Easily the most common variety of kumquat stateside, nagamis are likely what comes to mind when you think of “kumquats.” Small and brilliantly orange, nagamis are known for their one-two punch of subtle sweetness followed by a characteristically tart bite. If you’re looking for a dependable variety to add to a dish, nagamis are an excellent option.
- Flavor: Subtly sweet and powerfully tart
- Best For: Incorporating into a greater dish
The second most popular variety of kumqaut, meiwa’s are the kings of fresh eating. Meiwas are generally smaller and rounder than nagamis but are much sweeter, making them a more approachable fruit. However, this means that the golden hued fruit doesn’t have the strong duality associated with kumquats, so they might not be the best option if you’re looking for a stereotypical “kumquat” flavor.
- Flavor: Clearly sweet with a mellow tartness
- Best For: Eating whole
Less common but not less important, marumis are one of the oldest varieties of kumquats. Due to their thick rinds and small size, marumis have survived since the times of ancient China! In terms of flavor, marumis strike a delicate balance between the tartness of nagamis and the sweetness of meiwas, making them a highly sought after variety. If you can get your hands on these, you won’t regret it.
- Flavor: Tart and sweet, but not overwhelmingly so
- Best For: Adding a deep, complex flavor to dishes
Another hybrid, the aptly named limequat is a cross between a lime (generally a west Indian or key lime) and a kumquat. Simultaneously sublimely sweet and powerfully sour, limequats offer a concentrated dose of typical kumquat flavor. Naturally, this makes them bad options for fresh eating, but they can be a strong sidekick in cooked dishes. Whenever you really want to get a sour “kumquat” flavor across in your dish, reach for limequats.
- Flavor: Strong sour and sweet aspects
- Best For: A blast of flavor
Actually a hybrid of a kumquat and mandarin orange, fukushus hold an interesting spot in the lineage of kumquats. More so than other hybrids, fukushus offer a balanced sweet/tart flavor that makes them a great introductory variety. Additionally, the fruit is supremely juicy and meaty for its size. Interestingly enough, the fruit is so characteristically beautiful that Chinese citizens often keep them as decorative house plants!
- Flavor: Balanced sweet/tart aspects
- Best For: Introducing customers to kumquats