23 Sep2006

Fresh Kalamansi

by Marketman


I have always fancied a fairly large and lush kitchen garden, where my own vegetables and herbs grow in abundance and I can head to just minutes before cooking and harvest my own lettuce leaves, miraculously perfect, without nasty worms or caterpillars despite being completely organic. It is a cooking show ideal, I agree. I have tried to keep kitchen gardens over the years, but always with tepid results. It is nearly impossible in a tropical climate, unless you grow only hardy tropical herbs. Here in Manila, the equivalent should be a garden with several kalamansi trees, several bushes of native siling labuyo, onions, ginger, garlic, pandan, lemongrass, etc.

Fortunately, we currently have the most amazing siling labuyo bush in a large pot at our home. We have noticed that too much rain kills siling kal2labuyo so we opted to plant my last sili purchase in a pot instead, and move it around as we see fit. At the moment, it is in a perfect spot that gets morning through noon sun but is under the eaves so it doesn’t get excess water if it rains. We have several super hot chilies on the plant as I type, an unusual state in the midst of the rainy season. But even better, I saw some green “balls” just outside my den where I type these posts and I realized that our 8 foot tall kalamansi calamondin tree has a veritable bounty of fruit… a total of 12 fruit are on the tree and nearly ready to pick! Amazing. Our very own kalamansi. I don’t know what it is about growing your own, but it is incredibly satisfying. I am certain they will taste unlike any other kalamansi I have ever tasted. Hmmm, I just have to pick the perfect meal where they will be needed and as the guests sit down to dinner, I will excuse myself and go harvest a few kalamansi and bring them back to the table, just seconds after they have parted with the tree…



  1. fried-neurons says:

    That’s a good fish sawsawan… kalamansi & patis :)

    I really, really miss kalamansi juice. Our maid used to call it “magic”, because it was so popular in our home that it was pretty much “now you see it, now you don’t”. Kaya magic. It disappears. haha

    Can kalamansi be grown in a mediterranean climate like Northern California’s?

    Sep 23, 2006 | 6:55 am

  2. Apicio says:

    An Epicurian gesture that is sure to impress, tree-fresh kalamansi on demand. It was the potted plant of choice here a few years ago before the plethora of phalaenopses from Taiwan happened, now you see them only in Chinatown. A company back there has also began producing extract for the perfume industry now which only makes sense since perfumers (who are called noses, btw) have their noses forever in the air for new stuff and top notes in perfumes are almost always citrus notes. I picked up a flask of Paco Rabanne Black XS that I would not have otherwise choosen were not for the calamansi note tauted in its press release. Can barely detect it.

    Sep 23, 2006 | 7:14 am

  3. noemi says:

    Back home,I like to make calamansi juice. I miss that.

    Sep 23, 2006 | 7:20 am

  4. millet says:

    fried neurons, i’ve seen calamansi bushes in pinoy gardens around the bay area – berkeley, oakland, san jose, vallejo…. MarketMan, that’s the ultimate luncheon host moment ..”uhmm..could you wait a moment, i just need to pick today’s salad, juice, salad dressing, seasoning and dip…” !

    Sep 23, 2006 | 7:45 am

  5. Larees says:

    Calamansi and honey drink! My yaya used to prep that for me whenever I came home from school.

    I just have to pick the perfect meal where they will be needed and as the guests sit down to dinner, I will excuse myself and go harvest a few kalamansi and bring them back to the table, just seconds after they have parted with the tree…
    – that’ll be really cool. Talk about fresh.

    Sep 23, 2006 | 7:57 am

  6. ThePseudoshrink says:

    I also have a calamansi tree/bush, and it’s quite prolific. Perfect combination with patis. And also, calamansi blossoms are very fragrant.

    Sep 23, 2006 | 9:36 am

  7. Nila says:

    I liked calamansi juice. Sawsawan is not sawsawan without calamansi for me. MM, last year, I managed to bring some malunggay seeds and put it under with some mixed nuts. This year, I asked my sis-in-law to secure me some labuyo and sitaw seeds for my trip next month. You are lucky enough if you find fresh sitaw, kangkong at the Asian market.

    Sep 23, 2006 | 9:40 am

  8. Jean says:

    fried neurons, you can grow calamansi in the Bay Area. Go to your local nursery (if not there then come around here in Sacramento on Citrus Heights (Capital Nursery) and buy a Calamondin plant). It will definitely grow on the West Coast.

    Sep 23, 2006 | 9:43 am

  9. Nila says:

    MM, kalamansi and siling labuyo is a good combination for kinilaw. Hmmm, that reminds me of M-R Seafoods in Bohol. And yes, taga Bohol po ako. First thing first MM, and that is my first agenda when I get there, kinilaw at M-R Seafoods. And thanks for the tip.

