So you're just getting started exploring the fun world of kumquats? C'mon along, let's check out these cool varieties together:
The first one we'll see is:
1. Meiwa (The Sweet One)
Meiwa, or Fortunella crassifolia, is hands-down the sweetest variety of all the kumquats. The shape of its fruit is more round & up to 1.5 inches in diameter.
This variety flowers in the summer & bears fruits late in the winter. Thanks to its semi-dormant characteristic, the tree can withstand extreme temperatures below the freezing point.
The skin of meiwa is thick, oftentimes thicker than the nagami (another variety that we will see in just a moment).
Meiwa flesh is sweet, light orange and has one or two seeds.
You can eat the whole fruit or either the rind or flesh as you like.
In contrast to Meiwa the sweet one, we'll now see Nagami the sour variety next:
2. Nagami (The Sour Variety)
Nagami, or Fortunella margarita, has sweet skin & sour juice. For folks who love a good balance of sweet-n-sour goodness, this is heaven.
To tell nagami from meiwa, you can look at the shape of the fruit. Nagami has a more oval shape (like an olive) while meiwa fruit is more round.
Like meiwa, this variety is ridiculously cold-hardy. It flowers from July to August & bears fruits in the late winter.
This is a prolific bearer that can give you fruits all year round. Kumquat fruits have tons of vitamins & can strengthen the immune system.
People usually use the nagami to make marmalade & jellies because of its natural tartness.
Check out this short comparison video of Meiwa vs Nagami:
Thirdly, we'll see a variety with the thinnest skin in the kumquat family:
3. Fukushu (The Thin Skin)
Fukushu, or Fortunella obovata, is a thin skin hybrid between two Fortunella species. Its fruits are larger than the other species we've seen.
Fukushu's small form with spreading round leaves makes it a cute ornamental shrub. Like nagami, this baby has sweet edible peel with tart pulp.
In the summer, it blooms white, exquisitely fragrant flowers. The fruits ripen at year end. People also call this variety ChangShou kumquat. Fukushu is the Japanese & ChangShou is the Chinese name.
Fukushu can withstand temperatures as low as 28F (-2C) on its own with little or no protection. Thus, making it a low-maintenance choice even for colder growing zones.
Let us see next the smallest variety of kumquat:
4. The Golden Bean (The Smallest)
Golden Bean or Hong Kong kumquat (Fortunella hindsii) is the smallest one in the kumquat family. Their fruits rarely grow more than 1.5 inches in diameter.
This variety can be started from seeds more easily than the other ones. Their fruits have large seeds & very little flesh, thus making them not highly edible.
This is why many people grow Golden Beans indoors as an ornament or as a novelty.
The Variety That You Like
The varieties that many folks hunt down for are the meiwa & nagami. Local grocery stores don't usually have these little treasures. And their prices are usually too darn expensive.
There's a reason folks call these kumquats "winter super fruit". In a little kumquat, there's only about 63 calories. With its low sugar content & great source of vitamin A, C, and fiber, this super-fruit can be enjoyed by everyone including Type 1 & Type 2 diabetics.
Meiwa or Nagami?
If you often forget the meiwa from the nagami (like us), just remember: Where's the dub (aka the W)? If there's a dub, then it's sWeet, so it must be meiWa. The other one (nagami) is sour. But if you don't like the tartness of nagami, just eat the sweet rind & squirt out the juice.
Hope this brief post has given you some ideas about the different kumquat varieties. We'll play around more with these citrus fruit trees. Come back often to check out more goodness. See y'all next time.
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