Wednesday, September 26, 2012

All About the Calamondin

Calamondin grows in Northern India thanks to its ability to thrive in colder climates. Some varieties, however, grow well in sunny warmer regions.

Availability of Calamondin in India:
Calamondin is a year-round crop, though it’s not easily found on the shelves of Indian fruit stands and grocery markets.

Where to Find Calamondin in India:
Calamondin is one of those fruits that will be sold on roadside stands outside of the farms producing them for commercial ventures. Most crops are grown for food and drink manufacturers. If you know of large fruit bazaars where restaurant owners or smaller vendors select and sell their pickings, you might find calamondins. They might also trickle into the stall of a few fruit sellers, but this fruit is not well known or used amongst urban swaths of the population.

Some people have calamondin trees in their yards for ornamental purposes.

Checking for Ripeness in Calamondins:
Calamondins, like most citrus, start out as hard and green. When ripe, they turn orange and can be mistaken for tangerines.

Taste of Calamondin:
An Oliodigest digest article describes the taste of a calamondin as follows: bitter if picked too soon, sour when nearing ripeness, and at its peak, it’s still sour. At best, one bite of a calamondin makes other fruits taste sweeter. Its pulp is also highly acidic.

Nutritional Value of Calamondin:
As per an article by the University of Florida, a single calamondin fruit provides the following nutrients:

12 kcal
negligible fat
1.1 g of Fiber (4.8% RDI)
37mg of Potassium (1.2% RDI)
7.3mg of Vitamin C(12.1% RDI)
57.4 iu of Vitamin A (1.1% RDI)
8.4 mg of Calcium (less than 1% RDI)
3.1g of Carbs

Health Benefits of Calamondin:
Calamondin health benefits might not be readily apparent, but its oils, juice, and extracts have many uses. The Olio Digest article outlines the following medicinal benefits:
-Its juice, when applied to the scalp, reduces itching and promotes hair growth.
-Rubbing a cut calamondin on bug bites reduces itching and irritation
-Its juice clears the skin and itching in the vulva
-Combined with pepper, the calamondin reduces phlegm
-Its juice is also a laxative

How to Open/Cut:
Calamondin can be cut or peeled, just like many varieties of oranges and tangerines. This fruit has plenty of seeds, though.

Calamondin Recipe Ideas:
You can use calamondines as you would for either oranges (provided you add a ton of sweetener) or lemons and limes. In fact, the Florida population used to use calamondins as lemon substitutes until the latter came into greater production. Next time a recipe calls for lime, lemon or orange, think about using a calamondin instead!

This means that calamondins can be used for all of the following recipes:

-Sweet breads (like lemon bread, or lemon poppy seed muffins)
-Marmalades and other jams
-Dips (like a calamondin/soy sauce dip)
-Glazes (lemon glaze)
-Pies (like a key lime pie, but instead a beautiful lemony calamondin tart)
-Juice: Freeze them into ice cubes and add to a pitcher of water for “calamondinade” (tip taken from the University of Florida)
-Sparkling soda
-Squeezed over stir fries to create a zesty citrus flavor

Personal Experience:
I’ve eaten “ornamental” oranges on many occasions—while not quite the same as a calamondin, I’m vey familiar with that sour citrusy flavor deriving from decorative oranges. My home town has what I deemed as “fake” orange trees everywhere, including my old college campus. I’ve not seen calamondins in India quite yet.


Best article on calamondin I’ve come across:

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