Monday, February 24, 2014

I love me some kumquats!

A couple of years ago I bought a kumquat variety called ‘Fukushu’ (Citrus japonica ‘Obovata’). It lives in the backyard in a glazed pot under the bay trees where it gets no more than 2-3 hours of direct sun. It gets by with drip irrigation, and even the cold snap we had in early December didn’t faze it. It’s my kind of plant!

14022_kumquat_Fukushu_001

At this time of year, I love looking out the kitchen window and seeing it dotted with bright orange fruit about 1½” long.

14022_kumquat_Fukushu_003

14022_kumquat_Fukushu_005

If you’ve never had a kumquat you may not know this, but the rind is edible—not only that, it’s actually quite sweet! You simply pop the whole fruit in your mouth and enjoy a wonderful explosion of sour and sweet. I would describe the taste as a mixture of mandarin and orange, but much more tart (which I love).

14023_kumquat_Fukushu_003

Kumquats can have as many as 8-10 seeds, but ours seem to have exactly one.

14023_kumquat_Fukushu_009

With a reputed cold hardiness of 10°F, kumquats are tougher than any other citrus variety except the Jiouyuezao mandarin. That makes them suitable for growing in areas where oranges and lemons would never survive.

Even if you find the fruit too sour to eat, kumquats make great ornamental plants and bring good luck. In China kumquats are traditionally eaten during the Lunar New Year and given as gifts.

5 comments:

  1. Ddin't know until now that you can eat them whole, rind and all. Cold tolerant too. Might give it a try this year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For some people eating the rind is a turnoff, but I enjoy its strange sweetness. And the sour but intensely flavored center is fantastic.

      Delete
  2. How large would this plant get if it were in the ground or a larger pot? Is it in a pot just in case of an extreme cold snap? (If not, why not put it into the ground?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alan, from what I read, kumquats in the ground can grow to a height of 8 ft and a width of 6 ft. However, I specifically wanted it in a pot to dwarf it even further. I'm so happy with how mine has done, I might get another one to go on the other side of this bed (which will be completely redone as soon as the bay trees have been trimmed).

      There's a variegated variety ('Centennial Variegated') I'm interested in. It would be great to find it at Costco this spring :-).

      Delete
  3. Those are really pretty! My Dad has a huge (tree) of kumquats in his backyard. But sad to say I dislike them very much! I bet his is 8ft tall. Next time I am there I will take a pic for you!

    ReplyDelete