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Limequats are very small in size, averaging 3-4 centimeters in diameter, and are globular to oblong in shape. The thin skin is smooth, shiny, covered in small oil glands, and transitions from green to yellow with maturity. Underneath the skin, the flesh is soft, succulent, pale yellow-green, contains a few, edible seeds, and is divided into 7-8 sections by thin, white membranes. Limequats have a floral fragrance, and when consumed fresh and whole with the skin on, they have a bitter-sweet, tart flavor.
Limequats are available in the mid-fall through winter.
Limequats, botanically classified as Citrus x floridana, are a small fruit that grows on a bushy tree that can reach over two meters in height and belongs to the Rutaceae or Citrus family. Limequats are a hybrid of the key lime and kumquat, and there are three varieties including the Eustis, Lakeland, and Tavares. These varieties earned their names from the towns in Florida where they were first developed. While largely localized to Florida, Limequat varieties are more cold-tolerant than limes and are increasing in popularity among home gardeners for their ability to produce high yields of fruit each year.
Limequats are a good source of vitamin C and folic acid.
Limequats are best suited for both raw and cooked applications and can be consumed whole. When used in cooked applications, the seeds are often removed as they impart a bitter flavor and the fruit can be sliced and added raw to green and fruit salads or used as an edible garnish for main dishes and appetizers. They can also be cooked into marmalades, jams, and jelly or used as a substitute for lemons or key limes. In sweet applications, Limequats can be candied whole, cooked into syrups or glazes, dipped in caramel, or sliced and used as decoration around pies, cakes, and tarts. The juice can also be used to infuse a unique citrus flavor to specialty cocktails, and the fruits can be pickled or preserved to add a salty citrus flavor to fish and chicken dishes. Limequats pair well with meats such as poultry, beef, pork, and fish, avocado, berries, persimmons, lychee, vanilla, and chocolate. The fruits will keep up to one month when stored whole in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Limequats are fairly unknown in the commercial market, except for in their native state of Florida where they are most commonly made into limequat pie. Using recipes for key lime pie, the Limequat is often substituted for a unique and flavorful twist on the classic dessert. The fruit is also grown in other tropical countries but is often limited to garden and small grove production as the plants are largely considered ornamental.
Limequats are native to Florida and were initially hybridized in 1909 by Walter T Swingle of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and introduced to market in 1913. Today Limequats can be found at farmers markets and in home gardens in the United States, Japan, Malaysia, South Africa, in select regions of Europe, and in India.
Recipes that include Limequats. One is easiest, three is harder.