A small round to oval citrus fruit, the kumquat resembles a tiny orange. The kumquat grows on trees that originated in China. It can be found in California, Florida, the Mediterranean countries, China, Japan, Indochina, Indonesia, Israel, Peru, and Brazil.
Kumquat hybrids, when crossed with other citrus fruits, include the limequat, lemonquat, orangequat, and the calamondin (a cross with the mandarin orange).
Buying and storing tips
Kumquats are occasionally sold with a decorative stem and leaves attached. Avoid fruits with damaged skin and those that feel soft.
The peak season for kumquats is November through February.
Preparation, Uses, and Tips
In this fruit, the rind is edible, tender, and sweet, while the flesh can be dry and very tart, compared with oranges. Kumquats are usually eaten raw, as whole fruit, excluding the seeds. They make a striking garnish, especially when used with the leaves still attached. As with other citrus fruit, kumquats can be candied, marinated, prepared as marmalade, added to fruit salad, poached, or preserved whole.
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.
Health benefits and concerns
Allergies and sensitivities (food and chemical)
A low-allergen diet, also known as an elimination diet, is often recommended to people with suspected food allergies in order to find out if avoiding common allergen foods gives relief from symptoms. This diet eliminates foods and food additives considered to be common allergens, including citrus fruits. Some popular books offer guidance to people who want to attempt this type of diet. Most elimination diets are quite restrictive and increase the likelihood of nutritional deficiencies. A successful elimination diet is usually followed by reintroduction of eliminated foods one at a time, to see which ones are truly allergens for the individual person and therefore need to be eliminated indefinitely. Strict avoidance of allergenic foods for a period of time (usually months or years) sometimes results in the foods no longer causing allergic reactions. Restrictive elimination diets and food reintroduction should be supervised by a qualified healthcare professional.
Allergy to foods and food additives is a common cause of hives, especially in chronic cases. Citrus fruits are among those foods most commonly reported to trigger hives. Numerous clinical studies demonstrate that diets that are free of foods that commonly trigger allergic reactions typically produce significant reductions in symptoms in 50–75% of people with chronic hives. People with hives should investigate the possibility that food allergies are causing their problem by consulting with a doctor.
Citric acid is found in citrus fruits and may protect against kidney stone formation. Lemons are the best food source commonly available. One preliminary trial found that drinking 2 liters (approximately 2 quarts) of lemonade per day improved the quality of the urine in ways that are associated with stone prevention. Lemonade was far more effective than orange juice. The lemonade was made by mixing 4 oz lemon juice with enough water to make 2 liters. The smallest amount of sweetener possible should be added to make the taste acceptable. Further study is necessary, however, to determine if lemonade can prevent recurrence of kidney stones