14 Aug2011

Hairy and dry…

…luscious, wet and juicy.

How can they be so different, for close relatives of one another? I am not a botanist. And I actually consider myself to have a “black thumb”… but some experts gave me the “citrus love making for dummies” 1-minute lecture so I figured I would write this post, tongue-in-cheek, of course. It started with a trip to Cambodia and Vietnam a couple of years ago. The photo above shows you the contents of one of my suitcases on the way home to Manila. Literally. Our brief sojourn to the area just cemented by already strong love affair with limes… dayap, makrut and lots of close relatives. We had lived in Singapore and Indonesia in the past, and already loved squirting those outer panels of citrus into our soups, noodle dishes, etc. So when I spied abundant supplies of limes in Vietnamese and Cambodian markets, I decided to take some home, to enjoy at the table, and hopefully to save the seeds and grow them for ourselves. Can you spot the makrut and other limes in the suitcase above? And don’t worry, I declared them at customs, but was allowed to bring them into the country anyway… Oh, and in case the other contents are of interest to you, there are spectacular artichokes, green and black peppercorns, candied ginger, cashews, pomegranates, frilly lettuce, dragon fruit, spices, etc. Importation of fruits and vegetables from Asean countries is apparently legal, and subject to no or very little tariffs, so I don’t think I broke any laws that I am aware of…

Here some of the kilo or so of makrut limes I packed in the maleta…

…and the small juicy limes with smoother skins. Once home, we used the limes (the rind of the makrut (they have little or no juice), and the juice of the other limes. We extracted the seeds, dried them and a couple of weeks later, planted them in our office garden in Cebu. They grew steadily, in large pots and after about 1.5 years, at say 4 feet in height, they blossomed for the first time ever. The fragrance from the white flowers were intoxicating, amazing…

…but even more amazing was that the flowers turned into fruit, and I was ecstatic at the thought of our own homegrown juicy limes, roughly two years after we ate their mothers in our sotanghon and shrimp noodles. I was hoping these would turn into the juicy smooth skinned limes (judging from the fact that they did not come from the plants with distinctive makrut like leaves) and we waited several months…

…yielding a few rather large looking, strangely pointed citrus specimens. These the first four harvested, with another 6-8 or so now ready to be picked. But giddiness soon turned to disappointment, when the first lime yielded the fibrous, dry, aromatic but almost useless specimen up top. Rind could be used to flavor leche flan and the like, or homemade soap, but it wasn’t what I had hoped for. That was a couple of months ago that we had our first harvest. And a botanist or agriculturalist visited in the meantime and explained a bit about citrus sex… turns out you shouldn’t start new citrus plants from seeds, as they will be prone to cross breeding or mutt-ification as I like to describe it. If you have new citrus plants from marcotting or part of a mother plant, then it is less likely to get raped by its neighbors, yielding odd fruit and ruining its progeny for generations to come. So we suspect that this Vietnamese lime had neighboring lemon sperm forced on it and the mixture yielded not a major, major Venus Raj (Ms. Universe finalist), but an awkward, strange mix… Bummer. :)

But it’s the season for citrus apparently, because just as I started to type this post, I decided to check our nearly 10 year old makrut lime trees or bushes in Manila (all from marcotting) and lo and behold, a veritable bumper crop of authentic (looking and flavored) makrut or kaffir limes are in the garden, this bunch up top FIVE elephantiasised looking globes that are thriving in a small Manila garden. I have to plan a thai meal soon to take advantage of this crop!

And as if to emphasize the whole do not plant from seed argument, right next door to the prolific makrut is a mature kalamansi tree that is also fruiting at the moment, but there seems to be no plant orgy of sorts, and maybe, just maybe, we won’t encourage new kalakruts, Makransis, or the like…

…and a few feet away, my prized (from marcot as well) dayap plant has a lone fruit, still looking proudly like a dayap, and not a dakrut, makyap or makrukaladay… heeheehee.

Previous posts on related citrus, here:

Dayap
Dayap (Key Lime) Pie a la Marketman
Dayap and Dalandan Juice
Dayap Curd / Dayap Curd Tart
A Siem Reap Market Foray
Key Lime and Coconut Cake
A Datu’s Ransom Worth of Dayap
Homegrown Kaffir/Makrut Limes
Frozen Limes/Dayap/Biasong
Vietnamese Style shrimp & noodle salad

 

COMMENTS:

  1. k. ramos says:

    How I wish I could get cuttings of those! *envious much*

    Aug 14, 2011 | 1:34 pm

     
  2. millet says:

    this is too funny, MM! those are mean-looking makruts! am so inggit! i have been largely unsuccessful making lime trees bear fruit except for calamansi. i have two beautiful calamansi bushes that have striped green and white fruit.

