What is Calamondin?
Calamondins were introduced to Florida in the early 1900s and became popular as a backyard tree. They yield a VERY tart fruit that is smaller than a golf ball. What makes calamondin unique is its thin peel that is actually sweeter than the juice. Women used the fruit to make jam and glazed cakes. In the 50s, when women entered the workforce in droves, there were fewer people baking and making jams so calamondin’s popularity declined.
Why You Haven’t Heard of Calamondin
Since the peel is so thin, it tears if the ripe fruit is plucked from the tree. This torn fruit can not be properly cleaned and can not be used. So, each fruit is hand-snipped from the tree. To process the fruit, there are 8-12 seeds that must be removed. The hard work involved in picking and processing has made calamondin less desirable to commercialize than other citrus fruits.
Can You Buy Fresh Calamondin Fruit Outside of Florida?
Laurie Gutstein of Calamondin Cafe has made it her mission to popularize calamondin and to spread the word about this special fruit. To her credit, she is extremely concerned about quality. Laurie shared with me that the USDA requires EVERY piece of citrus that leaves the state of Florida to be dipped in one of three fungicides – even organic citrus (I had no idea!). Because use of the peel is such an integral part of calamondin, Laurie says, “I cannot in good conscience use the almost organic growing practices we use and then dip that fruit. If the ban is lifted or modified, I will be shipping fresh fruit!” So, for now the fresh fruit is only available within Florida.
How Can You Taste Calamondin?
Since Calamondin Cafe can’t ship the fresh fruit outside of Florida, they have products made with calamondin that you can and should try to get a taste of calamondin:
- Calamondin coulis is a fruit puree that can be used as a calamondin concentrate in recipes. Soon, I’ll be sharing my calamondin cupcake recipe which uses the coulis in the cupcake batter and the frosting. The coulis is also incredible over yogurt, granola, or on baked brie.
- Calamondin jam can be used as a cupcake filling or simply spread on some toast.
- Just Tops are calamondin’s answer to candied orange peel. They are adorable sweet and tart little discs made from candied calamondin tops that are perfect cupcake toppers.
- Calamondin tea cake arrives to your house just as fresh as if you’d baked it yourself. Although I always advocate for homemade desserts, the advantage of buying a calamondin cake is that the cake is made with fresh calamondin – which as I mentioned above, you can’t purchase outside of Florida. Although my cupcakes with the coulis have a strong calamondin flavor, the tea cakes that I received from Calamondin Cafe had an intensity that I could not achieve without access to the calamondin juice.
In my next post, I’ll share the recipe for my calamondin cupcakes!
Note: This was a sponsored post by Calamondin Cafe and the photos in the collage were all provided by them. But, all of the opinions shared in this post are from my own experience with their products.