Limequats: Discovering a New Citrus

You may have heard of the infamous miniature citrus kumquat, which is sweet-tart and fully edible whole, including peel and all. But are you familiar with its hybrid cousin, the limequat? Neither was I, until my last trip to the farmer’s market.

Every Sunday morning, rain or shine (yah, rain in Los Angles, I’m laughing too), I trek out to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market for my weekly fix of fresh produce. Like most other home cooks, I am admittedly all too comfortable with my standby grocery list, which I rarely steer away from.

My standby list: lemons, limes, oranges, avocados, fresh herbs, various leafy greens. To my credit, I switch it up each week by choosing new and different things to add to the weekly roster, things that I may or may not consciously seek out at the grocery store. Fruits and vegetables that are new to me, especially.

This Sunday was a rare day that I happened to actually come upon one such fruit that is new to me. There on the long table of the vendor who always has numerous crates of various lemons was a crate of small citrus fruits I had never seen–containing tiny, round citrus balls that looked like mini lemons, likes, and oranges. I learned this new discovery be to known as: limequats.

A hybrid of the Key lime and the kumquat, the limequat has been around since 1909, although it is rare to actually spot. There are three varieties of the fruit, which explain for the various fruits I saw which resembled lemon, lime, and orange—all the same fruit, but with different hues and sizes. And on the inside?

Imagine the flavor of a sweet-tart kumquat (which is quite pleasant); now combine that with the intense sourness of a Key lime and the most sharp, acidic lemon you’ve ever had. Pretty intense stuff. Let’s just say that if you have a head cold or a bout of mucus, a bite into one of these limequats will fix it up pretty quickly. If you’re a tart and sour fan, you’re going to love eating them whole. If not, you’ll do just fine juicing them for uses in sauces, dressings, and desserts.

The lime-looking limequat seems the least palatable to eat whole, as its skin is actually quite thick. The orange-looking variety has the most pleasing citrusy flavor, yet again; the pith is a bit thicker than desirable. The lemon-looking variety is hands-down my favorite, with its ever-sharp tartness and its very thin skin. I could seriously snack on a few of these whole.

I haven’t had the pleasure of experimenting with my new limequats in recipes quite yet, but I’ve managed to track down a few from trusted food bloggers. Take a peek:

Limequat Curd, Kahakai Kitchen

Candied Limequats, Sugar Mama

Limequat Marmalade, Chile Chews

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