    Aug 14, 2011 | 1:39 pm

     
  3. corrine says:

    I am GREEN with envy. My mom’s dayap when we were children generously yielded so many fruits that we were having lime juice almost every day. Nowadays, I can’t even find dayap. I saw some in S&R which I think came from USA but so expensive. The key lime pie in Mamu is very good. I hope we have more supplies of these different limes! I haven’t been successful in growing citrus here in Paranaque. Maybe the soil is not good for citrus. :(

    Aug 14, 2011 | 1:48 pm

     
  4. Anne :-) says:

    The topmost photo looks like an alien specimen….with the tentacles….darn, i’m watching too much scifi films….for the dayap, you should try making a buko sherbet with dayap rinds…this is a typical kapampangan dessert during fiestas…

    Aug 14, 2011 | 2:59 pm

     
  5. mbw says:

    thank you very much for this post, MM! I have planted (from seed) several makrut and dayap trees and although they’ll still fruitless at this point in time, your info has given me much, much hope! They’re taller than me by several feet na. But I guess, they’re just about 3 years old. Congrats on your citron-ous success!

    Aug 14, 2011 | 5:58 pm

     
  6. ConnieC says:

    Lovely post, MM……as always, but am so jealous my citrus adventure has not been as successful. I ‘ll have to simply wait perhaps as my calamansi and lone makrut are just yielding leaves.

    But talk about plant orgy . My hydrangeas in my Maryland garden are doing just that and surprised me with different kinds of blossoms all in one bush the following seasons, not quite like the original blooms when I first got them.

    Aug 14, 2011 | 6:26 pm

     
  7. kitchen says:

    MM the best way to cut those citrus is by the sides like squaring them out, leaving just the center to get the most of juices out of them… then the center… you just twist them.

    Aug 14, 2011 | 7:18 pm

     
  8. rac says:

    hi mr. MM! kafir lime leaves are used for curries and such too, right?

    Aug 14, 2011 | 7:28 pm

     
  9. Rona Y says:

    I’m a little confused:
    “you should start new citrus plants from seeds, as they will be prone to cross breeding or mutt-ification as I like to describe it. If you have new citrus plants from marcotting or part of a mother plant, then it is less likely to get raped by its neighbors, yielding odd fruit and ruining its progeny for generations to come.”

    Should it be “you SHOULDN’T start new citrus plants from seeds”?

    Aug 14, 2011 | 8:33 pm

     
  10. atbnorge says:

    This post reminded me of Father’s dayap and calamansi trees. He used to look at them with pride.
    Going to your citrus plants It is a bumper crop alright, MM! Lucky you. But we really have to count our blessings. I, too counted my (measly) harvest of blackcurrant; two bushes yielded only 15 berries, LOL! But on the foraging front, I CAN SAY LIFE IS GOOD. I have had my first walk through my favourite mushroom haunt and found the place teeming with pied-de-mouton. There are blueberries to pick in the forest wild plums along deserted roads, and a nutcase planted gourds along the the trail where I walk my dog. I believe the nutcase was a deer that ate the gourd from someone’s garden last year then released the seeds in its poo :)))…Have a happy Thai dinner!

    Aug 14, 2011 | 8:47 pm

     
  11. Marketman says:

    Rona Y, you are completely correct, it should read “shouldn’t” and will revise post now. Thanks!

    Aug 14, 2011 | 8:52 pm

     
  12. Gerry says:

    Most mangoes planted today are grafts coming from a few “superstar” trees mostly from either Zambales or Guimaras. I’ve seen some grafted Makrut lime trees, but since the leaves are the main product, I never really bothered to buy them. Is there a culinary value to the skin of the fruit, or does it just have the same flavor profile as the leaves?

    Aug 14, 2011 | 9:11 pm

     
  13. Lambchop says:

    Hahaha! I so enjoyed this article! I can feel your joy and excitement about these baby fruits from across the internet waves!

    The little mutant lime was too funny!

