Thin-Skinned

Green_calamansi

I received another windfall of kalamansi limes from my mother recently, whose tree was bursting with bright orange orbs of the Filipino citrus. The longer a kalamansi sits on the tree, or the older it gets, it will change colors from green to orange. I’m guessing that because kalamansi are grown so abundantly and used so frequently in the
Philippines, you will rarely find an older, orange-hued one there. Such is not the case for my mother, who is lucky enough to have a tree that produces more fruit than she can use. Hmph.

The bag of fruit that my mom unloaded on me contained about a jillion orange kalamansi, and only a few green ones. So I decided to conduct a very unscientific and inconclusive experiment in which I compared the traits of green and orange kalamansi limes. Prepare to be awed.

Calamansi_lemon

Kalamansi are smaller than lemons. Mind blowing.

Firstly, I noticed that both the green and orange kalamansi were smaller than a lemon! Mother-effing crazy, right? Wait, hold your applause, there’s more!

After cutting open the green ones and a couple of orange kalamansi, I found that both are thin-skinned and orange-fleshed. The juice yielded from both was also orange. I then squeezed some of the juice into separate teaspoons and gave the samples a taste. The juice from both samples tasted sour with a hint of orange fruit–I couldn’t find any discernible differences between the green and orange kalamansi. All of this info is earth-shattering, I know. I’m already crafting my speech for the Nobel Prize in Awesome.

So, in conclusion, the skin color of kalamansi doesn’t matter. Green or orange, it’s still Filipino on
the inside (and that, boys and girls, concludes today’s After School Special).

Although I was riding a natural high from my ground-breaking findings,
I still had a bagful of kalamansi with which I had no idea what to do.
Since they were already so “ripe”, on the verge of decomposing, I
figured I’d at least squeeze ’em and freeze the juice
for a later use.

After cutting each kalamansi in half, then squeezing the juice through a small sieve to catch the seeds, all of the spent lime rinds were just sitting there on my cutting board, waiting to be pushed aside into the trash. It was then at this point that I made another important discovery: kalamansi rinds are edible. (I’m on a roll, I know).

Because the kalamansi rinds are so thin, they were fairly easy to chew and swallow. The rinds (green and orange), while still quite sour and a tad bitter, were also surprisingly sweet–kinda like biting into an orange segment. So I decided to put the kalamansi rinds to use as well and candied them.

Candied_calamansi2

Candied Kalamansi Peel

Making Candied Kalamansi is just like making any other kind of candied citrus rind, but because kalamansi are so thin-skinned, they are even easier to candy because the rinds don’t have to be boiled as long to tenderize them.

To make Candied Kalamansi, just boil some sugar and water, toss in the kalamansi rinds, and simmer for a few minutes. Then drain the rinds, toss them in some sugar, and let them dry. Easy, right? You can eat the sugared rinds right away, but if you let them dry for a couple of days, the candied kalamansi peels are even better.

Sliced_calamansi

Cuts both ways.

In the picture above, the kalamansi halves on top were sliced in half at the “equator”, and the halves on the bottom were sliced from “pole-to-pole”. Although cutting through the equator may be a bit tougher because you’ll have to slice through more seeds, I found that if you cut the kalamansi in half around the “equator”, as opposed from “pole-to-pole”, the resultant candy is prettier because the segments are still visible. But it doesn’t really matter as the resultant product all tastes like sweet citrus candy.

Candied Kalamansi Peel

1 pound kalamansi, washed and stems removed
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar, for sprinkling

Cut each kalamansi lime in half, then squeeze the juice through a sieve and into a small container. Set aside the kalamansi rinds. Discard the seeds in the sieve and save the kalamansi juice for another use (Bistek, perhaps? Or how about a Kalamansi Granita?).

In a small pot, combine the 1 cup of sugar and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and continue stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Add the kalamansi rinds to the pot and continue simmering for 10 more minutes.

Drain the rinds in a large sieve set over a bowl. You can reserve the syrup in the bowl for another use: place the kalamansi simple syrup in a squeeze bottle and use it to flavor and sweeten teas and/or cocktails.

Calamansi_syrup

Place the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a large lidded container. Place the rinds into the container with the sugar. Place the lid on the container and shake to completely cover the rinds in sugar. Remove rinds from sugar and spread out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Dried_calamansi

Allow rinds to dry for 24 hours or more, then store in an airtight container.

