Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Mysterious Nagami Kumquat

I just love getting reminded of wonderful tastes and textures. Recently, at a wedding reception, the kumquat caught my attention. The caterer had used the Nagami Kumquat as a colorful addition and twist to his Mediterranean-themed salad. The Nagami is an oval-shaped fruit about the size of a Brazil nut and it is in a category all its own because it has a sweet skin which gives way to a slightly sour taste inside. It is eaten with the skin still on so that the sweet and sour tastes delight the taste buds together.

In this instance, the caterer had simply halved each Nagami and tossed them into his salad where they added to the attractiveness of his dish, but more importantly, added zing and exotic flavor. I was so taken with them that I leaned over to my husband, Brian, and said “these kumquats are a great idea in this salad. I'm going to have to come up with some recipes featuring kumquats,” to which Bri responded “is that what they are? I thought maybe they were some kind of medallion tomato.”

That's not to say my husband is not a sophisticated eater. But, it does point up how infrequently he's enjoyed kumquats in anything he's been served {by me included!} But, this little fruit has too many benefits to be ignored.

According to (, 8 raw kumquats, which total 108 calories, provide 66.7 mg vitamin C with the daily recommended allowance being 75 for women and 90 for men. Eight kumquats also have 9.9 g of dietary fiber. The daily recommended by the Institute of Medicine is 25 g for women and 38 g for men. This little fruit also is a good source of vitamin A, Riboflavin and calcium.

Well, after knowing I liked the taste and benefits of kumquats, Bri set about locating some for me and learned that they are not so easy to find. None of our markets had them and even his “go-to” sources for more exotic items didn't carry them. He finally found them at a nursery that sold produce as well. So, having put that much work into locating them and knowing he'd be asked to do it again, Bri showed up with a baby Nagami kumquat tree which now resides in our backyard.

Nagami Kumquat

Meiwa Kumquat

In the course of his search for a Nagami kumquat tree, my husband learned about kumquat variations. He told me about the Meiwa kumquat tree which has a round shaped fruit and is sweet. He hasn't yet found the fruit, but he found the tree and, you guessed it, it's now the Nagami's newest neighbor.

Interestingly, the Meiwa has many more first-time buds, so I'll have to start thinking about what to do with them. Given the difficulty locating the kumquat fruit, it may be rewarding to plant your own if you have the space and right climate. I will let you know how our two variations do and what that Meiwa tastes like as soon as I know.