Garden Talk

with Rebecca Jordi

Q: I have a Calamondin citrus tree in my yard and I have no idea what to do with the fruit since it is too sour to eat.

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Calamondin flower

Calamondin flower

A:   Calamondin, Citrus mitis, is an acid citrus fruit originating in China and introduced to the U.S. in the early 1900s.  It can be eaten but the fruit is quite tart. So, what can you do with the fruit?  The whole fruit has been commonly used in cooking with chicken, seafood and fish.  The juice has been used as flavoring in beverages, baked goods, sauces, marmalade, and soups. Calamondin is generally used as an ornamental citrus with some landscapers selecting it to replace typical hedges.  It is incredibly cold-hardy, able to survive in temperatures as low as 20ºF beating out other cold-hardy citrus such as kumquat and satsuma tangerine, The fruit is small, generally only about 1 – 1.5 inches in diameter. It should be used within a week of harvesting as the fruit does not store well. Calamondins make a very good patio tree and can be easily grown in a large container. It is best to place citrus is a very sunny area although it can produce fruit well with some late afternoon shade.  Irrigating too much or too little can be a problem for fruit production but generally it is better to err on the side of less rather than more water. Fertilize using a slow-release citrus fertilizer in March, June and September.  You can use 6-6-6 or 8-8-8 fertilizer for fruit trees once every six weeks starting in March through September.  Pruning is only required to keep the tree the size you desire.

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