  • Jikuu December 16, 2008, 2:50 pm

    Nice work on perpetuating kalamansi. My grandmother recently made a bunch of kalamansi marmalade because she too has a huge tree in the backyard. She followed an orange marmalade recipe for the most part. It came out great.

    Reply
  • caninecologne December 16, 2008, 3:02 pm

    what a cool and easy way to use leftover kalamansi. unfortunately our kalamansi tree didn’t bear so much fruit this year – i’ll have to scav off my parents’ tree.

    Reply
  • _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver December 16, 2008, 3:47 pm

    Access to kalamansi!?!? So lucky!
    (I didn’t know all that info re green vs. orange as well.)

    Reply
  • Lorena December 16, 2008, 4:27 pm

    I never thought of making candy with the rinds — I usually squeeze the juice on my pancit and toss ’em. Something to consider should my grandma gift me with any…

    Reply
  • Manggy December 16, 2008, 6:41 pm

    Great job, Marvin. I wonder if the candied kalamansi would suffer from the excess humidity (I made a few candied orange rinds before: never dried).
    Nobody slices kalamansi longitudinally here!! It makes them difficult to juice!! Ha ha ha :)

    Reply
  • dp December 16, 2008, 6:55 pm

    It’s the little things that are so interesting to learn about. I’ve yet to see an actual kalamansi in person, but I’ll know what they look like when I do! And the candying idea is great! You could give them out as gifts, if you don’t eat them all yourself :-)

    Reply
  • joey December 16, 2008, 9:13 pm

    These are fantastic Marvin! I would have never thought of candy-ing the rinds…although of course it makes perfect sense, calamansi being just like any citrus except even more awesomely delicious 😉

    Reply
  • Pleasure Palate December 16, 2008, 10:41 pm

    I think you should start putting all these recipes in a cookbook. I don’t even cook, but I’d buy it. :)

    Reply
  • Mila December 16, 2008, 11:13 pm

    Did the green rinds turn out orange when candied?
    I wonder why our native calamansi has brown bumps on them, sort of makes it less appealing to candy, but I’ll give it a go! I noticed that there were some large specimens in the market lately. I’ve been squeezing tons of calamansi for juice and to add to my bagoong-tomato salad. All the rinds have been going into the compost heap, but this might lead to better use. Manggy, try oven drying them.

    Reply
  • Katrina December 17, 2008, 2:03 am

    Hey, I grew up with an abundant supply of calamansi, but I didn’t know everything you learned through your awesome research! For instance, since I’d never seen orange calamansis before the pictures I saw in foreign food blogs (still never seen one in the flesh), I had no idea if it would taste the same as the green; I would’ve guessed the orange ones would be sweeter, since they’re riper.
    Great idea on the candied peels! Nearly everyone here just throws them away, but I bet they’re delicious candied. Recently, some people have been making marmalade out of calamansi rind, and calamansi muffins are also really yummy. If you want to try making those, Marketman has recipes for both.

    Reply
  • bernadette December 17, 2008, 3:00 am

    wow!!! nothing wasted! Thanks, Marvin! We have 4 mature kalamansi trees here and do they bear fruit when it’s the season…! This recipe is just right for me because I hate wasting things. Although calamansi rinds in compost is also good, but to candy them was never a thought i had.

    Reply
  • Fearless Kitchen December 17, 2008, 7:49 am

    All these people talking about the kalamansi windfall in their backyard… you know what’s in my backyard? Snow. And geese. Feh.
    Seriously, the candied kalamansi looks great and would probably make a great Christmas present for someone.

    Reply
  • ahnjel December 17, 2008, 10:28 am

    wow… i never thought of that, i make candied lemons, oranges and limes… but it never crossed my head to make calamansi… those look mighty tasty too!

    Reply
  • paoix December 17, 2008, 10:53 am

    Marvin, I’m glad that you champion kalamansi as you do! the taste is excellent that i can’t believe why it’s not used in more applications. I’ve made your kalamansi infused vodka drink several times and it’s been such a big hit!

    Reply
  • Arnold December 17, 2008, 12:41 pm

    Seriously, this post is dope. It makes me regret throwing away the bag full of juiced rinds when I was making bistek.

