Limequat is a hybrid fruit born from the cross between kumquat and lime. It is a relatively unknown fruit that belongs to the genus Citrofortunella and the family of Rutaceae plants. Limequat is an explosion of flavors, properties, and nutrients, which we will show you today.
This genus between Citrus and Fortunella contains the best of its mother fruits, from their physical appearance to the internal content of the fruit. Hybrids like this are essential to replace their mother fruits in some recipes, dishes, drinks, or cocktails.
If you want more information about limequat, we invite you to continue reading and take note of everything related to this fruit, which we will discuss today.
Origin and cultivation of limequat
It is initially believed that limequat was first created in Florida in 1909 by Walter Tennyson Swingle, an American botanist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They were then introduced to the market in 1913 in the continent of Africa, Europe, and Asia.
Despite being one of the fruits of its little-known kind, it is used as a common ornamental plant in different parts of the world, including countries such as Japan, China, Malaysia, Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Limequat is ideal to be grown in containers and pots in nurseries and gardens. The fruits of the limequat tree are fast-growing and abundant. The right time for their collection is in the winter season.
The cultivation of limequat trees should preferably be done in frost-free areas because they are not tolerant to intense cold.
The soils must have good water drainage and consistently enhance the tree with good fertilization, which must be done in the spring and summer.
Limequats are very small, averaging 3 to 4 cm (1.1 -1.5 in) in diameter, and have a round to oblong shape, containing an intense citrus aroma. The skin is thin and very soft. It is also covered with small sebaceous glands and changes from green to yellow when it reaches its state of maturity.
The pulp of limequat is pale greenish-yellow. Although it contains a few edible seeds, they have between 7 to 8 segments divided by thin white membranes. The limequat tree has dense foliage, which makes its branches and leaves look very bushy.
The shape of the leaves is a mixture of the leaves of limes and kumquats; its color is an intense green and very bright. The flowering of the fruits of these trees begins very early and has a vast production capacity, so during the regular production cycle, it can bear many fruits.
Limequat is referred to as a genus of citrofortunella hybrid due to the cross between the citrus called lime and the Fortunella plant called kumquat.
Limequat trees are considered small trees which reach 1 meter or 2 meters in height (depending on the crop and the planting area can grow more than 2 meters in size).
These trees grow as shrubs and produce fruits even in their developmental or juvenile stage. Limequats are available from mid-autumn to winter.
Currently, there are three different varieties of limequat: Lakeland, Eustis, and Tavares.
Limequat varieties got their names from the Florida cities where they were first developed. While located mainly in Florida, Limequat varieties are colder tolerant than limes and are increasingly popular among home gardeners for their ability to produce high fruit yields yearly.
The skin of limequat is sweet like that of kumquat, while its pulp is acidic like lime. The skin of this fruit is 100% edible, which means you can eat it whole.
Climate and temperature
The right temperature for limequat varies between 50 to 86°F (10 to 30 °C), so you have to be cautious with the massive changes in extreme temperatures, both low and high.
The ideal climate for this small fruit is a Mediterranean climate. However, if grown in a cold environment, keeping it inside a greenhouse or the house is advisable, always protecting them from the cold.
If the weather is scorching with the intense and abrasive sun, or even in the dry season, it is also not good to keep it outside every day. Instead, placing them for a few hours inside the house or in a shady place is better.
Like all citrus fruits, limequat needs a medium soil of both pH and texture. Therefore, sandy loam soil works for growing it.
The soil must have excellent drainage and must be fertilized with special fertilizer for citrus fruits. The best times to fertilize the limequat tree are in spring and summer.
Properties and benefits
Limequat contains excellent properties, nutrients, minerals, and vitamins for the human body. Among them, we have vitamin C, which primarily helps the formation of collagen to fight infections in the respiratory system. In addition, this fruit provides several organic acids, including ascorbic acid, citric acid, and folic acid.