    Sep 23, 2006 | 9:54 am

  10. tulip says:

    How about another experimentation MM? Maybe use kalamansi as an alternative to a known dish that definitely requires lemon then compare its taste. I think there is this Italian pasta dish that requires only lemon, I have read somewhere before.
    Of course most of the time,Pinoys use kalamansi as an alternative but not all lemon requiring dishes would taste as good and the same or probably you may discover it is better!
    How about kalamansi risotto,kalamansi pie or bread. or if there is abundance of kalamansi..kalamansi preserve? hehehe

    Sep 23, 2006 | 10:40 am

  11. linda says:

    If I had to choose which citrus fruit is the best or my favourite, I would choose calamansi. It has a distinct and special flavour that makes every dish (where it’s needed) extra flavoursome and scrumptious and has that distinct Pinoy taste. I love it as a cool summer drink,good for colds,to partner with fish and patis,with bagoong,etc.,etc.

    Calamansi(calamondin) thrives even in a cool climate like Tasmania. We used to live there and we had a humungous calamansi tree and we harvested thousands of fruits each year.

    Sep 23, 2006 | 10:41 am

  12. Toping says:

    It’s calamansi juice for me for every meal and all snacks in between, EVERY DAY. Or else… ;-0

    Sep 23, 2006 | 12:33 pm

  13. Sylvia says:

    Jean, thanks for the tip. I didn’t know Capital Nursery carried calamansi plants. I should pass by their branch here in Land Park so I can plant some calamansi in our backyard. All this time I have been using the calamansi powder that my mom sent me.

    MM, I agree there is nothing like having one’s own herb & vegetable garden. Back home, at my parents’ house, we had basil, oregano, siling labuyo, calamansi, balimbing, and so much more. Mama makes her own pesto with freshly-picked basil.

    Sep 23, 2006 | 12:41 pm

  14. lojet says:

    I have 2 calamansi in pots. I got them from Home Depot. Here in New York I have to take them inside for the winter. I find they produce more fruits when they are rootbound. Mine is only a little over a foot high and has about 8 ripe ones and lots of green ones on one pot. I keep it by a window in the kitchen, don’t even have to go out to pick them, hehe.

    Sep 23, 2006 | 1:36 pm

  15. len says:


    I tried to send you an email on your CONTACT page but instead got this:

    Oops! You missed some required fields
    You forgot to enter some information on the “required fields”, please provide the following:

    Your e-mail
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    Please use the browser’s back button correct the error and try again.

    Sep 23, 2006 | 2:33 pm

  16. alb says:

    A kitchen garden is a must as it’s not easy finding certain herbs and vegetables, especially at their freshest. Container gardening is the quick, easy, compact, and portable solution. A greenhouse, though, even a tiny one, is the ultimate, as you can grow things year-round. I’ve wondered why there aren’t more greenhouses in people’s backyards in the Philippines. Someone should start constructing greenhouse kits and marketing them. Could be a killing there.

    Sep 23, 2006 | 4:25 pm

  17. dee bee says:

    This is my first post, hello to everyone!

    One of the first plants we bought when we moved overseas was a calamansi tree. Pancit without a squeeze of calamansi just doesn’t taste right :)) substitutes such as lime, lemon or kumquat just don’t measure up.

    They can grow in mild winter climate. We were told it cannot withstand frost so we planted ours under the pergola. It fruits profusely in summer.

    Fresh calamansi juice in summer… ah, the simple pleasures in life.

    Sep 23, 2006 | 4:54 pm

  18. corrine says:

    I have the same comment as Len.

    Sep 23, 2006 | 7:17 pm

  19. Apicio says:

    Alb, greenhouses here are to simulate the tropics. Let’s see now what greenhouse in the tropics might approximate, Saharan oasis? No, too humid. Amazonian rainforest then? Well yes, just like outside the glass structure, only more infernal. Shall we just wait for the full aftermath of the greenhouse effect then? It’s not a long wait, they say it is already happening.

    Sep 23, 2006 | 7:38 pm

  20. patanj says:

    My parents who lived in the Bay Area had the most prolific calamansi tree I have ever seen in my entire life. Not only did they have enough to use at home, they even gave away the fruits to their neighbors and officemates. What is even more amazing is that the tree bore fruits whole year round! Before they sold the house last June, my sister-in-law bowled- out the tree and transplanted it in her own garden. I have yet to ask her if it survived the summer heat.

    Sep 23, 2006 | 7:51 pm

  21. Jean says:

    What’s the best type of fertilizer for this plant? I’ve got two growing in my backyard but not sure why it looks a tad scrawny.