    Reply
  • Efren December 17, 2008, 3:14 pm

    Hmmm…I’m having a particularly evil thought. After I made my calamansi rocket-fuel, er, calamansi limoncello, I had hella peels that I had to get rid of.
    I wonder if the peels would’ve been able to handle being candied after being in the sauce for so long.
    And considering my dad is coming back from the PI early January, I should pop on over and get some more fruit.

    Reply
  • tarcs December 17, 2008, 3:49 pm

    Hey Marvin. Proof of the pudding is in the eating – how did the candied rinds go? Btw, I’m owrried about Cal. He should have been mentioned in this post.

    Reply
  • oggi December 18, 2008, 7:33 am

    You’re lucky your mom’s tree bears so much fruit.
    I juice my calamansi as soon as they are big enough and rarely wait for them to turn orange. I treasure the rinds and never throw them away. I zest, candy, or freeze them.

    Reply
  • manju December 18, 2008, 10:25 am

    I came over to tell you that the pork belly adobo was stupendously awesome — it’s like lechon kawali but the vinegar flavor is already inside the pork fat!! Loved it. Only problem… didn’t make enough…
    This post is inducing serious calamansi envy. We’re jonesing for calamansi over here in metro DC… not a single calamansi to be found anywhere…I’ve looked in 3 Filipino marts, 6 Korean marts, Latin American marts, Caribbean marts… All I’ve found are tiny packets of frozen unsweetend juice… 10 for $5.00!… Do you think I could borrow Kal from you since your mom-folks are loaded with fruit? Looked in nurseries and garden centers for my own “Kal” but no luck… help…

    Reply
  • [eatingclub] vancouver || js December 18, 2008, 1:22 pm

    Where is this ever-prolific kalamansi tree you speak of? I’d give my left arm for a kalamansi tree here.
    As I recall from a Tide commercial long, long time ago, you can also use the kalamansi to wash/clean clothes. Maybe that can be one part of your Nobel Prize-winning experiments, kalamansi vs Tide. 😉

    Reply
  • Yarn Hungry Hog December 18, 2008, 10:15 pm

    You know what makes the difference between a cook and a chef? A cook will follow a recipe or instructions without diversion from it. A chef, on the other hand, is a creative genius who will come up with great ways to fix something out of nothing. Dug-gun-it Marvin, you are a chef! Who would think to make candied kalamansi, huh?

    Reply
  • Caroline December 19, 2008, 12:58 am

    Great minds think alike, I suppose. :) Just candied some kalamansi, too. Your orange-colored ones looked so pretty, like little flowers. I should have left the segments on mine, will do that next time. That is, if I can get ahold of more kalamansi. How about passing some along to me? I’ll even trade you a relyenong bangus for them.

    Reply
  • Julie December 19, 2008, 7:48 am

    Marvin! This was GENIUS ULTIMATE! It makes me want to hug a stranger. =D

    Reply
  • Cynthia December 19, 2008, 12:13 pm

    Candied lime skins, I can just imagine how that hits the various parts of the tongue announcing its presence.
    Happy Holidays!

    Reply
  • Heidih December 20, 2008, 12:36 pm

    My neighbor grew up in the PI so I loaned her my December issue of Saveur with the excellent Filipino Christmas article. She just called a bit ago to meet me outside and return it. As she gestured to her calamasi tree I was speechless. Some of the branches are so heavy with fruit they are drooping down. I was gifted with several and invited to take some whenever I wanted. We ripped them off so it tore the skin at the stem releasing the incredible perfume. Oh my! I plan to use the juice in my baklava today and save the flesh to toss whole in a curry tonight.

    Reply
  • Jude December 21, 2008, 1:21 pm

    I had no idea kalamansi turned orange until I read your post. I always assumed they stayed green. You’re right, though — they go really fast. We go through handfuls of these with each meal.

