Golden orange translates to kam kwat in Chinese and that is the origin of the name of this strange tree, kumquat, which has been extensively cultivated on the island of Corfu since 1924. Kumquats are slow-growing evergreen shrubs or short trees, with dense branches, sometimes bearing small thorns. The leaves are dark glossy green, and the flowers white, similar to other citrus flowers, borne singly or clustered in the leaf-axils. Depending on size, the kumquat tree can produce hundreds or even thousands of fruits each year.
The kumquat is a tree that belongs to citrus trees and does not exceed 2.5 meters in height. Its fruits ripen in December and turn orange from green, as is the case with other citrus fruits as well. That means that the most suitable period for picking extends from January to February. The edible fruit closely resembles that of the orange, but it is much smaller and ovular, being approximately the size and shape of an olive. Delicious, sweet yet tangy, kumquat fruit is a winter/spring season delicacy. Although kumquats taste just like that of citrus fruits, they are distinguished in a way that they can be eaten completely including the peel. On the Interior, the fruit resembles tiny orange with juicy segments firmly adherent each other and with the rind. As with all citrus fruits, it abounds in vitamins A and C.
The plant is native to south Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. The earliest historical reference to kumquats appears in literature of China in the 12th century. They have long been cultivated in Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Southeast Asia. They were introduced to Europe in 1846 by Robert Fortune, collector for the London Horticultural Society, and shortly thereafter into North America.
The kumquat was brought to Corfu by the botanist Sidney Merlin, best known for an orange variety that he cultivated in his estate in Corfu that is known in Greece as “Merlin”. Today, the kumquat is grown mainly in the North Coast of Corfu, especially around the village of Nymphes.
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Corfu kumquats are used mainly to produce the renowned “Corfu Kumquat Liqueur”, which is used in a variety of cocktail recipes especially during summer. Kumquats are also used to produce preserves or spoon sweets and marmalades, confectionary as well as in different meat recipes instead of other citrus fruits.
Pickup about one kilo of mature kumquats, wash them thoroughly and remove the seeds. You can either cut the fruit in very thin slices or smash half of them in the blender and cut larger pieces of the other half. Put the kumquat pieces in a large pot, along with their seeds wrapped in tulle, and add water. Leave them like that for a night. The next day, add lemon juice and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes until their skin softens. Remove the tulle with seeds and add around one kilo of sugar and heat the mixture at low temperature, stirring, until the sugar melts but without boiling the jam. Once the sugar has dissolved, raise the temperature as possible and boil without stirring for 20 minutes. Taste the jam and when it seems firm enough, remove from fire. Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal after the jam has cooled down.
Corfu Kumquat Liqueur
Choose your kumquats firm and mature with bright orange color, about 1 kilo. Wash thoroughly, carve with a knife in two or three points and then put them in a bowl with 1 bottle of brandy (750ml) in a shady place for three weeks. Don’t close the bowl tightly since it should be able to "breathe ". At the end of the third week, boil 2 cups of water and dissolve 700 – 1000gr sugar in it. Once cool, add it to the bowl and leave it in the shady place for another week. After all four weeks, remove the fruits and strain the liqueur into bottles.
Kumquats are incredibly rich sources of health-benefiting dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and pigment anti-oxidants that contribute immensely towards wellness. Fresh fruits contain adequate levels of some of the anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin A, C and E. Altogether these phyto-chemical compounds in kumquat fruit help scavenge harmful oxygen derived free radicals from the body and thereby protect us from cancers, diabetes, degenerative diseases and infections. Kumquats also contain good levels of B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, pyridoxine, folates and pantothenic acid. These vitamins function as co-factors for metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Kumquats are eaten along with the peel, a unique feature that differentiates them from other citrus family fruits. The peel is rich in many essential oils, anti-oxidants, and fiber. 100 g of whole kumquats provide 6.7 g or 17% of daily-recommended levels of fiber composed of tannins, pectin, hemi-cellulose, and other non-starch polysaccharides.
In addition, kumquats are modest sources of minerals like calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, iron, selenium, and zinc. Calicum is the chief element required for bone and teeth formation. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation as well for cellular oxidation.
Address: Corfu Distillery MAVROMATIS ltd.
National Road of Palaiokastritsas 16th km.
CORFU – GR 49083
Contact Name: Koum quat MAVROMATIS
Mavromatis kumquat distillery was established in 1965, is a family operated business, specializing in distillation of the unique kumquat oranges in two special liqueurs and a sweet kumquat in jars.
The production capabilities are one million bottles of liqueur and fifty tones of sweet kumquat.
Wide range of high quality products.