Kumquat (Fortunella margarita) looks like a miniature orange and like its relative, is a member of the Rutaceae (Citrus) Family and native to China. Kumquat is named in honor of an English traveler, Robert Fortune who collected plants for the Royal Horticultural Society of London, and introduced kumquat to Europe in 1846. The species name, margarita means “pearl,” referring to the plants tiny size. The English word kumquat is from the Chinese kam kwat, meaning “golden orange.”

Kumquats are warm, pungent, sweet, and sour and promote chi circulation. They have been used to treat fevers, gallstones, indigestion, hernial pain, stomachache, hepatitis, high blood pressure, prolapse of the uterus and anus, asthma, catarrh, cough, pneumonia, respiratory congestion, and whooping cough, They are mucolytic. They are high in vitamin C, most of which is in the peel, as well as vitamin E.

Look for firm, plump golden fruits, heavy for their size. They can be eaten whole, peel and seeds included, dried, made into jams, used as a garnish, made into desserts or preserved in honey.

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Written by Brigitte Mars

Explore Wellness in 2021