I received another windfall of kalamansi limes from my mother recently, whose tree was bursting with bright orange orbs of the Filipino citrus. The longer a kalamansi sits on the tree, or the older it gets, it will change colors from green to orange. I'm guessing that because kalamansi are grown so abundantly and used so frequently in the Philippines, you will rarely find an older, orange-hued one there. Such is not the case for my mother, who is lucky enough to have a tree that produces more fruit than she can use. Hmph.
The bag of fruit that my mom unloaded on me contained about a jillion orange kalamansi, and only a few green ones. So I decided to conduct a very unscientific and inconclusive experiment in which I compared the traits of green and orange kalamansi limes. Prepare to be awed.
Kalamansi are smaller than lemons. Mind blowing.
Firstly, I noticed that both the green and orange kalamansi were smaller than a lemon! Mother-effing crazy, right? Wait, hold your applause, there's more!
After cutting open the green ones and a couple of orange kalamansi, I found that both are thin-skinned and orange-fleshed. The juice yielded from both was also orange. I then squeezed some of the juice into separate teaspoons and gave the samples a taste. The juice from both samples tasted sour with a hint of orange fruit--I couldn't find any discernible differences between the green and orange kalamansi. All of this info is earth-shattering, I know. I'm already crafting my speech for the Nobel Prize in Awesome.
So, in conclusion, the skin color of kalamansi doesn't matter. Green or orange, it's still Filipino on the inside (and that, boys and girls, concludes today's After School Special).
Although I was riding a natural high from my ground-breaking findings, I still had a bagful of kalamansi with which I had no idea what to do. Since they were already so "ripe", on the verge of decomposing, I figured I'd at least squeeze 'em and freeze the juice for a later use.
After cutting each kalamansi in half, then squeezing the juice through a small sieve to catch the seeds, all of the spent lime rinds were just sitting there on my cutting board, waiting to be pushed aside into the trash. It was then at this point that I made another important discovery: kalamansi rinds are edible. (I'm on a roll, I know).
Because the kalamansi rinds are so thin, they were fairly easy to chew and swallow. The rinds (green and orange), while still quite sour and a tad bitter, were also surprisingly sweet--kinda like biting into an orange segment. So I decided to put the kalamansi rinds to use as well and candied them.
Candied Kalamansi Peel
Making Candied Kalamansi is just like making any other kind of candied citrus rind, but because kalamansi are so thin-skinned, they are even easier to candy because the rinds don't have to be boiled as long to tenderize them.
To make Candied Kalamansi, just boil some sugar and water, toss in the kalamansi rinds, and simmer for a few minutes. Then drain the rinds, toss them in some sugar, and let them dry. Easy, right? You can eat the sugared rinds right away, but if you let them dry for a couple of days, the candied kalamansi peels are even better.
Cuts both ways.
In the picture above, the kalamansi halves on top were sliced in half at the "equator", and the halves on the bottom were sliced from "pole-to-pole". Although cutting through the equator may be a bit tougher because you'll have to slice through more seeds, I found that if you cut the kalamansi in half around the "equator", as opposed from "pole-to-pole", the resultant candy is prettier because the segments are still visible. But it doesn't really matter as the resultant product all tastes like sweet citrus candy.
Candied Kalamansi Peel
1 pound kalamansi, washed and stems removed
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar, for sprinkling
Cut each kalamansi lime in half, then squeeze the juice through a sieve and into a small container. Set aside the kalamansi rinds. Discard the seeds in the sieve and save the kalamansi juice for another use (Bistek, perhaps? Or how about a Kalamansi Granita?).
In a small pot, combine the 1 cup of sugar and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and continue stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Add the kalamansi rinds to the pot and continue simmering for 10 more minutes.
Drain the rinds in a large sieve set over a bowl. You can reserve the syrup in the bowl for another use: place the kalamansi simple syrup in a squeeze bottle and use it to flavor and sweeten teas and/or cocktails.
Place the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a large lidded container. Place the rinds into the container with the sugar. Place the lid on the container and shake to completely cover the rinds in sugar. Remove rinds from sugar and spread out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Allow rinds to dry for 24 hours or more, then store in an airtight container.