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The Calamondin lime looks like a kumquat in size, shape and color. In tropical environments it may remain green when fully mature, but develops a rich orange color in most other climates. It has a very thin adherent skin with five to ten seeds and seven to nine segments. It is extremely tart an acidic even when fully ripe and should not be eaten whole like a kumquat. Rather, it is usually only used as a juicing citrus.
Calamondin limes are available in tropical Asian climates year-round. In North America they are available winter through spring.
The Calamondin lime is a cross between a sour, loose skinned mandarin and a kumquat, therefor technically making it an orangequat. Its botanical name is somewhat confusing as three classifications are accepted: Citrus madurensis, C. mitis and C. microcarpa. The Philippines leads the world in Calamondin lime production, where it is known as Calamansi, generating 40,000 tons per year.
Calamondin limes are usually used to flavor foods in south-east Asian cuisine, as lemons or limes are used in the rest of the world. The pure juice is often pasteurized and bottles as a beverage or concentrate. The whole fruits may be preserved in jellies, jams or marmalades and used in sauces and custards as an exotic lemon curd alternative.
The Calamondin lime is believed to be a native of China. Today it thrives all throughout eastern Asia in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. It is strongly cold-tolerant and often grown in gardens outside of its native tropical climate.
Recipes that include Calamondin Limes. One is easiest, three is harder.
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People have spotted Calamondin Limes using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
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