Kumquat is an Asian citrus fruit; it was once classified under the genus of citrus, in the species japonica; further research moved kumquat to the genus Fortunella; today there are conflicting opinions as to whether this plant belongs to the citrus genus or not, therefore it is commonly regarded as citrus japonica or Fortunella japonica, depending on the lecturer’s point of view, it is also often called citrus Fortunella or citrus X Fortunella to indicate its hybrid origin. In fact, there are several different species that can therefore be considered as japonica citrus varieties or as true species of Fortunella or citrus X Fortunella. They are generally citrus fruits and therefore belong to the Rutaceae family; They are small trees not exceeding 3-5 m in height, evergreen, with shiny, leathery leaves, covered with a waxy patina, much smaller than in other citrus fruits. They bloom in midsummer, producing very fragrant white flowers in the leaf axils; after the flowers appear small oval or round fruits, golden-orange or intense yellow in color. Specificity kumquats it is found in the flesh and skin of the fruit, although they resemble a miniature orange in every way, these small citrus fruits have a very sweet skin and very sour flesh; for this reason, they are eaten whole so that the sugar contained in the thin crust soothes the acidity caused by the juice of the pulp, which is sour like lemon or lime.
File kumquats Japanese are not very popular in Italy, but are highly valued in Asia; in fact in Italy, it is also very difficult to find round fruit of this species. The leaves are dark, oval, and small; fruits appear in summer and fall and resemble tiny oranges or clementines, the size of small plums, with a very thin skin. The overall taste of these kumquats is very pleasant, they are very aromatic and aromatic and are often used in the preparation of jams and marmalades.
This species is one of the few commonly found in Europe and Italy, where it is also grown for fruit production; the plant is slightly larger than the Japanese type and comes from China, where it has been cultivated for millennia. The leaves are also slightly larger and bright. The plant produces small fruit, similar to an orange but oval-shaped; usually, the fruits of this species are the most widespread in the world, so Fortunella margarita fruits immediately come to mind in the case of kumquat. These fruits have thin, very sweet and aromatic skin.
It is a very common hybrid in Europe, obtained from the crossing of Fortunella margarita (ie oval kumquat) and citrus Clementina (ie mandarin); as a result, a small citrus tree was formed, which in the ground does not exceed three meters in height, with dense, evergreen leaves, small in size. Fruits that ripen when ripe, inherit their special features from both ancestors, therefore they are slightly rounded fruits, with an aromatic and sweet skin and quite sweet flesh, much less acidic. This variety is often sold as an ornamental plant for growing in pots.
Kumquats are among the easiest citrus fruits to cultivate because their growing cycle is slightly different than that of lemons or oranges. Adult trees are very limited in size, and it is difficult to spot any specimens taller than 4-5 meters; leaves are dense and dense and evergreen. These citrus fruits have a period of complete vegetative rest, which runs from October-November to April-May, which causes two things: first, they do not bloom in winter, but in late spring, when the minimum temperatures are already very high. In addition, thanks to vegetative rest, kumquats are quite cold-resistant and can withstand temperatures close to -10C without harm, unlike other citrus species. In fact, it is not uncommon for kumquats to be also grown in areas of northern Italy where they are kept in pots to shelter in a greenhouse during the winter months; shelter in a greenhouse does not harm plants that do not require care in the coldest period of the year. Field cultivation takes place in a sunny place, infertile and fertile soil; kumquats in areas where they thrive naturally are sometimes subject to periodic flooding, to which trees easily survive; for this reason, they can survive without any problems, even in areas with often moist or wet soil, without suffering any damage. To have a good harvest, water regularly, ideally waiting for the soil to dry between two waterings, avoiding excesses; we also avoid watering the plant during its vegetative dormant period, from October to March, and instead remember to increase the water supply as the small fruits mature. If these fruits are grown in pots, frequent evaporation of the leaves with demineralized water is recommended to maintain high ambient humidity. Although these small trees can withstand even frost without any problems, if we want abundant crops, it is necessary to cultivate them in areas with mild winters or cover the foliage with fleece in periods of more intense frost.
Kumquats are resistant to cold and high soil moisture; if grown in very hot and dry areas, they are usually attacked by spider mites and scaly insects; This is especially the case for specimens grown in pots, where they are sheltered in greenhouses during the cold months, where air recirculation is very limited. To combat these insects, it is good to use pyrethrum-based insecticides and acaricides, and in the case of cochineal white oil. Citrus fruits generally suffer from chlorosis, which is caused not by iron-poor soils, but by a general lack of mineral salts; in order to avoid this, it is recommended to regularly provide a good fertilizer, slow-release as possible, so that a single portion remains in the ground for many months; or we can also provide fertilizer to be dissolved in water every 12-15 days, April to September. We avoid delivering fertilizers in autumn and winter.
citrus has been cultivated by man for several millennia; all the citrus fruits that we find on the table usually come from grafted plants, as plants obtained from seeds do not produce flowers or even fruit, although in general the small seeds contained in the fruit are fertile. For this reason, in order to have a plant that produces the fruit you want, you need to take the scion and plant it on the rootstock. In forest plants, such as beech and elm, usually small cuttings of the species we want to reproduce are produced and then grafted onto the variety we want to reproduce. For example, beech is sown, and red-pink beeches are seeded on the obtained young seedlings. However, in the case of citrus fruits, it is difficult to sow the seeds contained in them and then graft a fruitful variety; usually, rootstocks and citrus fruits are other plants, always belonging to the rut family but which do not normally produce edible citrus fruits. Typically, Poncirus trifoliata or murraya paniculata is used as a rootstock for kumquats. Murraya is a small retinoid tree native to tropical Asia, quite cold-hardy, with feathery leaves and small red fruits; Poncirus trifoliata is a small tree with triple leaves, with stems endowed with sharp thorns that produce small orange-like fruits. Kumquats inoculated on murraya are slightly less cold-resistant; Poncirus grafted kumquats are well resistant to cold and sometimes have spikes on tall branches.
The term kumquat usually describes the fruit of Fortunella; as we said, these fruits are very small, generally smaller than a plum, have a thin, aromatic, and very sweet skin and a juicy flesh, definitely very sour. These fruits can usually be eaten raw and have been in stores since September; In Italy, the production of the kumquat is very low, which is why most of these fruits come from tropical areas, so we can find them on the market even in winter, along with other citrus fruits. Candied fruits, jams, fruit compotes are also prepared from these fruits, because after cooking, the sugar added to the recipe completely eliminates the sour component of the fruit juice, giving rise to a very aromatic and sweet jam. Unlike other citrus fruits, in kumquat fruits, the part that separates the slices of the experiment is whitish and not bitter, so you can use the whole fruit to make kumquat jam by simply cutting it and mixing it evenly with sugar.
This little fruit with a tangerine-like appearance is very useful for making delicious recipes and innovative dishes. Despite its low distribution in Italy, today we can find kumquat even in the best-stocked supermarkets. Jams, spaghetti with artichokes and kumquats, escalopes, creams, desserts, plum cakes, cherries and kumquats, candied fruit, parfait, fruit salads, veal: here are a few dishes that you can easily cook! Kumquat fruits are rich in vitamins, potassium, are perfectly digested at the end of a meal, and can be eaten naturally, with or without the skin! Also, use them to create tasty dishes.