    Aug 14, 2011 | 9:30 pm

     
  14. Mimi says:

    The kaffir rind is great mixed in with red curry paste. I’ve actually attempted to squeeze them but they are too hard! Recipes also just call for leaves or rind and lime (not kaffir) juice. So when I make Thai food, I buy both kaffir and the normal limes.

    My father used to have a calamansi farm in nineteen kopong-kopong. Yup, all of them were from grafting or marcotting (don’t know which but I heard these words) from a mother plant which had a great productive history. Yun nga lang, na-peste his farm and he had to burn everthing so as not to infect the other crops.

    Aug 14, 2011 | 9:36 pm

     
  15. millet says:

    i still can’t forget the dessert i had at one of the lakeside restaurants by laguna de bay a long time ago – lightly candied dayap halves stuffed with yema. there were others stuffed with nata de coco and macapuno, but of course i chose the more fattening type. ;-)

    i wonder why indigenous, ingenious and “genius” desserts like this are not promoted at all. in fact, i’m not sure if anybody does it anymore.

    Aug 14, 2011 | 10:00 pm

     
  16. Zerho says:

    The title immediately captured my attention, sex does sell. Although the post is all about lime/citrus sex..haha. Really interesting and enriching post Sir Marketman.

    Aug 14, 2011 | 10:41 pm

     
  17. el_jefe says:

    Dayap is really indispensable…the aroma is much sweeter and milder than calamnsi.Personally, I prefer dayap over calamasi but I wonder why its productiotion never reached commercial scale in the Philippines.Good thing I have 2 fruiting dayaps and a makrut or (Kabuyaw in Tagalog)in our backyard for personal consumption, and the surplus I sell to a nearby small thai restuarant owner who whines about the absence of dayap in the market.
    I planted 10 dayap trees in our farm in Batangas 5 from seeds, 3 marcotted and 2 grafted…Hopefully I would be able to plant more Dayap trees…Dayap is a part of Philippine food culture particulary in the Tagalog-Kapampagan region and to preserve the indigenous food culture, I figured, the cultivation and utilization of indigenous fruits and veggies should be encouraged.

    Aug 14, 2011 | 11:42 pm

     
  18. Constant Reader says:

    What a bizarre but thoroughly entertaining post. I was completely boggled by the “mongrelization” that happened with your plant. :-)

    Aug 15, 2011 | 12:04 am

     
  19. kurzhaar says:

    Many fruit do not come true from seed–citrus, apples and their ilk, avocados…which is why these are almost entirely grown as grafted trees (there is a reason for grafting!).

    Aug 15, 2011 | 2:25 am

     
  20. Rona Y says:

    Thanks! It explains a lot about why our planted seeds never amounted to much. Will have to try marcotting some kaffir lime trees–but can we bring saplings or similar into the Philippines?

    Aug 15, 2011 | 5:55 am

     
  21. Betchay says:

    Ha!ha! Your sense of humor is again at work! But still, very informative article.

    Aug 15, 2011 | 7:36 am

     
  22. belicious says:

    Major, major Venus Raj like this post. Sexually-charged citrus posts make my morning. hahahaha

    Aug 15, 2011 | 8:15 am

     
  23. jay p says:

    mmmmmmmmm makrut! love how they smell.

    old family cooking tip:

    if you cut the dry hairy lime lengthwise instead of crosswise you would be surprised how much more juice you can get. ;)

    Aug 15, 2011 | 10:06 am

     
  24. Sandy says:

    Oh no! I am growing a calamansi plant from seed. It’s older than my youngest kid so it’s at least 5 years old; and still not bearing fruit. When we used to take it outside every so often, it would either burn when exposed to direct sun at noon, or get damaged by frost if left outside overnight (we live in TN). Being a protective mama and being “takam” that I would one day have nice calamansi fruit for juice or cooking, I kept the plant indoors from then on. It’s growing great — it’s now up to my shoulder in height… but still won’t bear a single fruit. To marketman and readers: Any suggestions on how I can coax my plant to give me some calamansi fruit? Or is my plant a lost cause? Help!

    Aug 15, 2011 | 1:56 pm

     
  25. Dogbone says:

    I love the Title of your Post!
    And as usual, it is a very well written and informative article.

    I’ve been following your blog for a few years now (this is the first time I’m commenting though), and I am amazed at so many things:
    Your desire to share anything and everything food-related
    Your willingness to reveal your rants & raves of things non-food
    Your selflessness in helping others (the feeding program & the school)
    Your steadfastness in maintaining the Blog’s ethical purity and fun
    And your Lechon Adventures. :)

    Thank you so much for making my day, everyday.