    Reply
  • Burnt Lumpia December 21, 2008, 9:46 pm

    Thanks Jikuu. I bet your grandmother’s Kalamansi marmalade is fantastic.
    Hi caninecologne, it seems mooching off of our parents is the only way to get some kalamansi!
    Hi ts. Despite the color change, I couldn’t tell any difference in flavor.
    Definitely save the rinds Lorena!
    Thanks manggy! I guess I’m the only one that slices them longitudinally then!
    You’re right, dp. These would make great gifts!
    Thanks joey! Yeah, I tend to treat calamansi like any other citrus, that way there’s more uses for it.
    Ahh, shucks pleasure palate. though I’m afraid you’d be the only one to buy anything from me;)
    Hi mila. Yes, after boiling, the few green ones I had did change color.
    Honestly Katrina, it very well may be that the orange ones are a tad sweeter, but I didn’t notice any difference in the small sampling I had. I also wonder now if they will change from green to orange off of the tree, or if they need to stay on the tree to ripen. That may also give more explanation as to the lack of orange ones in the Philippines as they are always picked green, right? Hmmm, I’ll have to get another green one and leave it be on my counter and see what happens.
    Hi bernadette. Composting is also a great idea for kalamansi rinds. I don’t know anything about composting though, and I don’t garden.
    Thanks Fearless Kitchen. Though geese and snow in the backyard is pretty cool too, I think.
    They are very tasty indeed, ahnjel!
    Great paoix! I’m glad my kalamansi vodka worked out well for you! I need to make another batch!
    Thanks Arnold. Don’t feel bad though, just get more kalamansi!
    You might be on to something there, Efren. I don’t see why the drunken rinds couldn’t be candied, but then again, maybe the taste would be a bit off by that time.
    Hi Tarcs! The rinds turned out great. They tasted sweet and citrusy, though not overly sour. And yes, Kal wasn’t mentioned because he’s a terrible tree!
    That’s a great idea to freeze the rinds too, oggi. I’ll keep that in mind when I don’t have the time to candy them.
    Hi manju. You can order a kalamansi tree online here: http://fourwindsgrowers.com/. Look under “calamondin”.
    Haha js;P Next time I have a stain, I’ll rub some calamansi on it!
    Thanks very much for the compliment, Yarn Hungry Hog. But I am far from being a chef. I’m a hack at best:)
    Awesome Caroline! Your green calamansi look yummy as well!
    Wow Julie, you wanting to hug a stranger makes me want to hug a stranger!
    Happy Holidays to you too, Cynthia.
    Awesome that you’ve found a source for kalamansi, heidih! And yes, you have to be gentle when taking them from the tree–I usually use scissors to snip as close to the fruit as possible, that way there’s no ripping of the skin.
    Hi jude. I wish I had a source close enough so that I could go through handfuls as well. Hopefully one of these days my tree will start producing more fruit.

    Reply
  • Veronica Perez December 24, 2008, 5:44 am

    I wish we had kalamansi over here. Lime or lemon just does not compare! I love candied citrus peels.

    Reply
  • maricris January 5, 2009, 11:13 pm

    am a huge fan of your blog and of the delicious kalamansi fruit.
    on a recent trip to maui, a sushi chef served local snapper with slices of kalamansi and he swore that the fruit is one of the best compliments for raw fish. yummy!

    Reply
  • White On Rice Couple January 23, 2009, 9:19 pm

    Oh you’re so lucky to have family with an amazing bounty! Our little tree can’t produce enough fruits to keep up with our drinking. 😀
    But we’re definitely going to make your candied peels! Just gotta stop drinking them all first!

    Reply
  • Robert Harland January 30, 2009, 1:56 am

    I’d very much like to have the recipe for Kalamansi marmalade. Thanks. Robert Harland, Bacolod

    Reply
  • Taste Traveller April 24, 2009, 2:30 am

    I originally found this post after I had come back from Kuala Lumpur & *needed* to know what kind of limes I was having all the time. Do you know of a place that sells the seeds? I can’t get any of the limes here in Germany, but I’d be willing to try growing my own

    Reply
  • Glenn April 29, 2010, 9:27 am

    in Florida they have a lime in the Keys called “Key Lime” and they are famous for their Key Lime Pie..which by the way in Hawaii we’ve made Kalamansi pies..just as long…anyways It’s a custardy pie with whip cream or Meringue topping.
    It is told the spanish brought the Kalamansi originally to Florida and it has become this Key lime.. they kept them on the ships to prevent scurvy.
    Google “Key lime Pie” a refreshing use of the Kalamansi..BTW I have a tree here that gives us Thousands of fruit all year round…crazy I give the fruit to the Pinoy Restaurants since a lot still use lemons…with the Pansit.

    Reply
  • lemonandlimegrower November 28, 2016, 12:49 am

    Amazing! In los angeles, we get our rare citrus fruit trees from http://paradisenursery.com/product-category/citrus-trees/

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Next post:

Previous post: