Kumquats (Chinese tangerines) - Drink Secrets

Kumquats (Chinese tangerines)

Kumquats (also called cumquats) are a cluster of trees that bear fruit, Chinese tangerines being the most popular one. Chinese tangerines are citrus fruit which are a variety of the Mandarin orange. These are essentially the same as oranges but have a softer peel which is easier to take off and are sweeter than the traditional orange. The name Kumquat is actually coined from the Cantonese gamgawt. It is also called Kinkan in Japanese, Geumgyul in Korean, Muntala in Nepali and Somchid in Thai. Below is the scientific classification of the Kumquat:


Kingdom: Plantae

Family: Rutaceae

Tribe: Citreae

Order: Sapindales


Kumquats bearing Chinese tangerines trace their cultivation back 3000 years when the first planters planted them in Uganda, Japan and China. Since they are largely cultivated in China, they are termed Chinese tangerines. They were introduced to Europe in 1946. These fruits are more oval than orange and their peel varies in color between yellow and red depending on the variety. Kumquat fruit is in season usually in cooler climates. These are rarely cultivated from seed because apparently they not flourish on their own roots. The Kumquat tree that bears Chinese tangerines is evergreen shrubs that range between 2.5 and 4.5 meters tall. They have thick branches and bear small thorns. This tree produces between 80 and 100 Chinese tangerines each year.


Chinese tangerines are usually eaten raw – the pulp and the rind are both edible. Chinese tangerines are seldom used for juices because of their small size and hence lesser full insides. However, they are quite frequently used in making candies, jams and marmalades, preserves and jellies. They are also used as a tangy ingredient for a salad, more often used in fruit salads. Fruit juice from Kumquat fruits is popular as an addition to hot or iced tea to add a zingy flavor.

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