Its earliest historical reference appears in a 12th century Chinese Literature. Kumquat is native to Asia –Pacific region and has been cultivated in Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan and Southeast Asia. In 1846, it was introduced to Europe and later on to North America by early settlers.
Kumquat is originally classified as Citrus japonica in 1784 and was reclassified in a segregated genus, Fotunella in 1915. This fruit belongs to a family of a small fruit bearing tree in the flowering plant family called Rutaceae. Even though kumquat looks like an orange, technically it is not a citrus fruit.
Kumquat is a slow growing evergreen short tree reaching a height of 2.5 to 4.5 meters. They have dense branches with small thorns, and the leaves are glossy dark green with white flowers similar to other citrus flowers. A tree is capable of bearing hundreds to even a thousand fruits each year. It’s in season from late autumn to mid winter.
This wonderful fruit can be eaten skin and all and when you do, it gives you a unique sweet and sour flavor. Since you will be eating the peel, its best to buy those that are organically grown, and wash them thoroughly before eating. There are two well-known types, the Nagami kumquat and Marumi kumquat.
Kumquat is a premium source of high nutritional value. This little fruit is loaded with vitamins, phytonutrients and dietary fibers. It is loaded with omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants and pectin. It has zero cholesterol and saturated fat with low sodium and fat. Kumquat is an immune boosting and cancer fighting superfruit.
It’s a great source of vitamin C and with just a 100 grams you can get your full RDA and 71 calories, that’s about 6-7 kumquats. With enough vitamin C from your diet, you get a much stronger immune system and less risk of developing cataracts. Most of the calories come from carbohydrates and sugar making it ideal for your weight loss program. Also great for your snack and to stave off hunger as it contains a modest amount of dietary fiber. Fiber also helps in your digestive process and move the food through the intestines.
Kumquat also contains a rich amount of d-limonene, a compound that is known to fight cancer cells and with an effective anti-inflammatory properties. It was observed in a study that the oils from Nagami kumquat is able to stop the growth of prostate cancer. Other kumquat cures include cough, arthritis, cold, acid reflux and sore throat.
Go easy on kumquat, especially for first timers, the peel is sweet, but the rest is all tart tart tart! May cause your stomach to ache.
Fun Fact: Kumquat has gained rave as a garnish for cocktail drinks, even replacing the more familiar olives on martini.
Stay fit. Live life. Eat healthy.
Photo by: http://www.aicr.org/assets/slideshow/funky-weird-fruits-slideshow/kumquats.jpg