Recipes

Calamondin marmalade with baby ginger

Calamondin marmalade with baby ginger thumbnail

If you’ve got a pile of tangy, tart and delicious calamondin oranges at your disposal, put them to good use by making calamondin marmalade with baby ginger.


One of the reasons we love eating seasonally is because each season of the year brings new and different foods to look forward to – and to experiment with.

Many years ago before The Tyrant and I had our own garden, we didn’t much enjoy the cold months. Now, we even look forward to fall and winter because we know there are delicious, cold weather foods waiting for us.

Growing organic citrus in cool climate zones

We live in Ag Zone 7B on the outskirts of Greenville, SC. However, being explorative gardening nuts, we’ve decided that our geographical location shouldn’t stop us from growing things like avocados, bananas, and citrus.

The skin on our Don Gillogly avocados is darkening, indicating they're almost ready to harvest.

The skin on our Don Gillogly avocados is darkening, indicating they’re almost ready to harvest.

Our citrus collection started innocently enough with one Meyer lemon, which we jokingly refer to as our “gateway citrus.” We now have about a dozen citrus trees growing in containers.

Mid to late November (right now) marks the beginning of citrus season for us.

Citrus art! A beautiful selection of citrus from our collection, including kumquats, meyer lemons, pink lemonade lemons, makrut limes, finger limes, and calamondin oranges.

Citrus art! A beautiful selection of citrus from our collection, including kumquats, meyer lemons, pink lemonade lemons, makrut limes, finger limes, and calamondin oranges.

Our trees are currently loaded with ripe Meyer lemons, pink lemonade lemons, makrut limes, finger limes, Buddhas hands, and calamondin oranges. Blood oranges and kumquats are only weeks away.

Of all the citrus varieties we grow, the only one that produces fruit virtually year round is our calamondin. However, each year it ripens the largest amount of fruit in the fall.

Our potted calamondin orange tree produces fruit throughout the year, but produces a bumper crop each fall. Calamondin fruit are perfect for marmalade. | Calamondin marmalade recipe by Tyrant Farms

Our potted calamondin orange tree produces fruit throughout the year, but it produces a bumper crop in the fall. Calamondin fruit are perfect for marmalade.

Calamondin Oranges

Calamondin oranges (Citrus microcarpa), or simply “calamondins,” are technically an intergeneric hybrid between a kumquat and (probably) a mandarin orange. Calamondins are hugely popular throughout southeast Asia.

An average sized calamondin orange for size reference.

An average sized calamondin orange for size reference.

Although they’re quite a bit more tart/sour than kumquats, we enjoy eating whole calamondins raw, skin and all. We also make them into mixed drinks, Asian-style sauces, and salad dressings. (You can buy your own calamondin tree from Hirts Nursery here.)

The intense sour-sweet juicy flavor of a calamondin gives you an indication of how much nutrition they pack. According to Texas A & M Department of Horticulture, a single calamondin orange provides a whopping:

  • 37 mg potassium
  • 7.3 mg vitamin C
  • 57.4 mg IU vitamin A
  • 8.4 mg calcium

Calamondin: Our most prolific citrus tree  

Our potted, five year old calamondin tree produces an incredible amount of fruit relative to its size. Each branch is loaded with so much fruit, it almost looks like the tree is decorated with ornaments, not real fruit.

Loaded calamondin branches.

Loaded calamondin branches.

Having lots of fruit allows for experimentation!

Ten pounds of fresh-picked organic calamondin oranges, ready to be turned into calamondin marmalade!

Ten pounds of fresh-picked organic calamondin oranges, ready to be turned into calamondin marmalade! Note: we clipped these off leaving a small amount of stem on the fruit. The reason why is when we pull them off the plant by hand, a small chunk of skin is typically left behind, which we’d rather have in our marmalade. When prepping the fruit for marmalade, we removed the small piece of stem with a fingernail.

This year, we’ve been yearning for some marmalade to go on our morning serving of Tyrant Farms 5 minute whole grain artisanal bread, so we decided to put some of our calamondins to use.

Since we just got through pulling a bunch of baby ginger roots from our garden, we decided to combine the two ingredients to make calamondin marmalade with baby ginger.

A beautiful hand of

A beautiful hand of “baby” ginger. Baby ginger is younger, more tender, and not as intense as the mature ginger rhizomes you find at grocery stores. If you don’t have baby ginger for this recipe, either leave it out or use mature ginger instead.

The result? The most intensely flavorful marmalade we’ve ever had. If you love the sweet, bitter, sour flavor of good marmalade, you’ll LOVE this recipe.

Cooking Tips: Making calamondin marmalade with baby ginger

Before diving in and making the calamondin marmalade recipe below, please have a quick look through this cooking tips section!

1. Best way to slice and de-seed calamondins?

There are two general ways to slice and de-seed your calamondins:

  • Option 1 – Slice each fruit into 3-4 even-sized pieces and then de-seed them as you go. Even though the picture below shows this process on a cutting board, it’s best to do it over a large bowl or plate to trap all the juice that comes out of the fruit as you slice. This is the method I used and it took me about 1.5 hours to slice and de-seed 10 pounds of calamondins.

Slicing and de-seeding calamondin oranges to make calamondin marmalade.

