Eating a kumquat is as easy as eating a grape – there’s no peeling necessary; you just pop this bite-sized citrus fruit into your mouth peel and all and enjoy the burst of sweet-tart flavor over your tongue! In contrast with other citrus fruits, the peel of the kumquat is sweet and edible, while the juicy flesh is tart. If you’ve wondered what does a kumquat taste like, it’s this two-part taste sensation that pleases most kumquat fans, but if you think you would prefer sweet kumquat flavor over tart kumquat flavor, you can nip off one end and squeeze out the juice before devouring the sweet peel. (The only caveat is that, if you’re allergic to the peel of common citrus fruits, you may need to pass up kumquats.)
What is a kumquat?
Kumquats were originally grown in China (the word “kumquat” means “golden orange” in Chinese). Nowadays, kumquat trees grow in several other countries, including warmer areas of the United States such as Florida and California. The kumquat size is comparable to that of a grape. Kumquats are the smallest members of the citrus family.
Kumquat Benefits In Terms of Health
How big is a kumquat serving size? Because the individual kumquat fruit are so small, a full serving equals five kumquats. This makes them a great (and healthy!) grab-and-go snack.
A serving of 5 whole kumquats contains:
Carbs: 16 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Fat: 1 gram
Fiber: 6.5 grams
Vitamin A: 6% of the RDI
Vitamin C: 73% of the RDI
Calcium: 6% of the RDI
Manganese: 7% of the RDI
Kumquats also supply smaller amounts of several B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Kumquats are also rich in plant compounds, including flavonoids, phytosterols and essential oils. The fruit’s flavonoids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which may help protect against heart disease and cancer.
Can Kumquats Help You Fight Off Sickness?
In folk medicine in some Asian countries, the kumquat has been used to treat colds, coughs and other inflammation of the respiratory tract. Today, we know that there are certain compounds in kumquats that support your immune system. Kumquats are a super source of immune-supportive vitamin C.
Are Kumquats Good for Weight Loss?
Did you know that the plant compounds in kumquats may help fight obesity and associated diseases, including heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes? Scientists are testing this in mice using extract from kumquat peels. In a preliminary study, normal-weight mice fed a high-fat diet for eight weeks gained significantly more weight than mice given a high-fat diet plus kumquat extract or a low-fat control diet (all groups consumed about the same amount of calories).
How to Use Kumquats
Of course, eating them out of hand is the most popular way to enjoy kumquats (many people suggest popping the whole fruit into your mouth and biting in, which mixes the sweet and tart flavors, providing you with that unique kumquat taste). But kumquats can also be sliced into salads or used to make sauces, jellies and baked goods. They make attractive and tasty garnishes, too!
Where (and When) to Get Kumquats
In the United States, kumquat season is from November through June, but availability may vary depending on where you live. The most common variety sold in the United States is the Nagami Kumquat, which has an oval shape. The Meiwa Kumquat is also popular, and is round and a bit sweeter. Check for kumquats in supermarkets, gourmet food stores and Asian grocery stores. If you live in a state where the fruits are grown, you also may find them at farmers markets.