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Apr 29, 2011 11:22 PM

A kumquat by any other name?

List: DH has been expanding his gardening skills, and is always looking for something new to plant. I read somewhere that kumquats grow well in hot weather (a necesity for our garden:-), and would love to plant a tree. They are also rumored to have beautiful, fragrant flowers. But when I mentioned this to DH he had no idea what a kumquat is. I tried to describe it to him, but he gave me a blank stare. (and I showed him a picture I found online, and he said "oh, its a little orange." No, not really....:-) I've seen them once or twice in the Mexican markets, but not recently, and I have no idea how to help him visualize the fruit. He grew up in India, anybody have any idea if they grow there (I have a feeling that they do!), and if so what the Hindi or Gujarati name might be? Or even an Arabic name, since food stuffs there were often traded with Arabic countries and he seems to know a good number of Arabic food names. Follow up: According to Wikipedia the word kumquat comes from a Cantonese word, and the fruit is most common in Eastern Asia (especially Japan, Thailand, parts of China, etc) but it also grown in Pakistan, India, and the Middle East. And although it requires a hot summer, the article I read said it can stand some winter frost: perfect for our climate! So, chowhounds, any help is appreciated!

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  1. check with your Arabic speaking niece, she knows the Arabic name. My daughter had never heard of kumquats until she went to Jordan (a shortcoming on my part raising her, I suppose)...and when she came home she want to know how to say xxx (sorry, can't remember the Arabic name) in English so she could look for it in the stores. A little internet searching, and we came up with the translation.

    Anyway, we found out that they are not uncommon in LA: if you take him over there for a drive in certain neighborhoods you can apparently forage (though I couldn't tell you which ones). And S (said daughter/neice) now has a kumquat tree growing in her backyard!

    2 Replies
    1. re: susancinsf

      I can tell you that they are beautiful trees that produce a lot of fruit...consider planting a dwarf or semi dwarf, as the standards are quite large and will produce more fruit than you could handle....they do thrive in heat and can handle temps in the 20s but can't take hard frosts...

      1. re: plantman

        You also probably want a rounded fruit version (Marumi) as opposed to a longer fruited (Nagama) type. Though the latter is marguially tougher, the former tend to taste better (they are generally sweeter)