Kumquat—it’s a very strange name for a somewhat strange fruit! The kumquat can be looked at as a sort of hybrid—while it’s a citrus that might remind some people of the classic orange, its shape and size are much different than that round, baseball-sized cousin. And the Oval Kumquat (otherwise known as the Nagami kumquat) is the most well-known of all! Read on if you’re ready to discover exactly what a kumquat is, and why the Oval Kumquat is the most popular among them.
Characteristics of the Oval Kumquat
Let’s start by going over the Oval Kumquat’s appearance, taste, and tree traits! (Say that ten times fast!) While you might have assumptions about what this funky little citrus may taste like just from its appearance, don’t jump to conclusions just yet—it may just surprise you!
The Appearance of the Oval Kumquat
When you look at the Oval Kumquat, you can immediately see how it got its name. Its shape is, in fact, oval; it really resembles some strange mix between a grape and an orange. Coming in at just over an inch in diameter, these bite-sized bits of citrus are as adorable as they are bemusing. They grow in clusters a bit like grapes do, though they grow on trees rather than vines.
While they lean on the lighter side of orange most of the time, their exterior skin does resemble that of the classic orange we’re all used to. And hey, fun fact…unlike oranges, you don’t even have to peel a kumquat. The skin is sweet-tasting and delicious, so you can eat the entire thing just like you would a grape! (Just make sure you wash them first; you still don’t want to get any of those pesticides and such in your stomach!)
Taste of the Oval Kumquat
Like I said, the skin of the Oval Kumquat is sweet and delicious, which sets it apart from some of the other citrus fruits you’re probably familiar with, while the fruit itself is pleasantly sour with a hint of an acidic taste. Taking a bite out of one of these fruits will mix sweet with sour in a stunning balance of mingling flavors, and you might just be ruined for other fruity snacks forever. Why would you try anything else when the Oval Kumquat offers everything you’re looking for?
Oval Kumquat Tree Traits: Growing at Home
Here’s the great thing about growing Oval Kumquats—it’s unbelievably easy. Their trees aren’t picky about soil or weather conditions, they’re disease and pest-resistant, and you can even grow dwarf versions in containers if you prefer! If you have an outdoor patio or deck, you can spruce it up beautifully by planting one of these trees nearby, creating an oasis with easy-access fruits to snack on by the firepit, pool, or other outdoor feature.
Of course, you can also include these trees in your garden with relative ease. They only grow to be about eight feet tall (though you’ll need to prune them down to keep them healthy and polished at this height), and about six feet in width. This makes them the perfect accessory tree to add to a copse of larger trees, or the perfect addition to an otherwise tree-sparse flower garden. They’ll even do well indoors if you have a sunroom or other sort of outdoor-adjacent addition, which means you can keep them healthy and gorgeous all year round.
Uses for the Oval Kumquat
These bite-size snacks are a great choice for school lunches, field trip snacks, zoo trip refreshments, and all kinds of other trips and events! Thanks to their small size, they’re easy to pack in even the smallest of lunch boxes or bags, and thanks to the fact that the entire fruit is edible, you don’t even need to worry about providing tools to peel them. Just wash them, dry them, pack them up, and you’re good to go!
There are so many incredible uses for the Oval Kumquat that it would be difficult to list them all! Obviously they’re wonderful to be consumed on their own, but there are many dishes you can create with them, as well. If you’re a fan of making jams, jellies, or marmalades, these tiny units packed full of citrus flavor are a very popular choice as a medium for those sorts of spreads. You can also make cakes, soup, or even ice cream if you’re craving an icy, refreshing treat for a late-summer snack!
Kumquats are also a popular choice as a medium for candied fruit. It is so incredibly easy to candy kumquats, especially since you don’t need to peel them first. Most recipes recommend chopping them up before candying, but if your kumquats are smaller in size to begin with, you can even go super simple and leave them whole for the candying process!
Besides kumquats, all you need for this is water and sugar, so if you want a sneaky way to trick your kids into getting a bit more fruit in their diet (albeit, sugar-coated fruit, but still, a win’s a win), candied kumquats is an easy and fun way to manage it.
Health Benefits of the Oval Kumquat
Kumquats, like most other citrus fruits, are packed to the brim with vitamin C, which makes them a great choice for anyone looking to improve their skincare regimen with a dietary factor. In addition, kumquats also boast a good amount of vitamin A, which is great for eye health! If your kids won’t touch a carrot, try a kumquat—it might just be able to tempt them into protecting their eyesight and getting more vitamins in their system.
When Is the Oval Kumquat in Season?
You’ll often find kumquats maturing to the point of being harvest-ready as early as the beginning of summer and as late as the middle of fall. Anywhere between June and October is a good bet for picking your kumquats or finding them in the store, but if you’re looking in the thick of winter (unless you live in warmer areas!), you may just be out of luck.
Make sure you stock up plenty before the cold weather blows in, and once your fresh kumquats start inching toward no longer being edible as fruits alone, take the rest and get searching for your favorite marmalade or jam recipe. That way, you’ll have plenty to tide you over until the next growing season comes around!
Where Is the Oval Kumquat Grown?
The Oval Kumquat can be grown just about anywhere in the United States, especially if grown indoors; if you plan on securing it a spot in your outdoor space, however, you’ll want to check your growing zone before planting. The only places where kumquat trees aren’t likely to thrive are places with near-constant cold, so Alaskans may be out of luck here…sorry, guys. But if you live nearly anywhere else, you’re absolutely able to snag a sapling and get planting to secure yourself a personal kumquat supply.
Wrapping Up Everything You Need to Know About the Oval Kumquat
All in all, the Oval Kumquat may have a funny name and an even funnier set of traits, considering it’s basically the backwards version of most citrus fruits, but it’s still one of the very best choices for a fruity, healthy snack choice for your home.
Your kids will love being able to eat them whole with no mess or fuss, you’ll love not having to peel them before use, and you’ll love how easy it is to persuade your kids into devouring a healthy snack whether they’re on a trip or simply relaxing in your kitchen. No matter what you choose to use them for, you can’t go wrong by bringing an Oval Kumquat into your home!
Excited for more kumquat content? Check out our kumquat trees page to learn more about this funky little citrus!