    *And I pray for the day when Zubuchon opens in Manila!

    Aug 15, 2011 | 3:32 pm

     
  26. Marketman says:

    Sandy, hello? :) Did you ever wonder how the kalamansi would bear fruit if it was all by its lonesome? It needs another kalamansi tree to tango with, no? :) Dogbone, thanks, just plodding along to about the 7th anniversary of the blog… :)

    Aug 15, 2011 | 3:37 pm

     
  27. Mila says:

    If you manage to plant a citron plant (or a buddha’s hand – the weird alien citron fruit plant), imagine what the floating citrus sperm could end up creating – green handlike bumps on the lime/makrut!

    Aug 15, 2011 | 5:44 pm

     
  28. Footloose says:

    Rose crossed potato with rutabaga once during her 4H Club days and was utterly flustered by what to call the product, rutatato or potabaga.

    @ El Jefe, makrut = kabuyao? This is thunder bolt out of the blue for me just like when Marketman correctly suggested Key limes are our native dayap . The kabuyao I am familiar with is midway between the size of an orange and a grapefruit. Covered with large pimples that tended to reshape its roundness. They were gathered in the wild for use as a cost-free souring agent in my town. I imagine they grow (grew) freely too over in Laguna where they have a town named after it.

    Aug 15, 2011 | 7:32 pm

     
  29. Marketman says:

    Footloose, wiki makes the link, and so does this other wiki link on Cabuyao. Cool, I have definitely learned something new today. And in the second site, it mentions the fruit is used in shampoo, isn’t that neat, they had Zest like smelling hair in the 1500’s!!! :) Thanks El Jefe!

    Aug 15, 2011 | 8:34 pm

     
  30. Kasseopeia says:

    You had me at “makrukaladay”
    *LOL*

    Aug 16, 2011 | 1:56 am

     
  31. Sandy says:

    Hey, MM! According to a website about growing citrus

    http://www.fourwindsgrowers.com/tips-and-advice/growing-dwarf-citrus/in-containers.html,

    they are self-pollinating…. I will definitely will not comment on the equivalent term for that in the plant orgy line of discussion. :p

    And by the way, any tango-ing with another kalamansi would be quite premature since my dear little plant has not even grown flowers. However, I will heed your advice and get myself another plant. Who knows? That might just get their juices flowing!

    Aug 16, 2011 | 12:36 pm

     
  32. Cris Jose says:

    Funny… :)

    Aug 16, 2011 | 4:03 pm

     
  33. Lady D says:

    Just found your blog site by accident and OMG what great articles you have. Following XD.

    Aug 16, 2011 | 4:55 pm

     
  34. Marketfan says:

    Hi MM,
    You might find this article interesting
    http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/gone-bananas/content?oid=1341652
    The subject is a high school classmate of mine.
    You’ll be amazed at his work.

    Aug 17, 2011 | 12:36 pm

     
  35. Marketman says:

    Marketfan, I have actually read about that friend of yours in another newspaper or magazine before… cool. Sandy, how odd, if they were self polinating, then how did my limes get raped? :)

    Aug 17, 2011 | 5:41 pm

     
  36. el_jefe says:

    Hey footloose! May I know where you’re from? Kabuhyaw or Kabuyew used to be common in Nagcarlan Laguna…I see them growing in profusion on the hedges of coconut groves..and yes MM they are used as shampoo in the olden days as it is believed to have anti fungal properties…”anti- balakubak” hehe! Biyasong on the other hand a species of bohol citrus is quite similar in scent but milder and the fruits are elongated. Footloose, may I know where your from? Maybe you are pertaining to another type of Philippine citrus which is BILOLO…the fruits are round and it is used as a souring ingridient…my grand father from batangas used to source his adobong baka or adobong kabayo with BILOLO…but unfortunately bilolo is hard to find nowadays…gone are the forests and the vast coco plantations…I hope I would be able to collect fruits and plant the seeds thats why Im asking where ur from…
    MM=cross pollination is a common thing among plants pollens from another plant can rape a plant located miles away…pollination occurs naturally though factors such as wind, water, insects…animals or human intervention. Hence marcotted/budded/grafted would produce a ”TRUE to TYPE” offsprings with genetic composition or exact copy and having simmilar attributes or qualities as the parents…(“,)

