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Monday, January 2, 2012

Small fruit

Sadly, this year I didn't get to cook with BBQDude in his new Eastern household, but looks like the Dude spread was delicious and the tradition stands. I'll have to make it up to the Boston area soon to make up for the lack.

A necessary byproduct of cooking is, well, food - and the necessary posse of people to consume it. I didn't cook as much this year as I didn't have the crew to eat it all. But I had a chance to play with a bounty of micro citrus.

The calamondin (Citrofortunella microcarpa) is a citrus plant that grows pretty well in Texas, and is often grown as decorative plants. The bright orange fruit contrasts nicely with the dark green foliage, and look like really small oranges.

Don't confuse them with kumquats, though, as these are really tart. Kumquats will have to be a fruit discussed in a different posting.

In Southeast Asian cooking, calamondin plays a major role, being squeezed over fried foods to brighten up flavors, or used in drinks. It's a floral acidity unlike lemons or limes, and is gaining popularity with chefs. I found that the rind, however, doesn't get much appreciation. The ripe calamondin peel has a nice subtle sweetness to it, and is relatively thin. So, I made calamondin marmalade. It's actually really easy to make, except for the part of deseeding the fruit. Despite the size, each calamondin has a good number of fairly large seeds in them, and removing them can be a long chore.

After deseeding, I cut up the fruit roughly, tossed it with about a third as much by weight in sugar, and threw the whole mess into the oven for the next hour or two (I was doing other baking). No additional water added.

And this emerged.

Calamondin marmalade
Delicious over fresh waffles, pound cake, ice cream, etc. There's plenty of pectin in citrus, so this should work with just about any citrus fruit. I just stored it in the freezer, forgoing the trouble of canning it - although that will work as well.

1 comment:

  1. It's hard to tell them apart from kumquats in that photo. What's the distinguishing visual characteristic?