You may not know very much about kumquats, but if you love citrus, you already know more than you think you do. Kumquats resemble tiny oranges, but the bold flavor they pack is completely unique. The Marumi kumquat is of the better-known varieties of kumquat. With its small, round fruit shape and fragrant flowers, this tree is a must-have for novelty gardeners!
Keep reading to learn more about the Marumi kumquat tree and its many uses!
History of the Marumi Kumquat
Originally native to China, kumquats have been around for centuries, but they came to Japan in the early 18th century. In China, kumquat translates to “gold orange”, which is a great way to describe this small, delicious fruit.
At first, kumquats were grouped in with all citrus varieties, but they got their own unique genus Fortunella in 1915. That genus is separated into six different Kumquat species – the Marumi kumquat, also known as Fortunella japonica, being one of them.
The first recorded description of the Marumi kumquat was in 1784. It then made its debut in the United States in 1885 when it was introduced in Florida by Royal Palm Nurseries.
Characteristics of the Marumi Kumquat Fruit
The Marumi kumquat is known as the round kumquat because of its distinct shape compared to other kumquat varieties. The round fruit measures around 1.25-inches, which is similar to the size of a golf ball. The smooth rind usually matures into a golden yellow.
If you slice open the Marumi kumquat, you’ll find the flesh is divided into four to seven different sections. Those small segments of flesh will contain one to three seeds, which are usually smaller than other varieties.
Characteristics of the Marumi Kumquat Tree
The Marumi kumquat tree stays quite compact compared to other kumquat trees, often only reaching nine feet tall. It stays even smaller when used as a container tree, making it the perfect addition for small patios.
The tree’s small leaves reveal a slightly thorny stem, so be careful when you harvest your kumquats! The tree also produces very fragrant white flowers when it blooms in the spring.
The best part about the Marumi kumquat tree is how cold tolerant it is compared to not only other kumquat varieties, but all citrus varieties. This tree will keep its evergreen leaves down to zero degrees. That means more USDA growing zones, specifically seven through 11, can plant the Marumi kumquat in the ground instead of having to move it indoors during the winter.
What Does It Taste Like?
Kumquats are a great snack to eat fresh. While the skin, or rind, is thin and sweet, the flesh and juice are tart. This makes the Marumi kumquat the perfect combination of sour and sweet.
Another interesting thing to note about this kumquat variety is that all parts of the fruit are edible. You could literally just put the whole fruit in your mouth and eat it. It’s totally safe!
Using the Marumi Kumquat in the Kitchen
Besides eating the Marumi kumquat fresh, there are several different ways to use to utilize it in the kitchen. Not to mention, it has wonderful nutritional value!
Marumi kumquats are often used as Vietnamese desserts to celebrate Lunar New Year, and it is considered good luck to consume them at that time. An example of these fun recipes includes Vietnamese Candied Kumquats, which combines simple, sweet ingredients to give you several jars of candied fruit that will store for months.
Another way to use this kumquat variety is by creating a kumquat curd, which can be used as a spread on top of banana bread, toast, or a biscuit. Only using eggs, sugar, lemon juice, butter, and kumquats, you’ll have a new topping to share with your family and friends!
If you’re not into canning but loved baked goods, try this recipe for kumquat tea cake. It uses several more ingredients than the canning recipes, but you’ll have a beautiful, unique loaf of sweet bread as your end result.
When eaten fresh, kumquats can benefit your body greatly. Similar to citrus, they are most abundant in Vitamin C. Vitamin C is what helps your body fight against all kinds of viruses, bacteria, and diseases. It’s important to have in any diet, so it’s not a bad idea to regularly consume kumquats as a way to boost your immunity.
Kumquats are also a good source of Vitamin A and beta carotene, which are directly tied to eye health. They work together to keep your macular cells healthy and strong to prevent the development of cataracts or macular degeneration.
Growing It at Home
Can you grow the Marumi kumquat in your backyard? If you’re in zones seven through 11, absolutely! The Marumi kumquat tree is the hardiest of the kumquat trees, so it can withstand temperatures down into the single digits. Even if a hard frost hits it, the tree will regain its leaves in the spring.
For your tree to produce the healthiest harvest, it’s important to give your tree optimal growing conditions. Firstly, your kumquat tree should be planted in an area that receives at least eight hours of full sun per day.
Besides ample sunlight, the Marumi kumquat tree will need to be planted in well-draining soil. Loamy textured soil works the best. If your soil is too sandy, the kumquat tree could dry out quickly, requiring frequent watering. If your soil is heavy clay, the kumquat tree could retain water and experience root rot.
The best way to amend your soil is by mixing composted manure and decomposed materials into the top several inches of soil. This will also help with the pH balance. Every year, you can add more compost around the tree to help improve your soil health.
If you live in a northern zone, you can still successfully grow the Marumi kumquat in a container. Once winter arrives, just move your tree indoors near a sunny window.
Potted kumquat trees can grow healthily for many years as long as you give them healthy soil, sufficient water, and good drainage. Every few years, move your kumquat tree to a slightly larger container to allow enough room for the roots to spread.
Where to Find the Marumi Kumquat
The Marumi kumquat tree is easy to purchase from online plant distributors such as Nature Hills. They have a great selection of kumquat trees along with helpful information and tips on growing your kumquat tree. Your tree will come in the mail as a small container tree, ready for you to plant.
If you’d rather just purchase the fruit instead of growing it, check out local health food stores and farmers’ markets. They may be difficult to find if you’re not in a common growing zone for kumquats, so look for specialty food stores to find these delicious fruits!
Wrapping Up the Marumi Kumquat
From tasty late-season snacks to beautiful patio trees, the Marumi kumquat has so many uses. Your family and friends will love this unique tree you’ve purchased, and they’ll love the fruit it produces even more!
Excited for more kumquat content? Check out our kumquat trees page to learn more about this funky little citrus!