Calamondin is probably the most hardy citrus tree available in the UK and due to it’s small size makes an ideal citrus tree for any home. They also make great Christmas present particularly if they are in fruit.
My brother bought me my Calamondin Plant seven or eight years ago and it has slowly grown into a lovely specimen for my conservatory. Each summer I put it on my sunny patio and it thrives.
The fruits are edible but they are extremely tart so the only option for them is to make marmalade. My plant flowers and produces fruit a couple of times a year but it can take two years for it to produce enough fruit to pick and produce marmalade.
This year by the time the fruits were ready I was busy so I picked them and put them in the freezer until I had the time to make the marmalade, the end result was the same as when the fruits were not frozen so it is worth considering freezing if you are short of time.
These fruits are too small to peel so use the whole fruit, as long as you strain it well it will be fine. This method produces a smooth marmalade, if you want shreds carefully peel a few of the fruits, cut into shreds and place in a muslin bag. I had 1.8kg of fruit which made 12 8oz jars; plenty for me, the craft fair and for family and friends.
The recipe I used is:
- 2lb / 1kg Seville oranges
- juice of 2 lemons
- 3lb / 1.25kg white granulated sugar
- 4 ½ pts water
- Wash the fruit well
- Put fruit, lemon juice and water into a pan, and hang the shreds in their bag in the water
- Cook gently until soft (about 2 hours), removing shred bag after 1 hour
- Rinse the shreds in cold water in a sieve
- About half way through squash the fruits to release the pulp within the fruits
- Put the sugar, jars and lids to warm in a low oven
- Strain the soft fruits through a sterilized sieve pushing gently
- Restrain until the juice is clear
- Return strained liquid to the pan
- Warm the liquid, add the sugar and stir over a low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved
- Bring to the boil rapidly, stirring occasionally, until setting point is almost reached
- Take pan off the heat, stir in the rinsed shreds
- Bring to setting point (see below)
- Pot into warmed, clean jars
- Put the lids on immediately while hot, and close tightly
- Leave until completely cold
- Label with type of fruit and date
- Before you start cooking put a couple of saucers in the fridge
- As soon as the mixture reaches a really fast boil, start timing
- After 15 minutes spoon a little of the marmalade on to one of the cold saucers from the fridge, and let it cool back in the fridge
- You can tell – when it has cooled – if you have a ‘set’ by pushing the mixture with your little finger: if it has a really crinkly skin, it is set. If not, continue to boil the marmalade and give it the same test at about 10-minute intervals until it does set.
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A lovely, vigorous plant with bright green, glossy leaves and scented waxy, white flowers from spring to summer. The blooms are followed by small, spherical fruit with sweetish, thin, bright orange peel and sour flesh with few seeds. Unlike most citrus, the Calamondin orange is quite hardy and very resistant to cold but is best grown in a pot and in colder areas should be moved to a frost-free place in winter. In Vietnam the calamondine orange is a symbol of prosperity, and it is often given as a gift of good wishes on important or festive occasions.
Ideally grow in a pot which is easily moved from terrace to conservatory, in soil-based compost. Feed every two weeks with a special citrus fertiliser (there is one for summer and another for winter), and pot on or top-dress plants in late winter. Move outside after the risk of frost has passed to a sunny, sheltered patio.