My father’s former caregivers grow a calamansi tree outside their back porch in Kahuku, Oahu, and they use the juice of this fruit in their Filipino cooking to season meats, fish, and noodles.
I was so happy to learn about it, I planted a tree of our own several years ago in the garden where it gets full sun and good drainage. Growing food is so satisfying!
The botanical name is Citrofortunella microcarpa, sort of a cross between a kumquat and a mandarin orange, and it is native to the Philippines, according to my reading. The average diameter is slightly bigger than a quarter dollar. The flesh is tart, and the skin is sweet and thin.
You can use it in cocktails in place of lime or lemon, and as the acid in a vinaigrette dressing. Yet, there are only so many cocktails one can drink and only so many salads one can dress.
When our tree starts bearing and the fruit begins to ripen, I make calamansi marmalade in the microwave, one small batch at a time.
I like marmalade with a lot of bitter peel, and I can’t always find it in the market. Calamansi preserves has the right amount of that flavor for me. It’s wonderful on toasted English muffins or on pancakes.
Here is my easy recipe, basically one part fruit to one part sugar. How sad that sugar is bad for our health. Calamansi marmalade is so delicious!
Have ready a clean glass jelly jar and lid. Either run them through the dishwasher or under hottest tap water and allow to drip dry. Wash and scrub 1 cup of whole ripe calamansi fruit with orange skin. Cut each fruit into fourths and remove seeds with the tip of the knife. Combine with 1 cup granulated sugar in a 4-quart glass measuring cup or similar microwave-safe container. Cover loosely with plastic wrap to catch splatters, leaving a vent so it won’t boil over into a mess. Place container in a larger dish to collect any syrup that does boil over. Cook in the microwave on full power for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring half way through to blend, until the calamansi appears cooked and shriveled, and until the mixture thickens but is still liquid. The mixture will be very hot. Using hot pads, carefully pour into the jelly jar. Put on the lid securely and refrigerate. As the marmalade cools, it will further thicken and gel into jelly and cause the lid to seal tightly. Keep stored in the refrigerator. Makes 1 cup.
Copyright 2011 Rebekah Luke