What Are Kumquats Good For?

Crazy Over Kumquats
Botanical name: Fortunella margarita

Kumquats Nutrition Facts

Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are renowned all over the world for their tart flavor and health benefits. However, there is another delicious and nutritious citrus fruit that you likely haven't heard of before: kumquats.

Kumquats resemble small, oval oranges with a sweet-yet-tangy flavor and a hint of bitterness. They are either a golden yellow or a dark reddish-orange color.1 What sets kumquats apart from citruses, however, is that the skin can be eaten. Its peel is actually the sweetest portion of the fruit.2

Kumquats are said to be native to China, although they can be found in Japan, North America, Europe and South India.3

These fruits grow on small-sized evergreen trees that are slow-growing, shrubby and compact, reaching up to 8 to 15 feet high. The tree's branches are light green and become angled while young, but they can also either be thornless or possess a few spines. Lastly, the trees bear sweet, fragrant and small white flowers with dark green leaves.4

Kumquats’ Amazing Health Benefits

Kumquats are a low-calorie fruit, with 100 grams of fresh kumquats only containing 71 calories.5 In addition, these fruits are rich in nutrients such as:

  • Antioxidant vitamins (A and C),6 which play a key role in eliminating excess free radicals from the body, helping mitigate the risk of various diseases.7
  • B vitamins,8 which are all beneficial to optimal brain function, such as boosting energy production and improving the synthesis of numerous signaling molecules.9
  • Flavonoid antioxidants like carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin,10 which are known to help reduce the risk of macular degeneration and other eye diseases.11
  • Minerals like calcium and potassium — These nutrients play a role in growth and development, as well as in the prevention of chronic diseases.12

For more about the health benefits and nutritional content of kumquats, check out the table below:13

Kumquat Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 100 grams, raw
  Amt. Per
% Daily
Calories 71  
Total Fat 0.86 g  
Saturated Fat 0.10 g  
Cholesterol 0 mg  
Sodium 10 mg  
Total Carbohydrates 15.9 g  
Dietary Fiber 6.5 g  
Sugar 9.36 g  
Protein 1.88 g  
Vitamin A 15 ug Vitamin C 43.9
Calcium 62 mg Iron 0.86 mg

Studies Done on Kumquats

Compared to other citrus fruits, there aren't many studies that have thoroughly investigated the health benefits of kumquats yet. However, researchers are now beginning to discover the potential that kumquats have when it comes to overall health.

One study found that kumquats may help with weight management because they're high in both water and fiber while being low in calories. A study published in PLOS One in April 2014 demonstrated that mice that were fed a high-fat diet and subsequently treated using kumquat fruit extract experienced a vast turnaround of their health.14

The researchers conducted both a preventive and therapeutic experiment. The preventive experiment involved feeding female mice with a normal diet, high-fat diet and high-fat diet with 1% extract of kumquats for eight weeks. Meanwhile, the therapeutic experiment involved the mice being fed a high-fat diet for three months to induce obesity. After this, the obese mice were divided into two groups where they were either fed with a high-fat or high-fat and fruit extract diet for two weeks.15

The results of the preventive experiment on the mice fed with a high-fat diet showed that the fruit extract was able to help control body weight gain and sizes of white adipocytes (or white adipose tissue that serve as a storehouse of the body's energy16). Reduced fasting blood glucose, serum total cholesterol, serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and liver lipid levels were also noticed.17

Meanwhile, for the therapeutic experiment, the fruit extract was shown to have decreased the serum triglyceride (TG), serum TC, serum LDL-c, fasting blood glucose levels and liver lipid contents. Plus, improved glucose and insulin tolerance were recorded. Another positive was that the fruit extract was able to greatly increase the mRNA expression of a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor18 called PPARα and its target genes.19

It's important to note that while kumquats are generally healthy, you should consume them in moderation, as they contain sugar, which can be harmful to your health in excessive amounts.

Kumquat Healthy Recipe:
Endive Kumquat Salad

Kumquat Healthy Recipes


4 Belgian endives

10 sprigs parsley

10 sprigs mint

10 kumquats

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1½ tablespoons olive oil

¼ to ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt



  1. Cut off the ends of the endive, cut the trimmed endive into bite size pieces and put them in a salad bowl.
  2. Pinch the leaves off the parsley and mint sprigs. Tear into smaller pieces and add to the endive.
  3. Cut the kumquats into quarters and add them to the salad.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, oil and salt. Drizzle over the salad. Toss the salad to coat everything evenly with the dressing. Serve immediately.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
This recipe makes 4 servings.

(Recipe from The Spruce Eats20)

Tips When Buying Kumquats

If you want to enjoy kumquats, make sure to purchase them between November and March — kumquats are in season and at their peak during this point. Always pick fruits that are firm, with a bright-orange hue and no discolorations. Refrain from buying kumquats that are unripe, green in color and have surface cuts, bruises or damage.21

Store the fruits in a paper bag in your refrigerator, making it last for up to a week. You can also store kumquats in room temperature for several days. When you're ready to use kumquats, wash the fruit and gently pat dry using a soft cloth or tissue. Pull off the stem and chop or slice.22

The thin skin is generally left on because it can provide a contrasting flavor to slightly sour flesh. Kumquats taste extremely delicious on their own when eaten whole, although they can also be used as an ingredient for the following dishes:

  • Poultry stuffing
  • Fruit salads
  • Complementary side dish or glaze for duck and other fatty meats
  • Topping for desserts

Fun Facts About Kumquats

The scientific name of kumquat is derived from the name of Robert Fortune,23 a Scottish traveler and botanist.24 He was said to be responsible for bringing the fruit to Europe.25 Although Fortunella margarita is the most well-known type of kumquat, other varieties are grown as well:

  • Marumi kumquat (Fortunella japonica) — Round fruits with a distinct sweet taste and pleasant flavor26
  • Meiwa kumquat (Fortunella crassifolia) — This type of kumquat is larger than other varieties. It's also popular in Japan as "ninpo" or "neiha kinkan"27
  • Hong Kong Wild (Fortunella hindsii) — These are the smallest-sized kumquats28

Did you know that Saint Joseph, Florida has been considered the "kumquat capital" ever since 1895? This is because many varieties of kumquats flourish in the area.29


If you're a big fan of citrus fruits, then you will certainly love kumquats. These small, oval-shaped fruits are an amazing storehouse of various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that may boost your immune system, bone health and energy levels, and may even contribute to weight loss, as shown in mice studies.

Kumquats make for delicious additions to your favorite salads and desserts, although the natural taste of this fruit is compelling enough to eat it on its own. The next time you see kumquats at your grocery store or farmers market, don't hesitate to grab a few so that you and your loved ones can enjoy what they have to offer.