    Sylvia, Capital Nursery usually places the citrus plants in the far backside of the place.

    Sep 23, 2006 | 10:50 pm

  22. Marilou says:

    Here in Ohio, I grow my kalamansi plants in pots. I bring them indoors during winter and they seem to be doing fine. Nothing compares in taste to the real thing so it’s worth all the trouble, plus there is the added bonus of fragrant blossoms in the dead of winter. I ordered them, along with a yuzu and a kafir lime, from fourwindsgrowers.com in California. So far I’ve harvested enough for several bisteks and various sawsawans. I hope to get enough to share with my sisters eventually. Marketman, I was able to track down a lady in Indiana who has some siling labuyo seeds and she promised to share some with me! Ah, the little things that makes us expats excited!

    Sep 24, 2006 | 5:54 am

  23. alb says:

    Umm, Apicio, hate to break it to you but tropical plants and greenhouses are somewhat of a cliché… Fact is greenhouses are great pretty much everywhere. It’s just a way to grow plants in any kind of environment year-round. Israel uses them extensively in the desert to grow fruits and vegetables. In the Philippines, the cut-flower industry like this company depends on them. Check out the DA site and you’ll see some Filipinos using greenhouses for commercial agricultural. This farmer from La Trinidad in Benguet, for example, constructed his own greenhouse and is growing broccoli and other plants.

    Anyway, here’s info on kalamansi/calamondin for those interested in knowing more about its culture. Heck, I didn’t know some people use it for body deodorant!

    Sep 24, 2006 | 10:17 am

  24. oggi says:

    Calamansi is a must have in my freezer, it is in my opinion the most versatile citrus variety, like lemon. I also had a bush that I brought indoors during winter, it died though. I have to get another one if they’re available again at Home Depot.

    Off topic, to dee bee, I clicked on your name and got SIXPENCE NONE THE RICHER official site, is that right? BTW, this is one of my favorite groups. Heard the lead singer recorded a solo album recently.

    Sep 25, 2006 | 12:26 am

  25. dee bee says:

    To oggi, I made a mistake with my first post and put “none” in the website url field. I should’ve just left it blank. As a result, it seems to go to the Sixpence site by default. Could it be Marketman’s favorite?

    Sep 25, 2006 | 11:37 am

  26. Dodi says:

    Hi MM! I have my very own calamansi tree, which has been “bonsaid” because I planted it on a medium-sized pot BUT it has not stopped bearing fruits since three years ago! It loves the sun and just a little bit of rain.

    Sep 25, 2006 | 12:14 pm

  27. teth says:

    kalamansi! fresh feeling…

    Sep 25, 2006 | 12:23 pm

  28. Apicio says:

    Was a frequent visitor in Israel until the second Intifada, they use them hothouses for crops that command top euros in Europe, vegetables that you would normally grow outside in the Spring and Summer in Southern California weather, in other words, sub-tropic condition. The Benguet greenhouse is probably primarily for trapping heat since it is located in the cooler highlands. Now you need to do the opposite in the low-lying areas which we are primarily talking about here and it can be done only through prodigal expense of energy and suggesting resorting to it in an enerrgy-poor country like ours is insensitive, no different from suggesting brioche to a populace that is begging for basic boule. That, incidentally, costed her her head.

    This is my last comment for the year. Will be back right after Easter.

    Sep 25, 2006 | 10:10 pm

  29. Marketman says:

    Apicio, your comments will be missed. Have a good trip, try and check in at an Internet Cafe once in a while…you do need to read about the final budbud kabog recipe after all…it may be weeks more…thanks!

    Sep 26, 2006 | 5:24 am

  30. Katrina says:

    My friend brought some gourmet chocolates from Canada, and one of the flavors was kalamansi! Sorry I can’t recall the name of the chocolatier, but I was very surprised and delighted to discover that kalamansi could actually go with chocolate…and from a Canadian product, at that!

    Sep 26, 2006 | 12:19 pm

  31. Marketman says:

    One of the most refreshing and expensive sorbets I have had on the street from a cart was a Kalamansi sorbet in Paris…yes, someone is distilling the essence of kalamsi into a dessert flavoring and it is brilliant!

    Sep 26, 2006 | 12:51 pm

  32. alb says:

    Not to belabor my point, but only to help aspring greenthumbs out there to have a kitchen garden of their own, below is an DA excerpt about Lyndon Tan in Silang, Cavite who set up his own greenhouse at a capital of just P50k. He produces at competitive prices. I’ve also built a small makeshift one in our backyard here in Metro Manila and I grow different things, vegetables and herbs, year-round without much need for energy. I cook with them all the time and don’t have to rush to the market. Peace-out.

