Kalamansi Marmalade has a special place in my heart -and in my kitchen. Growing up in the Philippines, I never had access to lemons and limes. If there’s a Filipino equivalent, that’s kalamansi. Most Filipinos use it to make fresh kalamansi juice,which is perfect on a hot, scorching day. Filipinos also use kalamansi to flavor condiments and marinades or to squeeze on top of a noodle dish like Pancit (mmm!). You know what else it’s great in? Marmalade! Kalamansi is somewhat a cross between lemon and mandarin so you could just imagine kalamansi marmalade’s heavenly combo of sweet and tart.
Kalamansi (also be spelled with a “c” as in calamansi) is a round citrus fruit that grows from a kalamansi bush. In English, it’s called calamondin. The fruit is usually green even when ripe. Over time, it developed other varieties. The ones I have are yellow, harvested from a tall kalamansi tree, not a bush.
Kalamansi is not to be mistaken for kumquats. Although they both look alike, kalamansi tastes more sour than kumquats. In fact, I don’t think you could eat kalamansi straight because of its tartness. Mix it with sugar though, and you have yourself a marmalade that’s sweet like candy and soft like jelly. You wouldn’t even taste any strong tart or bitterness.
With only three ingredients – kalamansi, sugar, and water, you’ll have yourself an artisanal kalamansi marmalade! You could find kalamansi at most Asian and Filipino grocery stores, or at your neighbor’s backyard (just ask first!). I get mine from my sister’s neighbor’s tree (thanks ate Rhea’s neighbor!). Unlike my other Filipino recipes that have a long list of ingredients, this marmalade recipe is short and sweet (pun intended).
If you’re hosting a party or just want something to snack on, you could make kalamansi marmalade and smother it on bread like vegan pandesal and crackers. Add cashew cream cheese and top it with figs or your favorite fruit and herb. You could wow and impress your guests by these simple and fun combinations. Alternatively, you could give kalamansi marmalade as a gift to family, friends, or as a hostess gift. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it!
Please note that this recipe requires the kalamansi to sit overnight.
- 1 cup (about 15 kalamansi) stemless kalamansi, washed, deseeded & thinly sliced. For sweeter results, extract the juice and don't use the peels.
- 1½ cup water
- ¾ cup sugar
- small saucepan or pot
- 4 oz. jar
- Place water and deseeded kalamansi slices in a small pot or saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, over medium heat for 20 minutes without stirring.
- Turn off heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Place in refrigerator overnight to develop pectin.
- Return mixture to pot and add sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat for 15-20 minutes without stirring. When a drop of marmalade gels on a cool plate, it is ready.
- Skim any foam that forms on top.
- Turn off heat and place hot marmalade in a sterilized jar. Wipe rims with damp cloth and seal jar with lid.
If you'd like complete sweetness without any earthy tang, skip adding the peels and just use the kalamansi juice extract.
I prefer to use organic sugar instead of conventional white sugar because US white sugar is processed with animal bones and therefore, is not vegan.
If you have a sweet tooth, increase the amount of sugar from ¾ cup to 1 cup.
Kalamansi is a versatile fruit worth exploring. Squeeze it in juices, condiments, sauces, and marinades. You could also enjoy it in kalamasi marmalade. After all, it’s simple to make and has only three ingredients – water, sugar, and of course, kalamansi. Smother kalamansi marmalade on bread and crackers and you’ll have something interesting and delicious for snacking or entertaining -or gifting!
Kain na, let’s eat!