Packaged whole fruits and a popular soft drink made from the fruit known as calamansi
Calamondin or calamansi—X Citrofortunella microcarpa (Bunge) Wijnands—is a fruit tree in the Family Rutaceae that presumably comes from and is very popular throughout Southeast Asia, especially the Philippines. In the west it is variously known as acid orange, calamondin orange, or Panama orange. In the Pacific islands it is called calamansi. Growing to a tree of perhaps 5 m (16 ft), calamondin bears small citrus fruits used to flavor foods and drinks. Although sometimes described as a native of the Philippines or other SE Asia areas, the tree is in fact the result of a cross between species in the genera: Citrus and Fortunella and unknown in the wild. Crosses between Citrus spp. have been cultivated for ages—so long that the origins of most are obscure. It is generally held that most species in cultivation are ancient apomictic hybrids and selected cultivars of these hybrids, including crosses with other genera such as Fortunella and Poncirus. The calamondin is usually described as a cross between Citrus reticulata (tangerine or Mandarin orange) and Fortunella margarita (kumquat).
Most owners in America of a calamondin tree grow it only as an ornamental; it can be especially attractive when the fruit are present. It is frost sensitive and therefore limited to warm climates (e.g., Florida, south Texas, and Hawaii in the U.S.).
The fruit of the calamansi resembles a small, round lime, a little bigger than the size of a thumbnail, about 30 mm (an inch) in diameter. It has the inviting odor of a tangerine with a very thin orangeskin. In spite of its appearance and aroma, the taste is quite sour. However, the fruit can be frozen whole and used as ice cubes in beverages like tea or ginger ale. The juice extracted by crushing the whole fruit makes a flavorful drink similar to lemonade. In Asia the juice is used to baste fish, fowl, and pork. Calamondin marmalade is made in the same way as orange marmalade—with a bit more sugar, providing a delicious spread for toast at breakfast. Like other citrus fruits, the calamansi is high in vitamin C, and the juice can be a good vitamin source.
Mabberley, D.J. 1987. The Plant Book. A portable dictionary of the higher plants. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 706 pp. ISBN 0521340608.
The calamondin tree, ranging from 6 1/2 to 25 ft (2-7.5 m) high, is erect, slender, often quite cylindrical, densely branched beginning close to the ground, slightly thorny, and develops an extraordinarily deep taproot.
Calamondin halves or quarters may be served with iced tea, seafood and meats, to be squeezed for the acid juice.
Rubbing calamondin juice on insect bites banishes the itching and irritation.
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