Kumquat means golden orange in Mandarin Chinese (chin chu) and kam kwat in Cantonese.
The kumquat was quite popular in China and Japan, even in the oldest descriptions of Chinese texts in 1178 AD, but unknown in the West until 1846. It was ttat year that kumquat was brought to Europe by Robert Fortunel. The kumquat was originally classified in the family of citrus, but since1915, on the initiative of Walter T. Swingle, six Asian species of the fruit Fortunela family were named in honor of Robert Fortunel.
This strange tree 'golden orange', is grown extensively in Corfu since 1924. It is said that was brought to the island by the British agriculturist Merlin. After 1994s ministerial decision, it was declared as quality product with protected geographical indication.
The kumquat is a tree that belongs to the citrus family and does not exceed 2.5 meters. The fruit matures in December and, like other citrus fruits, starts green and the turning to orange. So, the best period for harvest is from January to February. The fruit is smaller than the mandarin, has seeds and may be eaten with the peel as well. Like all other citrus fruits is rich in vitamins A and C. The taste is very sharp and bittersweet and usually cannot be eaten as raw. But is excellent for liqueurs, jams and preserves. Therefore, most of the production is processed into the island of Corfu and a significant percentage of products is exported to EU countries each year.
Kumquat is intensively grown in Corfu and, specifically, in the northern part of the island, in the valley of Nymphs, in Plato area where the soil is soft, and climate is mild. Every year production reaches almost 140 tons.
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