Kumquats are a strange little fruit all the way from Asia. Kumquats look like tiny oranges. They are similar in color but are the shape and size of grapes. Kumquats are often used to make marmalades and jams, although you can eat them straight off the tree. When are Kumquats in season?
Even though Kumquats are often used as ornamental plants, they can be eaten. Kumquats have a short harvesting period and take several months to ripen. Depending on the variant, they are in season between November and April. When kumquats are ripe, they are bright orange and feel firm.
When Are Kumquats In Season?
There are many different kumquat varieties. However, the two most popular varieties found in the U.S. are the Nagami and Meiwa varieties.
Nagami kumquats are the most common and have an oval shape. They look like orange grapes. Meiwa kumquats, on the other hand, have a rounder shape and are generally a bit sweeter.
In the U.S, Kumquats are primarily grown in California and Florida. In California, Kumquats are in season from January to April. In Florida, you can harvest Kumquats between November and March.
Kumquats produce beautiful white flowers. Once the fruit forms, the kumquat fruit takes about a month to turn from green to a bright orange color. This is when the Kumquats are ready for harvest. The kumquat is also a beautiful plant that is often used for decoration.
Kumquats grow well in pots if the pot has sufficient drainage. Kumquats planted in pots should have the same seasonal harvest time as those grown commercially. If you are in an area with frosty winters, you should move your kumquat inside during the winter.
When And How Do You Harvest Kumquats?
Before harvesting your Kumquats, you need to select the ripe ones. A ripe kumquat is bright orange and will look plump. Ripe kumquats will feel firm but squishy to the touch. If the kumquats still feel hard, leave them a bit longer before harvesting.
Remember that kumquats do not ripen once they are picked from the tree. Therefore, you shouldn’t harvest your kumquats unless they are completely ripe.
If your Kumquats are ripe, you can use a pair of scissors to cut them off the tree. Kumquats were initially picked for ornamental use only. A piece of branch and some leaves were cut off with the fruit to serve as decoration.
Of course, you can still harvest kumquats in this way if you wish to use them for decoration. In contrast to the dark, waxy leaves, the fruit’s bright color will make for a great cake topper or table centerpiece arrangement.
However, suppose you wish to eat the kumquats. In that case, it is best only to trim the fruit off the tree as this will leave the tree looking pretty, and it will also be able to produce more fruit in the coming seasons.
What Can You Do With Harvested Kumquats?
While you can eat kumquats straight from the tree, many people dislike the tart taste of the fruit. The skin is actually the sweetest part of the kumquat fruit, while the juice inside is quite sour, and the pips are bitter. With this being the case, most people either candy their kumquats or use them for marmalade.
How To Store Kumquats
If you have too many kumquats to use at once, or you would like to use them later, you can store them in a few ways. Here is how to store kumquats:
- Wash the kumquats with clean water to remove pesticides and chemicals. The entire fruit, including the skin, is edible, so it’s important to remove anything that could cause harm.
- Dry the kumquats by allowing them to air dry on a drying rack or towel, or simply pat dry with a clean towel.
- Store the kumquats in a clean container at room temperature. They will stay fresh for a few days. If they start to rot or grow mold, toss them in the trash or your composter.
- Store the kumquats in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about two weeks to keep them fresh for longer. Discard any kumquats that have bad spots or feel soft.
How Can You Use Kumquats?
Some people like to roll the kumquat between their fingers before eating it because it helps release the aroma. It also helps to mix the sweet flavor of the skin with the tart pulp.
You may also be wondering how kumquats are enjoyed in their place of origin. Kumquats originated in China and Japan. In China, Kumquats have symbolic meaning and treat certain illnesses.
Kumquats are in season in February in Asia. This is the same time as the Chinese Lunar, or New Year, festival. In Asia, kumquats are seen as a symbol of good fortune and health. Therefore, people often receive kumquats or kumquat plants as gifts during this time.
There is a variety of other ways in which you can enjoy eating kumquats:
- For example, candied kumquats or kumquat marmalade is a common way to eat kumquats in America.
- If you want to eat kumquats fresh, you can eat the whole fruit or spit out the bitter pips. Alternatively, pierce the kumquat’s skin and squeeze out the tart juice before eating the skin and flesh.
- Kumquats are used to make tea. People will often brew tea with kumquats and honey. This tea is said to help with cough, phlegm, and other lung diseases.
- Kumquats are often mixed with soy milk to boost vitamin C intake.
- In Asia, Kumquats are preserved in salt or sugar to be used throughout the year.
Can You Preserve Kumquats?
Because kumquats are only in season for a short while, many people like to preserve them for later use. They are rolled in salt or sugar in Asia and then sealed in an airtight container.
You cannot freeze a whole kumquat, as the fruit’s texture will be squishy once thawed. However, you could also squeeze the pulp out of your kumquat and then freeze the pulp. This pulp can be used in baked goods or added to warm water for a soothing drink.
You can also zest the kumquats and freeze the rinds to use in dishes. First, place the rinds on a baking tray and freeze them until they are solid. When the kumquat rinds are frozen, you can put them in a freezer bag and store them for up to a year.
If you have never eaten a kumquat fruit before, don’t miss the next opportunity you have. Although not everyone enjoys their taste, these unique little fruits are indeed worth a try.