    Aug 18, 2011 | 6:44 am

     
  37. Footloose says:

    I grew up in Bataan and the kabuyaw I was referring to as I said above are a lot larger than even the largest makrut I have ever seen. The scent is quite different too although they find similar use as adjunct to gugo for shampooing. The rind is covered with eruptions probably due to insects burrowing in them since they grow in the wild. This does not matter because one only uses the pulp for the juice anyway and if you did not avoid the rind, the juice you are bound to squeeze would be execrably acrid (maaskad). This distinguishing feature of course gave my townfolks a picturesque simile for kids with bumby heads. They were usually said to be “ipinaglihi sa kabuyaw.”

    Did not demur to your assertion because, as indicated in the post itself, there is indeed rampant promiscuity going on in the citrus world and one can never be certain as to one’s identity and antecedents.

    Aug 18, 2011 | 7:12 am

     
  38. el-jefe says:

    Hahaha! ”ipinaglihi sa kabuyaw” I thought ”maasim ang mukha kaya mukang ipinaglihi sa kabuyaw” hehe! Mmmm…What town in Bataan? Gotta search for ”Kabuyaw” that you are pertaining to…My friend is from Orion…and theres a village in that town called ”daang bilolo” mmm…gotta research on that…with regards to citrus acridity or ”askad/kahat” or ”paras” in kapampangan, it is caused by a bacterial strain that causes Citrus Canker, a common citrus pathogen that causes eruptions on the skin with slimy exudate.
    Thanks footloose for the info I appreciate it!

    Aug 18, 2011 | 9:05 pm

     
  39. el-jefe says:

    @Footloose..Hahaha! ”ipinaglihi sa kabuyaw” I thought ”maasim ang mukha kaya mukang ipinaglihi sa kabuyaw” hehe! Mmmm…What town in Bataan? Gotta search for ”Kabuyaw” that you are pertaining to…My friend is from Orion…and theres a village in that town called ”daang bilolo” mmm…gotta research on that…with regards to citrus acridity or ”askad/kahat” or ”paras” in kapampangan, it is caused by a bacterial strain that causes Citrus Canker, a common citrus pathogen that causes eruptions on the skin with slimy exudate.
    Thanks footloose for the info I appreciate it!

    Aug 18, 2011 | 9:15 pm

     
  40. Footloose says:

    I’m from Abucay which is separated by Balanga and Pilar from Orion. The citrus I am thinking of might very well be what you call bilolo. Btw, kapampangan paras, if I remember it right is our Tagalog anghang which you get from say sili, specially labuyo. Askad is a completely different taste, it is bitter and stinging, something that you would reflexively spit out.

    Aug 19, 2011 | 5:11 am

     
  41. dianne orpilla says:

    very funny post and informative! thanks!

    Aug 19, 2011 | 1:16 pm

     
  42. el_jefe says:

    Yeah Im familiar with Abucay…Thanks for the info footloose! I love Bataan…Im wondering why your province is always bipassed by food documentarists. I honestly think that Bataan has so much to offer particularly when traditional fool culture is concern. I remember my dormates in college who are from Pilar and Orion…they are good cooks and they love their food…I remember them bringing Tinapang bangus…shrimps dipped in ripe tamarind sauce,Bidbid soup pansit, orani and baked buchi! yum! (“,)

    Aug 21, 2011 | 2:59 pm

     
  43. Footloose says:

    Oh El Jefe, you make my nape hair stand on end. Bidbid is one word I hear only from family. They come into the fish ponds as microscopic fries along with shrimps and a variety of small fishes called singaw as the fish pond water are refreshed. Absolutely bony, that’s probably why they are made exclusively into fishballs for lugaw and misua soup.

    Tinapa be it banag (mullet) or the younger ones called kapak, and types of sardines called tunsoy and sinilyase are incredibly tasty specially when partnered with burong malibanos or balaw-balaw. I make a credible balaw-balaw here in Toronto complete with the angkak pink coloring.

    Orion has stopped producing their famous tuyo so it’s now known only as where Balagtas settled and where Cayetano Arellano was born. Abucay happily still supplies the rest of Bataan (and to a very small extent, me in Toronto) with the best bagoong alamang and as mentioned elsewhere here, excellent putong puti.

    Aug 24, 2011 | 2:41 am

     
 

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