The kumquat is a type of citrus fruit that has most of the qualities of oranges. However, the kumquat is more like a large grape in appearance and is mostly oval-shaped. The small size and shape of kumquats make them amazingly delicious bite-sized fruit that is loaded with numerous vitamins, essential minerals, and antioxidants.
Kumquats are not always very sweet. They might be quite sour sometimes and not very juicy from the inside. The most amazing thing about this fruit is that it is supposed to be eaten with its peel. The peel of kumquats is very nutritious and sweet.
History of Kumquats
Kumquats are originally the cultivar of China. During the 1700s, the Chinese people first grew the kumquat trees. It was introduced in Europe and America around the 1800s. Nevertheless, they are now widely cultivated in warmer climates of America, including Florida and California. The word kumquat is also derived from the Chinese language, which translates to “golden orange.”
Types of Kumquats
Nagami kumquats are bright orange with a significantly thicker peel than the others. They are oval-shaped and medium-sized—their pulp offers a mixture of sweet and tart flavor.
Marumi kumquats are the most ancient of all the varieties that originated in China. They are small and round with yellowish-orange skin. This variety of kumquats is not very juicy.
Meiwa kumquats are a cross between Nagami and Marumi. They are large and are mostly round with smooth skin. They are very sweet.
- Nordmann Seedless
These kumquats have no seeds. They have a teardrop shape and a flavor that is similar to the nagami kumquats.
Fukushu kumquats are a hybrid product of mandarin and kumquats. They are mostly candied and available in China. They are round and large with a thin peel that is purely edible.
- Centennial Variegated
Centennial Variegated kumquats are grown on the Four Winds tree. This type of kumquats is large and striped, which appears very similar to oranges.
- Eustis Limequats
These kumquats are a cross between Marumi kumquats and West Indian lime. They have a thin peel and acidic flavor.
- Indio Mandarinquats
A hybrid of nagami kumquats and Dancy mandarin, Indio mandarinquats are bright orange and bell-shaped. Their taste is sourer than the other varieties. They are mostly utilized in making spreads such as marmalades.
Nutritional Overview of the Kumquats
Kumquats are extremely popular because they are an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber. According to the US Department of Agriculture, kumquats have more fiber than any other fresh fruit. So, it is highly recommended to incorporate this fruit into your daily diet. Kumquats also have high water content (about 80.5g per 100g serving).
A 100g serving of kumquats contains:
|Total fats (lipid)||0.86||g|
Besides these nutrients, kumquats are also a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids. They also have minimal amounts of some very critical vitamins, such as B and E.
1. A Significant Source of Antioxidants
Flavonoids, such as phytosterols and essential oils, are the beneficial plant compounds that are present in kumquats. These flavonoids have significant antioxidant properties. They can mostly be found in the fruit’s peel rather than in the pulp. Flavonoids are also anti-inflammatory and thus help protect against chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
2. Great for Curbing Blood Cholesterol Levels
High blood cholesterol levels are claimed to be one amongst the top factors that might lead to heart disease or a stroke. When cholesterol is absorbed in our bodies for a longer time, it starts to accumulate in our arteries leading to our heart.
Think of cholesterol accumulating in the arteries as mud accumulating in your garden pipe – obstructing the blood from passing through and reaching to the organs. This condition renders the heart to pump harder so that the blood can pass through the arteries; thus, resulting in exhaustion of the heart.
One of the types of flavonoids present in kumquats is phytosterols. These flavonoids have a chemical structure that resembles the one of cholesterol. This property of phytosterols helps in blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the body. Less absorption of cholesterol means lower risks of heart disease and other related problems.
3. Boosts our immunity
Since kumquats are rich in vitamin C, they have been utilized as a treatment for cold, flu, cough, and respiratory problems in folk medicine for a long time. Scientific investigations also reveal that vitamin C-rich kumquats are very effective for bolstering the immunity of our body.
Vitamin C compounds in kumquats enhance our immunity by producing and activating Natural Killer Cells (also known as NK cells). Beta-cryptoxanthin is a type of carotenoid in kumquats that play a significant role in this process. These cells defend us from pathogens and external infections. Studies also claim that these natural killer cells are the potential destroyer of tumor cells.
4. Helpful in Lowering Obesity
Animal studies have found that the plant compounds in kumquats are extremely effective in preventing obesity and related disorders, such as heart disease and type-2 diabetes. The peel of kumquats is ascertained to be rich in flavonoids, poncirin, and neocriocitin. When the extract from the kumquat peels was given to animal subjects in a study, it directly lowered the growth of fat cells in the body.
It was also inferred that poncirin might play a potential role in regulating fat cells and their growth. These findings are crucial to numerous obesity-related problems in humans.
5. Helps Soothe the Digestion
Fiber is the most go-to compound when you think about digestive problems. It helps soothe the digestive process and slows it down so that you can easily treat a runny stomach. Also, fiber is widely regarded as an effective laxative that helps relieve constipation. It adds bulk to the stool and makes it easier to pass.
Kumquats are loaded with dietary fiber. They are an excellent source of preventing as well as treating discomforts and problems related to digestion. The fiber content in kumquats also helps regulate your eating habits and might play a significant role in following a weight-loss plan effectively. Fiber slows down the digestion process, which helps you keep satiated for a long time.
How to Incorporate Kumquats in Your Diet?
It is best to consume kumquats as they are – after washing, of course. The peel of kumquats is very juicy and nutritious as compared to the very sweet pulp. The pulp of kumquats is very tart. If you don’t prefer the sour flavor, you can always squeeze the juice out of kumquat and pop it in your mouth along with the peel.
If you want to serve kumquats to your kids, then it is best to soften their peel before serving. To soften them, let the kumquats soak in boiling water for about 20 seconds and rinse them with cold water. This will also prevent any possible choking hazard for the kids.
Tips for Buying Kumquats
- As kumquats are seasonal fruits, it is best to opt for them when their season is at the peak. It means that in the United States, you should ideally buy them between June and November.
- Do not wait for the end of the season to get your hands on them, as the quality may be a tad bit comprised.
- Though, the kumquat season starts from June and lasts till November, the availability of this fruit may be different in different states.
- Go for the ones that are plump and firm when you squeeze them. Select them accordingly.
- Also, keep in mind that the orange kumquats are ripened and not the green ones.
- For longer life, it is better to refrigerate kumquats. When refrigerated, they can last for about two weeks. On the other hand, if you put them on the countertop, they will only last a couple of days.
Things You Can Make Out of Kumquats
- You can cook and blend kumquats to make marmalades, jellies, jam, chutneys, and marinades
- Kumquats also make delicious meat sauces
- They are super hit in a salad bowl and add the tinge of citrus
- Kumquat pie also tastes divine
- You can try candied kumquats as a healthy snack to obtain all the nutrition this fruit offers
Though they have an unusual name, kumquats offer a lot of different nutrients and minerals that our body requires. Their peel is extraordinarily nutritious, supplying a significant amount of antioxidants to our body. Kumquats also have high water content, which makes them very hydrating. You can grab them on the go as they are bite-sized and are supposed to be eaten with the peel.