I call them knock-out kumquats because they pack a 1-2-3 punch! Kumquats are delightful to eat, are the most ornamental of all citrus trees in your garden, and are known for their decorative quality as a garnish or an addition to a pretty table decoration, especially around the holidays.
1) Kumquats taste as good as they look. The name kumquat, means "gold citrus fruit" in Cantonese. Part of the citrus family, their fruit is a bright orange, oval in shape, and about the size of a really large grape. The fruit is eaten whole, peel and all. To add even more charm to this golden fruit, the skin is the sweet part and the flesh is the tart. Kumquats can be used easily in sweet and savory recipes alike. They are wonderful in salads, chutneys and dressings over grilled meats, relish, candied sweets, and sweet breads.
2) Kumquat season is November to May, perfect timing to use as garnish around your oven- roasted turkey. They have a deep green foliage, which provides a striking contrast to their bright orange fruit. Trim small branches of leaves and fruit off of your tree. These small branches actually remind me of a laurel wreath. Decorative ideas are as easy as creating a candle and leaves combination across your fireplace mantle, mix with whole nuts, dried gourds, minature white and Jack Be Little pumpkins* in a pretty tabletop decoration, or as a wreath around your holiday dish. Your eye naturally gravitates to these beautiful small fruit and contrasting leaves.
3) Besides the fruit, the kumquat tree is striking in a garden. It has large, fragrant white blossoms, beautiful bright orange fruit, and the dark evergreen foliage. These trees are a knock-out in container pots on a sunny patio, or as topiaries, my favorite, framing an entrance. There are three kumquat varieties for the home gardener, Meiwa, Nagami, and Fukushu. The Nagami is the most common and popular. The average height for these trees is fifteen feet, and four to five feet for the dwarf. Kumquats like full sun, and moderate watering once established. Kumquats are the one of the most cold hardy of the citrus. Local nurseries should have kumquat trees in stock, or they can be ordered for you, this time of year.
*Jack Be Little Pumpkin, a delightful minature pumpkin perfect for decorations and lots of fun for children.