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Ideas for Juicing and Using Kalamansi


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#1 Kerry Beal

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 07:50 PM

I picked up a bag of ripe kalamansi from the asian market this morning. A little reading leads me to believe they contain a huge number of seeds that will add astringency if I crush them in the process of juicing the fruits.

I can't imagine juicing them like limes or lemons (not that I have a tiny little reamer) - so how shall I get the juice out of them? Barring that - any other ideas for making use of them?

#2 heidih

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 08:57 PM

OK -just lost a huge post - breathing....

I have access to the fruit from two well established trees at a friend's house. I adore the fragrance and the flavor.

You say the fruit is ripe - to me that means quite orange and easy to squeeze by hand. The seeds are quite large in proportion to the size of the fruit and I agree that you do not want to smash them. I am generally using the whole fruit minus seeds for marmalade/conserve or just sliced or diced in savory apps. I find this fruit akin to kumquats in that the thin rind houses the special floral oils with a sweetness while the juice is quite tart. I just cut them in half and flick out the seeds with a sharp tipped knife. If using just the juice (as for baklava) I squeeze hard with my hand to also release some of the rind oils - over a strainer. Much like cleaning shrimp or any other repetitive task it goes swiftly once you get a rhythm.

Did you have any plans at this point for them?

#3 Kerry Beal

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 08:59 PM

No plans at all - just saw them in the store and 'had to have them'.

#4 annachan

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:40 PM

I love calamasi juice - such a refreshing drink.

#5 HungryC

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 05:25 AM

I've been using them to make chicken adobo. Calamansi juice, soy, ginger, garlic, onions, a little sugar, and a long, slow braise. A Filipina coworker suggested that I use vinegar with pork, but calamansi with poultry.

#6 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 06:12 AM

I am very fond of preserving them, whole, in brandy or (if you can score a decent bottle without breaking the bank) cognac.
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#7 Kerry Beal

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:39 AM

I am very fond of preserving them, whole, in brandy or (if you can score a decent bottle without breaking the bank) cognac.


Just wash and pop them straight in the bottle?

#8 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:43 AM


I am very fond of preserving them, whole, in brandy or (if you can score a decent bottle without breaking the bank) cognac.


Just wash and pop them straight in the bottle?


If they're small enough. I normally use a 2L widemouth jar.
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#9 curls

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:02 AM

When I was in South Florida, we had a calamondin plant and would make a batch or two of calamondin marmalade every year. Wonderful stuff to have around! There are quite a few seeds, Just cut them in half and remove the seeds with the tip of your paring knife.

#10 Kerry Beal

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:23 AM

When I was in South Florida, we had a calamondin plant and would make a batch or two of calamondin marmalade every year. Wonderful stuff to have around! There are quite a few seeds, Just cut them in half and remove the seeds with the tip of your paring knife.


I love to make marmalade - don't have time before I head off to SF this week - perhaps I'll bung some in the freezer for that purpose.

#11 patrickamory

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 11:04 AM

Jealous - I don't know a source for these in NYC. Does anyone?

And -

Squeeze by hand over a sieve - seed problem solved.

#12 curls

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 12:33 PM


When I was in South Florida, we had a calamondin plant and would make a batch or two of calamondin marmalade every year. Wonderful stuff to have around! There are quite a few seeds, Just cut them in half and remove the seeds with the tip of your paring knife.


I love to make marmalade - don't have time before I head off to SF this week - perhaps I'll bung some in the freezer for that purpose.

Freezing them and making marmalade later will definitely work (I have done that too).

#13 Jaymes

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 02:21 PM

Jealous - I don't know a source for these in NYC. Does anyone?

And -

Squeeze by hand over a sieve - seed problem solved.


I have always had a calamansi bush or two, ever since I left the Philippines, and that includes three years living in Alaska. It's been my experience that they are easy to grow, even as a houseplant. So I drag them outside in the summers, and then back in when the weather turns cold. Here in Houston, I have three.

They are small and full of seeds but, when they're orange and ripe, extremely juicy. The obvious uses are for typically tropical things like squeezing over one's slice of papaya, but you can use them for anything that you would normally use either a lemon or lime. In the Philippines, they are also considered to be the very best thing to ward off a cold or flu.

I like them so much in my gin & tonics that I routinely put a few in my purse before we head out to a bar for cocktails.

I just sent a boxful to Katie Loeb to thank her for a favor that she did for me. She turned them into a cordial, and wrote about it somewhere here on eGullet.

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#14 Syzygies

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:13 PM

A friend of mine is so obsessed with calamansi that he bought me a tree to plant in our yard. Alas, the frost killed it. He makes wicked improvisational sauces and so forth. To quote from a recent email from his wife, "I just made a small batch of preserved calamansi Moroccan style, and am halfway through a 4 day Nyonya (straights Chinese, as in Malaysia) recipe for pickled calamansi. I am going to go back online to look for another savory treatment. I still have the marmelades stored away."

Edited by Syzygies, 12 January 2013 - 09:15 PM.

Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"
Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

#15 LT Wong

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 04:45 AM

There are various dips that we use at home with calamansi.

One is with pounded fresh red chillies, sugar, salt and calamansi juice. Another uses dark soy sauce (use the premium slightly sweeter variety), crushed or chopped garlic and calamansi juice.

The rind of the calamansi is also great over salads, and is a typical ingredient in a south-east asian salad known as rojak.

Although not quite the right species, I've also preserved it with salt, something that my late grandmother does. We lay it out on trays to sun them, and they're kept in jars with more salt. Each time, we have a sore throat, she crushes two of them in hot water and makes us drink the delicious salty, sour drink.

#16 Kerry Beal

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 08:57 AM

So these poor kalamansi seem a little skint in the juice department. Out of a couple of dozen I got about a teaspoon of juice. So a couple of dozen in the freezer for marmalade and the peels of the parsimonious ones are starting their candying journey. They have had a first 5 minute boil, then a bath in ice - they are about to be added to a solution of sugar, water and some vanilla bean. They will sit for 3 or 4 hours, then I'll start boiling them a couple of minutes at a time, cooling between each boil until the Brix reaches 1230.

#17 Darienne

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 09:08 AM

Seconding Jaymes suggestion about growing the trees yourself. They are absolutely no trouble at all. I planted 14 seeds three years ago and gave away all but the biggest which is now one inch shy of 4 feet. It ought to start producing fruit...according to what I have read...this year. I also put mine outside during the summer.

I've made only marmalade with the oranges I got the year I got the seeds. Delicious. Would be great in Cochinita Pibil.
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#18 Jaymes

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 10:03 AM

If you don't want to start them from seeds, the plants, already bearing fruit, are available in Asian nurseries, or at least have been in many locales where I've lived. As far as the juice goes, it's been my experience that when the fruit is large and orange, it's fairly bursting with juice. A little tedious perhaps, but not that bad, and totally worth it. But many Filipinos prefer it when it's green.

An interesting (to me, anyway) story: As I said, I lived in the Philippines for several years and upon returning to the US, always had calamansi plants growing. At one house, I had one on each side of our driveway and, raising two sons, a basketball net hanging up over the garage door. My sons would shoot baskets and eat calamansi for hours, so they have fond memories of the fruit. Fast forward to today, and one son is a manager for a large hospitality computer company. One of his "help desk" teams is in the Philippines, so he goes there often and, occasionally, they come here for training. A few months back, he had invited the team over to his house for dinner and one of them was complaining that she was coming down with a very bad cold, but couldn't find any calamansi juice anywhere: "I've been to several drug stores and not only do they not sell it, they've never even heard of it. I've tried to find the fresh fruit in the grocery stores, but they've never heard of it either. I don't think anybody here has even heard of it. I don't know what I'm going to do!"

How fun when, to their complete astonishment, my son said, "Well, I've heard of it. In fact, I've got a calamansi bush in the back yard and it's loaded with fruit. Help yourself!

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#19 Kerry Beal

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 10:21 AM

So I took 4 seeds and planted them in my indoor herb garden. We'll see what comes of it.

#20 Darienne

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 02:55 PM

How fun when, to their complete astonishment, my son said, "Well, I've heard of it. In fact, I've got a calamansi bush in the back yard and it's loaded with fruit. Help yourself!

Good story Jaymes. Now maybe I can do the same thing myself...when it starts fruiting.
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#21 rumball

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:56 PM

i am growing 2 trees now indoors - 3 years old already - from seeds. seeds should be planted fresh, immediately. soaking in wet napkin for a day or two, until the skin breaks is good. my understanding they could take  7 years to fruit ;). it is much better to take a cutting from fruiting tree and root it - it should fruit in 2-3 years, sometimes even next year.

as far as usage - just like sour oranges. cubans use sour oranges a lot in marinades for pork/fish. in filipino recipes they are combined with soy (toyomansi) /vinegar/garlic for sauce/marinades.

also you can make english style marmalade: with skins. usually seville oranges are used for that (sour oranges).



#22 rumball

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 05:30 PM

oh, i forgot to mention that calamansi is the same as calamondin orange (that is how it is usually sold in plant shops - it blooms and fruits indoors easily in a sunny window).

the botanical name is Citrofortunella microcarpa. it is native to philippines.

james, in nyc you probably can get it in chinatown as a plant, they usually sell them around new year/chinese new year. already fruiting of course. i don't know of any place that sells them commercially as fruit.