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Kumquat (mini orange, dwarf orange)

The raw kumquat (mini orange, dwarf orange) is eaten with the peel and seeds. It has a certain sweetness and at the same time a tart, orange-like aroma.
Macronutrient carbohydrates 85.3%
Macronutrient proteins 10.09%
Macronutrient fats 4.61%

The three ratios show the percentage by weight of macronutrients (carbohydrates / proteins / fats) of the dry matter (excl. water).

Ω-6 (LA, 0.1g)
Omega-6 fatty acid such as linoleic acid (LA)
 : Ω-3 (ALA, <0.1g)
Omega-3 fatty acid such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
 = 0:0

Omega-6 ratio to omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed a total of 5:1. Link to explanation.

Values are too small to be relevant.

The Kumquat also called mini orange , dwarf orange or dwarf bitter orange , comes from Asia and is a citrus fruit.

Use in the kitchen:

The kumquat is an elongated fruit the size of a gooseberry. It comes in round and oval shapes. Its color is bright yellow-orange. The dwarf bitter orange is a mini orange that can be enjoyed with the peel and seeds.

The firm skin of the kumquat tastes sweet and orange, with a slightly bitter note. The flesh, on the other hand, is astringent, bitter and sour. The flesh has six segments in which the edible seeds of the fruit are located.

The aroma of the kumquat is unusual when you eat the fruit raw as fresh fruit. You expect sweetness rather than tartness from this delicate fruit. Nevertheless, it is worth a try. After washing it well, take the fruit in your hand and roll it back and forth. This allows the peel to develop its special scent, shows more sweetness and loses some of its bitterness. Rolling it in your hand releases the essential oils from the peel. The released aromatic substances develop and the flesh takes on a softer consistency. 1 A citrus-like, refreshing taste delights the palate.

The unique aroma of the kumquat means there are many different uses. The fruit goes well with all dishes that use oranges. They give a fresh fruit salad an exotic, orange-like and slightly tart aroma. Many desserts can be enhanced with kumquats. Even just covered in chocolate, the mini oranges are a particularly delicious treat.

The small fruits with the big aroma are ideal for making jam or compote. Instead of candied orange peel, the kumquat fruit is a good substitute when baking or cooking. Kumquats are also excellent for making various drinks. Cocktails always turn out well with the special aroma of these fruits.

The dwarf oranges are also ideal for pickling in rum. Together with pears and other exotic fruits such as pineapples, mangoes, lychees or prickly pears, the rum pot develops into a tasty alcoholic drink. 1

Not only vegans or vegetarians should read this:
Vegans often eat unhealthily. Avoidable nutritional mistakes


Kumquats are available in Europe in December and January in larger supermarkets. Otherwise, you can find them at specialist fruit retailers, where they may even be available all year round. Some retailers also sell the fruit candied or dried. Fruit extract is also used to make liqueur, which is used to refine sweets and desserts, among other things.

Found in the wild:

The individual species of the genus Fortunella are not wild plants, but have originated in garden cultivation. 2 All varieties have originated from a single species.


The fruits come to the market ripe and ready to eat. You can buy them in bulk and store them in the refrigerator for two to three weeks. 1


100 g of kumquat contains 71 calories. Like many other exotic fruits, kumquats are rich in vitamin C and calcium . They contain potassium , magnesium and a little copper . 12 As with all citrus fruits, kumquats also contain secondary plant substances. See the ingredient tables below this text.

Health aspects:

The high vitamin C content of the kumquat protects the immune system. The high calcium content helps to stabilize bones and teeth. The potassium regulates the water balance of the cells. Potassium is effective against stomach and intestinal problems, muscle weakness and cardiovascular diseases, among other things. The magnesium in the kumquat helps against irritability, cramps and concentration problems.

The secondary plant substances in the kumquat have neurological, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. They can expand the blood vessels and lower blood pressure. They are even said to protect against various types of cancer. The intake of various plant substances in combination with one food may be beneficial, and sometimes necessary, for the secondary plant substances to have an effect. 11


People who are allergic to citrus fruits should not eat this fruit either. If you are prone to heartburn, it is better not to eat the sour kumquat fruits too often. 3

Use as a medicinal plant:

The secondary plant substances are said to have an anti-cancer effect. They are said to be particularly effective against mouth, throat, larynx and stomach cancer. 4
The fine skin around the oranges and their individual slices contain a relatively high number of secondary plant substances such as flavonoids, carotenoids, phenolic acids and terpenes. The skin is also a fiber that regulates blood sugar levels. For this reason, the American Diabetes Association gives the citrus fruits the title of "superfood". 3


As an evergreen shrub or standard tree, kumquat grows very slowly. The plant only reaches a height of 2.5 to 4.5 meters. Some of the densely branched branches have small thorns. The leaves are elongated, leathery, and have a shiny dark green color. Like other citrus, kumquat flowers are white and fragrant. A kumquat tree can produce several hundred or even several thousand fruits per year. 5

The plant originally comes from Asia. Since the plant is quite cold-resistant, it can be found cultivated up to 30 degrees north. 6 In southern Europe, there are several kumquat plantations on the Greek island of Corfu. At the turn of the millennium, this was the only place in Europe where the fruit was grown commercially. The British botanist Sidney Merlin brought the fruit to the island around 1860. The plant quickly adapted to the climatic conditions and is now an important export product from the island. Around 140 tons of fruit are sold every year. Unfortunately, they are rarely untreated. 7

If the kamquats do not come from Corfu, they are usually imported from Israel, Argentina or China. There are large plantations in these countries.
Even in the Mediterranean region, kumquat plants can be found in wind-protected gardens. For example, in northern Italy in Sestri Levante in the Cinque Terre. However, these are for private use.

Cultivation, harvest:

On Corfu, the kumquat trees bloom in June. The trees or bushes are then covered with countless white, delicately scented flowers, about three centimeters in size. From mid-March to the end of December, it is then time to harvest the mini oranges. The harvest is done by hand. If the trees get enough water, they even bear fruit all year round. 8

In China, kumquats are widespread, mainly because of their decorative appearance. They are said to be mutants. A large-fruited citrus species could have evolved into an ornamental plant over thousands of years. However, this is not entirely plausible. 6

General information:

The name Kumquat means “small golden orange” in Indian. In China it is called Chu-Tsu, Chantu or Kinkan. 6
The genus Kumquats cannot be systematically separated from the citrus plants (Citrus). They belong to the rue family (Rutaceae) . 9

There are various Fortunella plants, which the US-American botanist (Ph.D) Walter Tennyson Swingle (1871-1952) grouped together: Fortunella japinic Thunb, Fortunella hindsii Swingle, Fortunella margarita Swingle, Fortunella crassifolia Swingle, Fortunella madurensis Loiur and Fortunella polyandra Tan. 6 Swingle (see Wikipedia ) researched genetics and hybridization in citrus plants; he created the hybrid varieties 'Minneola', the tangelo varieties 'Sampson' (1897), 'Thornton' (1899) and 'Orlando' (1911), as well as three limequat varieties (1909); he was also involved in the development of other citrus fruits such as the Murcott orange and kumquat varieties.

Only two types of kumquat fruit are described in detail: the oval kumquat ( Fortunella margarita ) and the very small Hong Kong kumquat ( Fortunella hindsii ). Both are edible.

The Hong Kong kumquat ( Fortunella hindsii) is a very old and very small fruit. It is only 15-20 mm long and has thick seeds. It also has only a small amount of pulp. It flowers in summer and produces small bright orange fruits. These facts could indicate its wild status.

Both species are very popular as ornamental plants because of their intensely fragrant flowers. During the growth phase, the plant has pretty, white flowers that are about three centimeters in size. It is possible that the flowers appear on the tree at the same time as the small, decorative miniature oranges. 10 At the beginning of the Renaissance, they adorned the gardens of European royal houses and stood in the orangeries.

Today, Americans and Europeans love the small tree as an ornamental plant in pots. In good, sheltered locations, the plant flowers and even produces fruit. The ornamental trees do not tolerate cold and need a bright winter quarters. However, there is usually too little humidity there. Then, the underside of the leaves is attacked by mealybugs, mealybugs or aphids. As a preventative measure, it is worth sticking aphid repellent sticks from garden retailers into the soil and checking the plants regularly. 10

Literature / Sources:

  1. Gute Kü How to eat a kumquat. [Internet].
  2. Danxiang Zhang, David J. Mabberley: Citrus japonica Thunberg, Nova Acta Regiae Soc. Sci. Upsal. 3: 208. 178.
  3. medical-health guide. [Internet].
  4. Strunz Ulrich. Anti-cancer program. In: Don't give cancer a chance. Heyne Verlag Munich, 2012.
  5. Julia F. Morton: Fruits of warm climates, Florida Flair Books, Miami. 1987: 182–185.
  6. Brücher H. Tropical crops: origin, evolution and domestication. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. 1977: 345.
  7. Kumquat. [Web] 2014.
  8. Kappeler Maria. [Internet] 15.03.2014.
  9. German Wikipedia. Kumquats.
  10. Kumquat. [Internet].
  11. Science secondary plant substances and their effects [Internet] updated there in 2012.
  12. USDA, United States Department of Agriculture.
Authors: Beatrice Lippuner |