Would you like to try a “small but mighty” fruit guaranteed to give you pleasantly sour flavors? Calamondin oranges are a close combination of the sweetness found in mandarin oranges and the tartness of kumquats.
These tiny hybrid fruits will surely surprise you!
Let’s unpeel this citrus fruit’s history, characteristics, and taste! Then, come along as I explore how to cook using calamondins, and where to purchase these adorable trees so you can grow them at home!
History Of the Calamondin
The origin of this citrus fruit began in earlier times, within the countries of Indonesia and the Philippines. It’s also thought to be native to China.
Calamondins develop a top-rated, well-known juice and are a favorite of the Philippine Islands. These tiny fruits also grow throughout India, Malaysia, and southern Asia.
They’re also known as calamansi, Philippine lemons, or Philippine limes.
Characteristics of a Calamondin
These small fruit trees are popular thanks to their year-round blooming cycles and petite sizes. Calamondin trees have dark green leaves, bright orange fruit, and star-shaped blooms leaving behind gorgeous white flowers and fresh citrusy aromas.
A tree grows about eighteen to twenty-two inches in height and six to eight inches wide.
Calamondin oranges are tiny. Think equivalent to the size of a cherry. It’s only about one inch total in diameter.
This type of citrus is a hybrid variety of fruit. They’re unique for their quickly removed peel, and their soft flesh insides are tart with a hint of sweetness.
Using Calamondins in the Kitchen
Now let’s get to the really good part, which is eating them!
What Do They Taste Like?
There’s a lot of great flavoring packed into these tiny bright packages! These little fruits are acidic, juicy, sour to the taste, and resemble their cousin, the lemon.
What Can You Do With Them?
I highly recommend using calamondin with your next cocktail! If you enjoy citrus flavors, their aromas and strong tart taste are hard to beat.
Try a few of these suggestions:
- Try using them as mixers in your cocktails.
- Add their juice to cake recipes.
- Pair these oranges with overly sweet desserts and chocolates.
- Use its juice for other baked good recipes that require orange or lemon juice.
- Make a delicious citrus tart!
- Create a jar or more of delicious marmalade.
How to Use Them in Cooking
These tiny fruits are great to use for baking and homemade jams. They have the perfect amount of consistency to really compliment baked goods.
The juice of a calamondin is best used in cooking as you would use lemon or lime. You’ll see that the juice is a delicious way to flavor fish dishes, sauces, soups, and teas. Try adding its juices to cakes, muffins, marmalades, pies, preserves, and tarts in your baking.
Feel free to enjoy raw calamondin if you crave naturally sour snacks! However, remember these fruits are small, so bring a decent handful of these small-sized fruits for a complete snack.
The best part is they are an effortless and healthy snack to pack in your lunch or to-go bag! I’d also imagine they’d be great for nausea if you’re expecting!
Here are some delicious recipe ideas if you’re lucky enough to snag or grow bunches of these flavorful fruits!
Health Benefits of a Calamondin
Calamondin oranges have significant health benefits:
- Calamondin oranges are excellent antioxidants.
- They give your body additional boosts of energy.
- These mighty oranges will lower your chances of developing diabetes.
- Oranges are fantastic scent boosters and natural cleaners.
- Calamondins make a great snack when you’re trying to lose weight.
- Thanks to their natural vitamin C benefits, you can use citrus to strengthen your immunity.
- Lower your cholesterol by adding these oranges to your diet; fight against heart disease!
Growing Calamondin Trees at Home
Wouldn’t it be fun to grow one of these dwarf citrus trees at home? Here are a few things you need to know for your journey!
Calamondin trees grow well in containers:
- You’ll need a pot slightly larger than your tree; this gives the tree and roots room to grow.
- Make sure the pot has holes for proper drainage.
- Choose well-draining soil.
I suggest soil created for citrus trees to give you the best results!
Always make sure to give your tree a deep watering after planting. Calamondin trees need at least 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. Lastly, water your tree every other day or when the soil surface is dry.
To grow calamondin trees indoors, you can hand pollinate. Pollination is essential to help encourage fruit production.
Use a small, dry paintbrush or cotton swab and dab each flower. Then, wiggle and brush the centers of each bloomed flower. Act as a honey bee would and bounce from flower to flower!
Sometimes diseases and pests happen. Here are a handful of main culprits:
- Citrus Scab: Raised yellow or pink bumps on the leaves; treat with copper.
- Citrus Variegated Chlorosis: Yellowing on the leaf’s surface or brown underneath; treat by pruning.
- Citrus Black Spot: Mature fruit with black spots; treat with copper.
- Huanglongbing and Citrus Greasy Spots: Blotchy, brown spots or falling leaves, deformed fruits; treat using Foliar Micronutrient or removal.
- Citrus Anthracnose: Stem dieback and leaf drooping; try treating this with Zinc Sulfate, copper sulfate, or hydrated lime.
- Citrus Canker: Brown lesions under your tree’s leaves or yellow lesions on the matured fruits; treat by removing the infected areas.
- Citrus Leprosis: Round dark brown or yellow lesions on the leaves or peel; treat using Miticide.
- Citrus Bacterial Spot: Small brown or yellow lesions on the tree’s leaves; treat with copper or prune.
- Citrus Melanose: Raised small reddish-brown bumps or spots on the leaves and fruit; treat using fungicide.
- Citrus Phytophthora: This disease is also called root rot. You’ll notice peeling on the bark areas, a brownish-red resin on its trunk, and leaf yellowing. You can treat this disease using irrigation, avoiding overwatering, and applying fungicide when needed.
A few different pests could interfere during growth. Watch out for citrus white flies, aphids, orangedog caterpillars, citrus thrips, snails, citrus bud mites, and citrus red mites. You can treat most, if not all, of these pests with insecticides.
Give your calamondin tree a good trimming for shape and size control. Please remember to prune after its harvest.
First, trim each of the highest branches at the lateral branch. Never cut down more than twenty-five percent of your tree’s branches. Pruning is a great way to keep the tree’s height manageable!
When Do I Harvest Them?
Always pay attention to weather conditions while growing these fruit trees. Calamondins fruits are delicate and extremely sensitive to humidity and temperature changes.
When a calamondin is entirely orange, it’s ready to be picked. First, you’ll notice a firm yet smooth surface signaling good juice and moisture content. Pull gently, and a ripe calamondin will easily detach from its tree.
Where to Buy Calamondins
Here are great places to order healthy calamondin trees to grow this season:
Nature Hills Nursery is America’s largest online plant nursery featuring high-quality citrus trees and other great plants. They’re known for fast and reliable shipping and healthy selections. Order one of their beautiful calamondin fruit trees to grow at home!
Another excellent place to buy calamondin trees fast is to order from Amazon. This specific calamondin tree will arrive quickly and has gained positive ratings.
Do you now need supplies and planting tools? Then, check out the citrus tree care and quality planting tools sold by our friends at Hoss Tools!
Due to their fragileness and moodiness to humidity and temperature fluctuation, it’s challenging to find places willing to ship these fruits individually. However, they are found widely in the Philipines and the state of Flordia. Next time you visit, plan a tour of the local food markets.
Discover How Much Flavor the Calamondin Packs!
After learning about these exciting tart treats, are you now craving some calamondin? It’s clear to me why these miniature fruits are so popular among many gardeners. Now all that’s left to do is try growing your own calamondin tree, try a few new recipes, and enjoy!
Excited for more kumquat content? Check out our kumquat trees page to learn more about this funky little citrus!