It also contains some minerals such as phosphorus, iron, potassium, calcium, and a little manganese, which gives the body the mineral balance it needs.
Because it is an excellent source of vitamin C, it helps the respiratory system fight infections and bacteria.
Vitamin C helps produce collagen, the body’s connective protein, and is therefore essential for connective tissue health. In addition, it promotes the accelerated growth of muscle tissue thanks to abundant vitamin C, which helps in wound healing and supports muscle growth.
It provides energy and vitality to the body’s organism, and its aroma is very effective on the human brain. It stimulates the brain to send various nerve impulses very effectively, activating the rest of the body and increasing concentration.
In addition, consuming this fruit provides a feeling of satiety, which is indispensable for those who are dieting. The feeling of fullness or satiety avoids consuming other foods that make you break with the diet.
Below we will show you some of the benefits that limequat gives us:
Quantities per 100 g of fruit:
|Total fats||0.4 g|
|Saturated fatty acids||0 g|
|Dietary fiber||5 g|
|Vitamin B6||0 mg|
|Vitamin B12||0 mg|
|Vitamin C||30 mg|
|Vitamin d||0 mg|
- The cross between the Creole lime and the round kumquat (kumquat marumi).
- Its shape is oval or rounded form.
- Its size is between 2.8 to 4cm in diameter.
- It has a bright light yellow shell.
- Its texture is smooth and with prominent oil glands.
- The skin of this limequat is thin and edible.
- Its pulp is light green and is divided into 6 and 9 segments.
- It is very juicy with a very acidic flavor inside.
- It contains about 5 to 12 tiny seeds.
- The tree has small thorns, buds, and pure white flowers.
- The size varies between 4 to 5.7 cm in diameter.
- Its shape is entirely oval.
- Its skin is thin and smooth, bright yellow.
- Its interior is divided between 5 and 8 segments.
- The color of its pulp is a pale yellow with an acid flavor.
- It contains 2 to 9 large seeds.
- Its tree does not have many thorns and is characterized by emanating white flowers with some stripes of pink hue.
- The cross between Creole lime and oval kumquat
- It has a size of 3.2 to 4.75 cm in diameter.
- The skin of this is edible, thin, and smooth.
- Its color is a pale orange.
- Its pulp has a shade ranging from beige to yellow.
- It is divided into 7 to 8 segments.
- It has between 6 to 11 large seeds.
- The tree is vigorous, contains short spines, and flower buds are pink.
What are the uses of limequat?
The acidic taste of limequat makes it a spectacular substitute for lime or lemons in different recipes for drinks and desserts. One of the ways is to squeeze the juice from the pulp of limequat to use it with other fruit juices to create a refreshing drink for breakfast or for any application that requires lemon or lime juice.
Because it has hardly any calories, it is used in numerous hypocaloric diets. In addition, it is used to make all kinds of cocktail drinks. The pulp is quite juicy and its sweet and acidic touch at the same time is perfect for the preparation of savory dishes or sweetened desserts.
Given its high acidity content, it works as an excellent preservative for other fruits already cut. The way to do this is by covering the pieces of fruit with limequat juice, which prevents them from turning brown.
Limequats can be applied in various recipes, such as puddings, cakes, fillings, or creams for cakes, meringues, fruit salads, jams, syrup, jellies, and others. It also works as a good lemon substitute for savory dishes like ceviche.
These citrofortunellas that are perfect to use as key ingredients in cocktails and liquor drinks provide you with a unique flavor, an excellent presentation, and an aroma of exquisite citrus.
In addition to being used in cooking, limequats are also well suited for homemade medicine preparations, such as cough syrups and sore throats. Apart from being consumed, we can also give an external use to this unique hybrid through homemade exfoliants for the skin and prepared with shampoo to eliminate and prevent dandruff in the hair.
Also, the aroma of this incredible fruit gives a calm and vitality sensation, so it is extracted to prepare different essential oils that help us relieve the symptoms of stress and reassure the services.