November 2nd, 2007
Enjoy these refreshing fruit no matter where you live.
Kumquats have been called “the little gems of the citrus family.” These small fruit-bearing trees, native to China, are much hardier than other citrus plants, such as oranges. What makes them unique is not only their tiny size (1-1.5″) but the fact that their ultra-thin skin is sweet and their flesh is tangy and sour, providing a rich contrast in flavor.
In addition being eaten fresh, kumquats can also be preserved in sugar syrup; they are often served as dessert in Chinese restaurants. For candying, the fruits are soaked in hot water with baking soda, cut open the next day and cooked briefly each day for 3 days in heavy syrup, then dried and sugared. Kumquats are excellent for making marmalade, either alone or combined with other citrus. Kumquat sauce is made by cooking chopped, seeded fruits with honey, orange juice, salt and butter.
The kumquat tree is slow-growing, shrubby and compact, reaching a maximum height of 6-10 ft. The glossy dark green foliage produces white flowers that are sweetly fragrant before setting the oblong fruit that normally ripens from late fall through mid winter. The fruit is showy particularly in the winter months when there is so little color. They make excellent container plants in addition to being planted in the garden.
If you do not have room in your garden, or if the weather is just too cold, plant one of these beauties in a container and you can enjoy the great glossy green foliage, the wonderfully fragrant flowers as well as the attractive and delectable fruit all at once!