Are you curious about Nagami kumquats? These tasty orange fruits are small but pack a mighty flavor punch. If you’ve seen a kumquat at the grocery store, there’s a good chance it was a Nagami since they are the most popular variety of kumquat in North America.
Keep reading to learn all about the Nagami kumquat including recipes and tips for growing your own.
Characteristics of the Nagami Kumquat
Nagami kumquats are in the citrus family along with oranges, tangerines, limes, lemons, and other similar fruits. Citrus fruits are known for being juicy, acidic, and flavorful and kumquats are no exception.
What Does it Look Like?
At first glance, kumquats look like small, oval-shaped oranges. The skin of a Nagami kumquat is the same color as a fresh, ripe orange and its texture is similar in appearance, though it’s a lot less tough than an orange peel. You can actually eat a kumquat peel!
Nagami kumquats are often oval-shaped and can sometimes be pear-shaped. When ripe they’re a little over an inch long and about 3/4 inches wide. They’re about the same size and shape as a large olive. Perfectly ripe fruit is firm with just a small amount of give when you gently squeeze it.
What Do They Taste Like?
Kumquats are both sweet and tart with a strong citrus flavor. The skin is sweet while the flesh and juice are tart and acidic. When eaten together you get an incredible blend of tangy, sweet-and-sour flavor.
If you prefer a sweeter flavor, you can squeeze some of the juice out before eating Nagami kumquats.
Kumquat trees are beautiful in all seasons. They grow to between eight and fifteen feet tall and have dark green leaves with lighter green undersides. The branches hang low to the ground making the tree look somewhat like a shrub.
Fragrant white flowers bloom on the tree in spring giving way to bright, orange fruit. When grown outside, kumquats are usually ripe in late winter but the growing cycle varies depending on where you live and whether or not the plant is kept indoors or outdoors.
How to Use Nagami Kumquats
Unlike other citrus fruits, Nagami kumquats are often eaten whole without peeling. You can bite right into the skin and it’s actually very tasty!
The ways to use Nagami kumquats are endless. You can eat them raw by the handful if you like, they’re delicious when fresh. They also work well in a wide variety of recipes from marmalade to ice cream and even soup!
You can use them in most places where you would use other citrus fruits. Try infusing some water with Nagami kumquat instead of lemon or squeeze the juice over tacos instead of lime.
Here are some recipe Ideas to try:
These tasty little fruits have many health benefits. Much like oranges, Nagami kumquats are a good source of Vitamin C. You’ve probably heard that vitamin C is beneficial for the immune system which is definitely an important benefit. Vitamin C has many other benefits as well!
Vitamin C is good for skin health, the formation of collagen, healthy bones and teeth, healing wounds, and helping your body absorb iron.
Nagami kumquats also have Vitamin A which is important for eye health and healthy organ function. They’re an excellent source of fiber which is good for digestion, controlling blood sugar, and lowering cholesterol.
They are full of antioxidants, especially in the peel. Antioxidants have been associated with lowering the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. On top of all that, they are low in calories so they are easy to incorporate into any healthy eating plan and they’re high in water so they’re good for keeping you hydrated.
Growing Nagami Kumquats at Home
You can grow Nagami kumquats from seed but it’s tricky and takes a long time to get fruit. It may take as long as ten years to get fruit after starting kumquats from seed. To enjoy fresh kumquats faster, start with a young tree.
Kumquat trees like moist soil, especially for the first couple of years while the tree is getting established. Make sure to water regularly and don’t let the soil dry out. They aren’t too particular about soil acidity and grow well in most soil conditions, as long as it is well draining.
Nagami kumquat plants do best in full sun. Kumquat trees can tolerate cold temperatures but to produce fruit they need to be in warmer climates. When planted in-ground, kumquats grow best in zones 9 and above.
Don’t worry if you live in a lower zone, Nagami kumquats also grow well in containers and make a beautiful addition to your patio garden. If you live in a colder area just move your plant indoors for winter when temperatures start cooling down. You can also grow kumquat trees indoors year-round.
Nagami kumquat trees are self-pollinating. You don’t need any other trees or plants to get a good harvest of fruit. Pollinators like bees are all you need.
If growing indoors, you’ll need to hand-pollinate since insects won’t have access to your tree to perform the usual pollination.
Kumquat trees grown outdoors don’t require much pruning. You can prune to shape the tree if you like, this won’t harm the tree and can give it a more pleasing appearance.
If growing indoors, you may want to prune the tree more often to keep it a manageable size. A towering tree may be a beautiful sight in your yard but it won’t work in your living room!
The best time to prune is after harvesting fruit in winter before flowers start setting in spring.
Kumquats are usually ready to harvest in late winter but this can vary depending on where you live and whether you keep your tree indoors or outdoors. The fruits hold well on the tree so you can pick them as you want to use them, they don’t all have to be picked right away.
Pests and Disease
Root rot is a common problem for Nagami kumquat trees. Make sure your tree is placed in a well-draining location to avoid root rot. If growing in a container, drill several holes in the bottom to ensure good drainage.
Anthracnose and Alternaria Leaf Spot are common citrus diseases you might see. Keeping an eye on your tree and identifying problems early can help ensure you’re able to treat problems before they become a major issue.
Aphids, mealy bugs, and scale bugs are common pests to watch out for.
Where to Get Nagami Kumquats
Kumquat trees are surprisingly easy to find. You can often get them from local nurseries and even big box garden and home improvement stores. You’re most likely to find them in spring and they’re more common in areas with warm climates. They’re also available to order online from Nature Hills Nursery!
Fruit for Eating
Nagami kumquats aren’t very common in large chain grocery stores. You’re more likely to find them at health food stores and Asian grocery stores.
If you live in an area where kumquat trees grow outdoors, you may be able to find them at local farmer’s markets or fruit stands when the fruit is in season.
Time to Eat a Nagami Kumquat!
Are you ready to bite into a fresh, juicy Nagami kumquat? Whether you want to eat them raw, cook some into marmalade, or try another recipe, there’s no wrong way to enjoy a kumquat.
Excited for more kumquat content? Check out our kumquat trees page to learn more about this funky little citrus!