    “Lyndon believes that only in continuous studies of advanced technologies will the Philippines be at par with the more advanced agricultural countries. Due to the unpredictable weather, Lyndon propagates vegetables in greenhouses using hydroponics, growing of crops without the use of soil; instead, a mixture of coco pit and sand is used under a controlled environment. It was one travel to Israel, with the help of the Netafim and Israeli Government, he learned the techniques of growing bell pepper and its right variety for tropical climate like our country. When he came back, he adopted the technology. Now he is a producer of different varieties of Sweet Bell Pepper, such as the red, green, yellow, violet, orange and white sweet bell peppers.

    In Israel, he also saw sprouts being sold and concluded that even in hot countries like ours it is possible to grow them. He immediately contacted the local grower and asked for information on how to better grow sprouts. He invested on this “new baby;” he bought a sprouting equipment from the United States. He became the first commercial sprouts’ grower in the Philippines. In Asia, he is one of the four members of the prestigious International Sprouts Grower Association (ISGA) and sole member in the Philippines. Since then, importation of sprouts were stopped. Hotels and restaurants now use only his locally produced sprouts which has the same quality and still enjoys low price. He grows alfalfa, broccoli and radish/kaiwari sprouts. He also grows Whopper and Cherry tomatoes and, not to forget, his precious herbs: Rosemary, Oregano, Italian Parsley, Thyme, Dill, Curly Parsley, Celantro, Basil, Fennel, Tarragon, Arugula, Sage and Mint.!”

    Sep 27, 2006 | 3:01 am

  33. Marketman says:

    alb, I featured the greens and other produce of Lyndon early in the life of this blog…it’s in the archives under Fresh Fields… I like his stuff. Your comments are most interesting. I think the other comments on greenhouses stem more from the Western glass variety and less so from the covered open varieties of the Israeli/Tropical variety. I think they are useful in providing steady supplies of vegetables despite the vagaries of weather. However, in many produce items, except herbs, I can actually tell what is greenhouse versus field grown. Expecially greenhouses that are in addition, hydroponic as so many are. Capsicums grown in greenhouses are extremely watery though again something is better than nothing… I wish all folks would be as passionate about growing more variety so we all benefit!

    Sep 27, 2006 | 5:57 am

  34. dee bee says:

    Kalamansi sorbet sounds wonderful. I will definitely try to make that when we harvest our kalamansi in a few months.

    We use citrus fertilizer for our kalamansi plants. Works well. We’re going to have a big harvest again this year.

    Sep 27, 2006 | 5:09 pm

  35. ida says:

    there’s one easy way to encourage your kids, family and friends to go into the habit of drinking kalamansi juice– juice 1 kilo or more, strain the seeds, transfer to ice cube trays and freeze. One cube with two tbsp. of sugar and one glass of water equals a totally cool, refreshing drink. Drink up, mura ang kalamansi pag tag-ulan!

    Sep 27, 2006 | 6:47 pm

  36. ram says:

    we have a kamansi plantation and new in the farming business. can you provide me informations where’s the best market for it or what company offer sub-contracting.

    Aug 10, 2007 | 1:36 pm

  37. jeanvie says:

    hi…..i am interested with your web site and as well as the info u’ve posted… may i request you to give more on the process how to powderized calamansi without by the use of spray drier and how to preserve fresh calamansi. tnx.. godbless.

    Sep 9, 2007 | 10:51 am

  38. Agnes says:

    Will anybody tell me where to buy this “KALAMANSI PLANT”? Please send me websites. thanks.

    Apr 10, 2008 | 1:55 am

  39. thelma says:


    Jun 26, 2008 | 7:44 am

  40. Shirley says:

    Hi! I would like to grow my own kalamansi tree indoor. I live in New York where kalamansi tree is very hard to find. Maybe you or anyone here would know where I can buy a kalamansi tree. I hope someone can help! Thanks!

    Sep 13, 2008 | 1:34 am

  41. JieNYC says:

    I got my dwarf kalamansi tree from fourwindsgrowers.com and it already has some small kalamansi fruits on it. I planted it in a pot right away as stated in the instructions manual. It’s growing indoors right now here in the wintry NYC and it will be outside on the terrace come spring/summer. Hopefully, I’ll get to enjoy cold and refreshing kalamansi juice during summer. Sarap.

    Feb 14, 2009 | 1:54 am

  42. Roszhien says:

    we have lot of kalamansi plant here.. and we are looking for sure buyer who can accomodate 2 tons per month..

    May 18, 2009 | 11:41 am


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