Kumquat is the English name given to the Chinese mandarin, due to its oriental origins and similarity to the European mandarin, from which it differs for its elongated oval shape and skin, the latter is so thin and smooth that it should not be discarded. Golden yellow when the fruit is ripe, it is sweet as well as acidulous and it has a few (3-5) small seeds.
The plant, an evergreen more tolerant to cold than our citrus fruits, is widespread in Italy above all as an ornamental plant; while the fruit-bearing species (Fortunella margarita, another name by which kumquat is known) is cultivated in small sizes, especially in Sicily.
The kumquat fruits on the market are all imported, harvested from late November to February, although at the market they can be found almost exclusively during the Christmas holidays. These fruits are added to fruit salads or used to garnish cocktails, but they can be also prepared caramelized to make jams, candied fruit and syrups. The Chinese mandarin can be kept wither at room temperature for a few days or in the fridge for a couple of weeks.