Kumquats are a delicious and nutritious citrus fruit that you likely haven’t heard of before. Kumquats possess either a yellow or orange hue, resembling small, oval oranges with a sweet yet tangy flavor and a hint of bitterness. What sets kumquats apart from citruses, however, is the fact that both the skin and zest are sweet and can be eaten. The rind, flesh and even the pips are edible, although some people prefer to remove them. Kumquats are said to be native to the southeastern parts of China, although they can be found in the following areas as well: North and South Korea, Southern Pakistan, Taiwan, Middle East, Japan, U.S., particularly in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and California.
Benefits of kumquat
- Aid in Digestion – One of the major functions of kumquats is their role in regulating digestion. 8 kumquats are equivalent to 10 grams of fiber and eating a handful of them isn’t a tough thing to do! This amount of fiber helps to keep your gastrointestinal tract moving and regulates digestion. It can help to eliminate constipation, excess gas, bloating, and cramping and increase the efficiency of your nutrient uptake. The fiber in these fruits can also help protect against inflammatory bowel disease.
- Control Diabetes – Flavonoid extracts in kumquats were found to lower the blood lipid levels in obese rats, according to research studies done on laboratory rats by the University in Changsha, China. A Michigan State University report said that kumquats are a great addition to winter diet as it has low sugar content, low sodium, zero cholesterol, and 0.1 grams of fat. Its high level of dietary fiber benefits both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
- Boost Immunity – Kumquats impact the immune system in a number of ways as they are rich in vitamin C, just like oranges! A study conducted in Switzerland on “Vitamin C and Immune Function” clearly states that the vitamin is a powerful antioxidant and behaves as a co-factor for biosynthetic enzymes. It also helps to stimulate the growth of new cells and boosts the immune system to protect your body from infections, bacteria, and fungi. Without vitamin C as our first line of defense, we would not only be unable to protect ourselves, but we also wouldn’t be able to heal.
- Skin Care – The combination of antioxidants and vitamins in kumquats make them ideal for protecting the skin from cancerous effects of the sun and negative effects of free radicals, which cause wrinkles, age spots, and rough, unhealthy skin. Kumquats, like many citrus fruits, can have a great effect on the appearance and feel of skin because of the high levels of vitamin C.
- Eye Care – Kumquats are a rich source of vitamin A and beta-carotene, which are closely connected to vision health. Beta-carotene works as an antioxidant to reduce oxidative stress in the macular cells, thereby limiting macular degeneration and reducing the development of cataracts.
- Build Strong Bones – The significant calcium content in kumquats helps to protect the bones over a long term. High calcium levels in the body increase the rate of healing and ensure that the bones stay healthy and strong well into the old age.
- Boost Energy – Carbohydrates are essential for replenishing our energy reserves in a simple way. These fruits can provide that burst of energy in our diets, while also giving us all the other benefits too! The high level of riboflavin, a key vitamin involved in the production of energy, makes this process even easier.
- Weight Loss – Kumquats are rich in fiber, water, and carbs, and are low in calories. Hence, are an ideal food for people trying to lose weight. They will make one feel full and keep them healthy, which will reduce their urge to overeat.
- Hair Care – Vitamin C, natural organic compounds, antioxidants, and minerals, present in kumquats, have a major effect on the quality, texture, and strength of hair.
- Dental Care – Kumquats are packed with some of the best nutrients like calcium, potassium, and vitamin C, which enhance the hair and teeth quality.
Types of kumquats
The different important varieties of kumquats are given below:
- Round kumquat: It is most widely used and cultivated species, given as gift in New Year and having the characteristics of cold tolerance.
- Oval kumquat: It is also known as Nagami kumquat. The entire fruit is eaten including its skin because of its sweetness flavor.
- Jiangsu kumquat: It is the edible fruit and used in making of marmalade and jellies. It can be recognized by its round leaves.
- Centennial variegated kumquat: It is distinguished because of its variegated color in the form of green and yellow strips. Its skin is comparatively thin.
Adding kumquats to your diet
Kumquats can be consumed raw or used in the following ways :
- It is used to make jellies, sauce, fruit-concentrates, jams and jellies.
- Its slices are used in salads to make it relish.
- It is used in making of marmalades, candied and preserves because of its thin peel.
- It is used in making of ice cream, pie, cakes and juice.
- It is used to make the dishes decorative.
- Pickles are also made of it.
- It is added in meat dishes due to its acidic features.
- Due to its sweet flavor, it is used for candies, desserts, cocktails and garnishes.
- Liquor, extracts and products used as traditional medicines are prepared from it.
They are available in season from November to March and can be consumed anytime of the day.
Does not have any proved side effects when comsumed in moderation.
Recipe for Kumquat marmalade with orange
Total: 95 mins, Prep: 20 mins, Cook: 75 mins, Soaking time: 4 hrs, Yield: 3 pints (96 servings)
Calories – 93
34 kumquats (approximately 1 1/2 inches long and half as wide)
6 to 7 cups water
4 to 5 cups granulated sugar
2 lemons (juiced)
Wash the whole kumquats and the orange well.
Slice the whole kumquats into fine slivers, removing and discarding any seeds as you go. Do the same with the orange.
Measure the sliced kumquats together with the orange and any juice that came out while you were slicing the fruit. This will allow you to determine how much water to add.
Transfer the measured fruit and juice into a large, non-reactive pot. Stir in 2 cups water for every cup of fruit and juice.
Cover and let sit at room temperature for 4 hours (overnight is OK, too).
Sterilize your canning jars.
Meanwhile, bring the fruit and water mixture to a boil over high heat.
Reduce the heat and simmer until the peels are translucent and very tender, about 1 hour.
Measure the cooked fruit mixture.
Add 3/4 cup granulated sugar for each cup of the cooked fruit.
Add the lemon juice.
Bring all of the ingredients to a boil over high heat. Stir constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Continue to boil over high heat, stirring frequently, until the marmalade reaches the gel point.
Turn off the heat. Skim off any foam on the surface.
Ladle the hot marmalade into the sterilized canning jars. Leave at least 1/2-inch of head space between the surface of the marmalade and the rims of the jars.
Screw on canning lids.
Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.
Once the jars have sealed, store kumquat marmalade away from direct light or heat. It will keep for at least a year.
Opened jars must be stored in the refrigerator, where they will keep for several months.
Recipe for Candied Kumquats
Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 30 minutes
4 cups of roughly chopped kumquats (roughly 1-1½ lbs.)
1 cup of water
2 cups of sugar
With a pairing knife roughly chop the kumquats. Discard any seeds you can that are easy to get too, but they’re edible so don’t fret if some get chopped up or stay in the fruit. Feel free to leave any small kumquats whole.
Heat the water and sugar over high heat until it comes to a boil. Simmer for 4 minutes. Add the kumquats and simmer for 10 minutes.
Drain the kumquats through a sieve set over a bowl. Return the syrup to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes to reduce the syrup. Combine the kumquats and 1/4 cup of the syrup together.
Serve or jar and refrigerate. Can be stored for up to two weeks.
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