Florida’s Dade City celebrates its “Ode to the Kumquat” during its annual Kumquat Festival. The FREE Festival honors its distinction as the world’s leading supplier of the tasty petite fruit This year’s event will be held on Saturday, January 26, 2019 from 9am – 5pm. Be sure to arrive early because each year it gets more and more popular.
Amidst green hills and pastures, an hour north of Tampa and a little over an hour west of Orlando, you’ll find groves dedicated to Florida’s “golden gem,” also known as the kumquat.
So what exactly is a kumquat? Orange in color, this small bite-sized fruit can be eaten – skin and all, providing a flavorful, pungent sweet and sour taste. It is a member of the citrus family and often baked into desserts and used as a glaze or flavoring for main dishes.
The kumquat is believed to be a native of China, and has long been a symbol of prosperity during the Chinese New Year celebrations. It was brought to the U.S. where two species are grown, the Nagami and the Meiwa. The more common Nagami (oval shaped) kumquat is tart and ideal for marmalades and jellies, while the Meiwa (round shaped), is sweeter and ideal for snacking, lacking the tartness of a Nagami.
While consumed skin and all, the peel is the sweetest part of the fruit and the sourness comes from the kumquat pulp of seeds and juice. Many insist the best way to savor this dainty fruit is by removing the stem, cutting it into small slices, and eliminating the seeds. While others prefer it whole.