In both restaurants and in homes, kumquats have started to appear on plates as the year 2011 progresses. These tiny citrus fruits have taken the spotlight not just as garnish, but also as essential ingredients to both sweet and savory dishes. Salads, jams, salsas, cookies, cupcakes, pork and shrimp have recently featured kumquats and the fruit has made the most simple of recipes a little more exciting, and nutritious!
What It Is: Most commonly, we eat oval kumquats; however there also exists the round kumquat. For those who have never laid eyes on this fruit, it is oval, about the size of an olive and orange in color. Kumquats are grown on tree, which are shrub-like and on average, pduce around 50 kumquats per year. The oval kumquat plant is native to South Asia and Asia-Pacific and has long been cultivated in Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines. Today, the fruit is also grown in Florida, Louisiana and California.
In flavor, the fruit resembles that of an orange but is slightly sourer; however, unlike oranges, the rind of the kumquat is sweet and edible. Kumquats, like all citrus fruits, are very high in vitamin c; however, it is also high in calcium, fiber and potassium. One kumquat contains 12 calories, 1.25 g fiber, 0.2 g fat, 0.17 g protein and 7.1 mg of vitamin c. It is suggested that you eat the rind because it contains limonoids, which are known to trigger detoxification enzymes in the liver, often known as antioxidants. Kumquats have been given the label, "super food."
Who Might be Interested: One major health benefit of kumquats is their protection against kidney stones. Like lemons, kumquats contain citrus that helps protect your body from protein buildup in the kidney and painful stones. Among other things, these fruits improve the immune system, prevent frequent colds, reduce cholesterol, protect from cardiovascular disease and strengthen hair.
Availability: Like most things these days, kumquats are available to purchase online. Most grocery stores sell the fruit as well, along with specialty grocery stores and places like Whole Foods and Wild Oats.