is still hot, carefully pour it into sterilized jars, leaving a little space at the top.
  • Seal the jars tightly and allow them to cool completely before storing them in the refrigerator.
  • Enjoy your homemade Limequat marmalade on toast, crackers, or as a delicious topping for yogurt or oatmeal.

Grilled Limequat Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 4-5 Limequats
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • In a mixing bowl, combine olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper to create a marinade.
  • Place the chicken breasts in the marinade, ensuring they are evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  • Wash the Limequats and slice them thinly.
  • Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and place them on the grill.
  • Arrange the sliced Limequats on top of each chicken breast.
  • Grill the chicken for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until cooked through and the Limequats are slightly caramelized.
  • Remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
  • Serve the grilled Limequat chicken with your choice of side dishes, such as rice or roasted vegetables.

Risotto with Limequat, Red Fruits and Sichuan Pepper

Ingredients:

  • 280 grams of rice
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 package of mixed red fruits (strawberries, raspberries, or cranberries)
  • 2 limequats Sichuan pepper (to taste)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 celery stalk
  • salt and oil (to taste)

Instructions:

  • Prepare the broth (celery, carrot, bay leaf, garlic, and salt) and separately sauté the thinly sliced onion.
  • In a separate bowl, prepare the limequat emulsion: combine the fruit juice with oil and whisk until obtaining a thick emulsion.
  • Start cooking the risotto by toasting the rice, pouring in the wine, and then allowing the alcoholic part to evaporate.
  • Then add the onion and let it flavor for a few minutes.
  • Proceed with the cooking by adding the broth gradually.
  • Meanwhile, using an immersion blender, puree the red fruits with a splash of oil and a pinch of salt.
  • When the risotto is almost cooked, stir in some grated Grana Padano cheese.
  • Plate by serving a spoonful of rice on each plate, along with a few drops of the red fruit sauce and some drops of the citrus emulsion. Garnish with some halved blackberries and blueberries, thin slices of limequat, red currants, and a sprinkle of pepper.

In conclusion, the Limequat is a delightful citrus hybrid that offers a burst of flavor and a plethora of culinary possibilities. Whether eaten fresh, juiced, or incorporated into various dishes, Limequats are sure to tantalize the taste buds and brighten any meal with their vibrant citrusy essence.

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