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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kumquats Revisited

Back in March, I wrote a blog post about kumquats in response to a question from a Meebo patron. That question was about the number of kumquats exported from Hawaii each year. Now, I have a new question from a patron who just wants to know more about this interesting little fruit.

Kumquat plants have evergreen leaves, sweet-scented white flowers, and small, orange-yellow edible fruits which are eaten fresh or in preserve are native to East Asia, probably originating in China, and are closely related to the orange and other citrus fruits. About the size of large olives or small plums, they have a bright orange-yellow color. They also have a round or oval shape.  Actually, they look a lot like tiny oranges, but their taste can range from sweet to mildly acidic. They are harvested beginning in November and have the ability to bloom several times in a season.

Kumquats, also called kinkan, can be eaten in a variety of ways. They can be cooked, candied, canned, made into preserves, and used in salads. The most common way to eat them, though, is to simply eat them whole and raw, even the peel, which is sweet. Three or four types of them are cultivated as house and hedge plants in the Gulf Coast states and in California.

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