The indio mandarinquat is a variety of mandinquat, which is itself a cross between a mandarin and a kumquat. It was discovered as an open-pollinated seedling from an unknown pollen parent and a Nagami kumquat.
Read on to learn how to grow one of these tart, sweet, hardy fruits yourself, and how to cook and bake indio mandarinquats into sweet treats!
Characteristics of the Indio Mandarinquat
Ranging in size from 2 – 4 cm in circumference, which is larger than the average kumquat, this citrus fruit with seeds is small, elongated and round, and dark orange in color, and has edible skin and flesh, which means they can be eaten whole! The rind has a glossy, pebbled textured and embedded in the flesh, which divides into six – seven segments, you’ll find between three and ten seeds.
The tree is small to medium in size with long and narrow leaves, trunks, and branches. It flowers through the colder months and is often bred resistant to common diseases, making it easier to grow at home.
Cooking and Eating the Indio Mandarinquat
What Do Indio Mandarinquats Taste Like?
Mandarinquats are sweet sweet and tangy, and have a juicy, soft texture. They are perfect for both sweet and savory combinations.
Ideal Flavor Pairings
Mandarinquats pair well with basics like fennel, chicory, fresh herbs, balsamic vinegar, and sesame oil. Meats like pork and chicken, as well as richer flavors like mascarpone cheese, toasted almonds, and vanilla, also add a creative twist.
The Indio Mandarinquat in Cooking, Baking, and Snacking
The fruit can be eaten raw, boiled, and preserved, as well as sliced into salads, used as garnish over meat, or mixed into baked goods. The juice can be squeezed into marinades, syrups, purees, cocktails, and vinaigrettes.
The fruit will keep for around two days at room temperature and up to two weeks when refrigerated, making it easy to cook and bake with.
The indio mandarinquat makes a wonderful base for a marmalade. Martha Stewart has a great recipe indio-mandarinquat-Vanilla Bean Marmalade that you can follow here. To complement the bitter taste, you can eat the fruit raw with some sugar sprinkled over the citrusy flesh. This spring friseé salad with mandarinquat dressing from frieda’s is ideal for a refreshing summer meal.
Due to their similar flavor, you can often substitute indio mandarinquats in for recipes that call for kumquats or mandarins. Check out our guides on kumquats, and mandarins, which include cooking, baking, and growing tips.
Health Benefits of Indio Mandarinquats
Mandarinquats are a great source of vitamin C and dietary fiber, as well as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. D-limonene in the fruit’s rind give it its fragrant scent and can help detox parts the body.
Growing Indio Mandarinquats at Home
Mandarinquats are available for a short season in the winter through early spring.
Where to Plant
You can buy a young tree potted and replant it in your garden, where it grows to a height of eight to ten feet tall, though you can keep it smaller with judicious pruning. They grow best in Zones 8 – 10 and make gorgeous ornamental lawn trees.
For colder climates, you can keep the tree in a pot indoors or outdoors, depending on the season. The plant should be covered for protection or brought indoors if temperatures drop below 26 degrees Fahrenheit.
Basic Planting and Growing Instructions
These trees need little water and should never sit in standing water, so a pot with good drainage is important. Regular, infrequent deep watering is better for citrus trees than more frequent shallow sprinkles.
The indio mandarinquat prefers slightly acidic soils, so be sure that the water pH is compatible with your plant. If your plant’s leaves are yellowing, the pH of the water might be too high.
The soil quality is key to successful growing. Use an acid-based potting soil like Dr. Earth Acid Lovers Organic and Natural Planting Mix, which you can buy from Nature Hills, and fertilize with an acid fertilizer.
When planting, make sure that the hole is about twice the size of the root mass and tapers down into the center of the hole. The fertilizer should only be added to the soil surface after planting, not while filling the soil into the pot. Also, be sure to avoid air pockets. Use a premium soil mix designed for citrus or a 5x1x1 mix with 5-parts coarse bark, 1-part Coarse perlite, and 1-part premium soil mix.
Full sun exposure for about hours daily is ideal. Southern exposure in a wind-free spot will yield the best results.
Pests and Diseases That Afflict the Indio Mandarinquat
Huanglongbing (HLB), Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), citrus black spot (CBS), and sweet orange scab (SOS) are all common citrus diseases. Luckily, indio manarinquats are bred to be protected against citrus canker (CC), another common disease. To prevent these, inspect your trees regularly, be sure to dry out citrus tree clippings or double bag them before disposing of the plant material, and only buy trees from licensed locations that use registered budwood.
Citrus greening, Alternaria brown spot, citrus scab, greasy spot, phytophthora, and sooty mold are other common diseased. Aphids, citrus leaf miners, the citrus psyllid, and citrus rust mites are common pests. Each has a unique cause but not all have a cure, so prevention is key. By following the correct soil, water, and sun requirements, as well as monitoring the plant regularly, most of these afflictions are unlikely.
Pollination of the Indio Mandarinquat
Citrus trees (grown indoors or out) are self-fertilizing and do not require pollination.
When to Harvest the Indio Mandarinquat
The fruit grows throughout the summer and autumn on this evergreen tree.
History of the Indio Mandarinquat
Around 1972, mandarinquats were created in Indo, California—thus the name indio mandarinquat! Dr. John Carpenter at the United States Date and Citrus Station crossed an heirloom nagami kumquat from Florida and a dancy mandarin. Around ten years later, mandarinquats were released to commercial growers, originally sold for ornamental use before later gaining popularity as a commercial variety.
Where to Buy Indio Mandarinquat
You can buy a young tree from Nature Hills, or you can pick one up at your local Home Depot or plant nursery. If you just want the fruit, Whole Foods supermarkets tend to carry them.
FAQ About the Indio Mandarinquat
Can I eat the skin?
Yes! The skin is nutritious and tasty, and part of what makes this fruit so special.
Are the seeds safe to eat?
Yes, but they are quite bitter, so you may prefer to remove them.
Can dogs eat indio mandarinquat?
They are a safe and tasty treat for dogs.
Where are indio mandarinquats grown?
China, Japan, South Africa, and the United States of America are the primary growing regions due to their warm climates. In the United States, mandarinquat are mainly grown in the Southern states like Florida and Alabama. However, they are also grown in California and other Western states.
Grow Your Own Indio Mandarinquat Today!
The indio mandarinquat is a unique and decorative citrus tree with delicious fruit for growing and eating!
Excited for more kumquat content? Check out our kumquat trees page to learn more about this funky little citrus!