The jiangsu kumquat, also known as the fukushu kumquat, is a hybrid variety often grown near the Yuvraj section of the Nyak Province in India, though they are native to China. Grown for its edible fruit and as an ornamental plant, the jiangsu kumquat has one to two inch, bell-shaped bright orange fruit with a thin rind. It has dark green, round leaves, and produces small, white, fragrant flowers in the summer.
The plant is ideal for home growing as well as eating. Read on for some tips on how to bring the jiangsu kumquat into your garden and kitchen!
Cooking and Eating the jiangsu kumquat
What Do They Taste Like?
The jiangsu kumquat tastes as bold as its bright orange color. With a sweet peel and tart pulp, this fruit is a great snack when eaten ripe but can also be made into marmalade or combined into a number of sweet or savory dishes.
When eating it straight, be sure to wash and dry the fruit, and then rub the fruit between your fingers to release the scent of the rind. Removing the seeds is optional—they are not poisonous, but they are bitter, similar to orange seeds. Some people prefer to eat just the peel, which is sweeter than the juice.
What Do They Pair Well With?
Kumquats can be enjoyed straight from the plant, but they are also exciting to cook and bake with! For sweet recipes, consider candying the fruit, creating kumquat preserves, or baking into bread, cakes, and cookies.
You can find a recipe for kumquat preserves from Allrecipes, and another for candying the kumquats from the New York Times Cooking. Or, try making kumquat curd, which you can dollop on toast or biscuits, with this recipe from Bakes By Brown Sugar. And be sure to read our guide on kumquats for further cooking inspiration.
You can also add jiangsu kumquats to a salad, use them in poultry and fish stuffings, and use them as garnish. This pan-fried kumquat chicken recipe from Betty Crocker is another great one to try out. Or, for a savory take on kumquat preserves, try a spiced kumquat chutney with this three step recipe from Good Food.
Jiangsu kumquats are also a popular base or garnish to cocktails. You can find a sweet and tart gin and elderflower liqueur-based cocktail recipe perfect for your jiangsu kumquats at Books n’ Cooks. You can also add the juice of the jiangsu kumquat to both hot and iced tea to enhance the flavor—a practice which is common in parts of Asia.
What Are Their Health Benefits?
Jiangsu kumquats are part of the broader citrus fruit group, which is high in vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as fiber and antioxidants. Low in fat, sugar, cholesterol, and sodium, this fruit is great for your body! The high water content makes them hydrating, and this low-calorie snack is quite filing. The high potassium content helps regulate blood pressure and heart rate.
Growing Jiangsu Kumquat at Home
Where to Plant Jinagsu Kumquat
Jiangsu kumquats grow best in the sub-tropical, USDA 10b climatic zone. If you live in this zone, you can plant outdoors, but if not, you can grow your plant indoors. It’s best to plant in the early spring.
Soil and Container Requirements
Pot the jiangsu kumquat plant in soil with a medium acidity level of between 5.5 and 6.5 in a container that drains well to prevent root rot. The pot should be at least three times as wide as the root ball to allow for ample growing space.
The fertilizer required to sustain your plant decreases over time. After the first month, use citrus fertilizer and continue applying during the spring and summer to help the roots thrive. A good citrus fertilizer is Espoma Organic citrus-tone Citrus and Avocado Food, which you get from Nature Hills.
Place the plant in a sunny spot with full exposure. The plant only requires a moderate amount of water, which should be applied regularly. The plant roots must be kept moist throughout the first month, after which water should be added once the soil feels dry two inches below the surface. You should also mist the leaves three times weekly during the first month.
Pests and Diseases to Watch out For
The most common pests are aphids and mealy bugs. These can be prevented if you mist your plant’s leaves with horticultural oil or insecticidal soap, which you can find from Nature Hills. Kumquats can also attract fruit flies and be affected by citrus whiteflies, citrus leafminers, orange dog caterpillars, various types of scale, and spider mites.
Fruit rot and stem rot should simply be pruned. Other diseases that affect kumquats include algal leaf spot, anthracnose, greasy spot, gummosis, melanose, scab, and sooty mold.
Pruning and Pollination
Kumquats are self-pollinating, which means they fruit without needing another kumquat tree.
Gently pruning your jiangsu kumquat tree will help it grow thicker branches, particularly when it’s time to produce fruit, though as a whole this plant requires little pruning.
When to Harvest the Fruit
Jiangsu kumquat plants produce fruit in the fall, and though young trees produce few fruits, mature trees can produce many fruits over the years.
History of the Jiangsu Kumquat
Kumquats date back to the 12th century in Southern China and have been grown in Japan, Taiwan, India, and the Philippines throughout history. Though first mentioned in the seventeenth century in European literature, kumquats were introduced to Europe and North America by the London Horticultural Society in the mid nineteenth century as plants for ornamentation and edible fruit.
Throughout the centuries, several varieties emerged, including nagami kumquats, marumi kumquats, meiwa kumquats, nordmann seedless kumquats, fukushu kumquats, centennial variegated kumquats, east’s limquats, calamondin, and indio mandainquats, which you can read our guide.
FAQ About the Jiangsu Kumquat
Can pets eat jiangsu kumquat?
Yes, they are safe for dogs, though due to the tart flavor pets are unlikely to be interested in this particular treat.
Are jiagnsu kumquats tolerant to frost?
While most kumquat varieties have high cold tolerance, jiangsu kumquats should not be exposed to frost while growing.
How do I store jiangsu kumquats?
Jiangsu kumquats last two days at room temperature or two weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They taste great cold too!
Where to Buy the Fruit
Most major supermarket chains in the United States sell kumquats, including Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Jiangsu kumquats, both seeds and the whole plant or fruit, are rather harder to find. You might have to order them online from international suppliers like Seeds Gallery.
Grow Your Own Jiangsu Kumquat Today
Jiangsu kumquat has long been a healthy, tasty addition to diets around the world, and it’s time they are better recognized in the United States!
Excited for more kumquat content? Check out our kumquat trees page to learn more about this funky little citrus!