  • Option 2 – Slice each calamondin fruit in half, squeeze the juice and seeds into a bowl then strain out the seeds. Once that’s done, you’ll need to slice the skins into strips on a cutting board. Some people prefer this method, but it seemed slower to me. Maybe time yourself doing both and see which method you prefer!

Either way, you want some degree of uniformity in your sliced pieces. We like a chunky marmalade, which is another reason I chose option 1.

Ten pounds of sliced calamondin oranges ready to be made into calamondin marmalade!

Ten pounds of sliced, de-seeded calamondin oranges ready to be made into calamondin marmalade!

2. Butter or no butter?

If you’ve never made preserves or jam before, you might notice that the calamondin mixture will start to produce a foam on top while cooking. This is perfectly normal.

You can either: a) skim it off with a strainer, b) leave it and have a foam layer on top of your jars of marmalade, or c) add a little butter. We added a couple tablespoons of butter to our batch and you can see the results below.

Adding butter while cooking your calamondin marmalade (or other preserves), breaks the surface tension allowing the particles to reincorporate into the marmalade.

Adding butter while cooking your calamondin marmalade (or other preserves), breaks the surface tension allowing the particles to reincorporate into the marmalade.

3. Quantity and cooking time?

We like a thicker, more intense marmalade so we cooked ours for about 1.5 hours. This allowed for a lot of water evaporation and more intense flavor.

Obviously, the longer you cook your marmalade, the less quantity you’ll have to can at the end of the process. When we make preserves, we usually end up with a jar that’s not quite full enough to can. Rather than putting it in the water bath and risking contamination, we just let it cool, then put it in the fridge for immediate use.

4. How much ginger (and “baby” ginger)?

As mentioned above, baby ginger is the younger, less fibrous, less intensely-flavored ginger that’s harvested earlier than mature ginger you get in the grocery store.

Baby ginger once the scales/skin are removed by finger. Since it's less fibrous, baby ginger is ideal for making candied ginger or an ingredient to add another layer of spicy flavor complexity to calamondin marmalade.

Baby ginger once the scales/skin are removed by finger. Since it’s less fibrous, baby ginger is ideal for making candied ginger or used as an ingredient to add another layer of spicy flavor complexity to calamondin marmalade.

If you don’t have baby ginger, it’s ok to use mature ginger for this recipe.

We used 6 tablespoons of ginger per 10 pounds of calamondins. Since the calamondins are so intensely flavored, the ginger flavor didn’t come through much in our batch.

If you want to bump up the ginger pop in your calamondin marmalade, you could probably even double the amount of ginger we used and be ok. Taste as you go, so you don’t overdo it! You can always add more and cook for a bit longer.

Diced baby ginger.

Diced baby ginger.

How much sugar? 

Most marmalade recipes call for a little less than 1 part sugar per 1 part orange. They also add lemons to get some extra tart flavor.

This recipe uses 100% calamondins – no lemons. That’s because calamondins are not as sweet as regular oranges, and pack more tart/sour as well. Nevertheless, we bumped down the sugar content in this recipe, added a little honey, and cooked it all down for a thicker consistency.

If you use the sugar-to-calamondin ratio in our recipe, be sure to taste your marmalade as you go to make sure it’s sweet enough for your liking. Add more sugar or honey if desired.


Recipe: Calamondin marmalade with baby ginger

Mmm! Beautiful, calamondin orange marmalade with baby ginger.

Mmm! Beautiful, calamondin orange marmalade with baby ginger.

This recipe produced 200 ounces of calamondin marmalade, which equates to 25 half pint jars or 12.5 pint jars. Cooking longer = less marmalade but a thicker final consistency; adding more sugar = more marmalade.

calamondin marmalade on toast
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Calamondin marmalade with baby ginger

Course: Preserves
Keyword: calamondin, calamondin marmalade, marmalade
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 12 pints
Author: Aaron von Frank

An intensely flavorful marmalade made with fresh calamondin oranges and baby ginger (young tender ginger root). If you like the sweet, sour, bitter flavor of good marmalade, you'll LOVE this unique marmalade recipe!   

Ingredients

  • 10 lbs calamondin oranges
  • 5 lbs organic cane sugar
  • 2 cups honey
  • 2 tablespoons grass butter
  • 6 tablespoons minced baby ginger

Instructions

  1. Slice and de-seed calamondin oranges over bowl or plate in order to catch juice. 

  2. Dice baby ginger. 

  3. Add all ingredients to large pot. Bring to low boil and cook for 1+ hours or until marmalade has reached desired consistency. (Put a spoon in the freezer, take out, and pour a small amount of marmalade on cold spoon to test - marmalade should thicken quickly when ready.) Add more sugar or diced ginger to achieve desired flavor, but boil for at least another 15 minutes any time you add new ingredients to prevent potential contamination in cans. 

  4. Pour marmalade into sanitized jars, then use water bath or pressure canner to safely preserve marmalade.  

Need canning supplies?

One final tip: the best way to enjoy marmalade is on homemade 100% whole grain organic bread.

Don’t think you have time to make your own bread? Think again! Use our 5 minute artisanal bread recipe to make the bread we used in photographs for this article.

Tyrant Farms 5 minute artisanal bread made with organic 100% whole grain.

Tyrant Farms 5 minute artisanal bread made with organic 100% whole grain.

Enjoy!

KIGI,

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