Calamondin candy is a simple, two-ingredient dehydrator recipe that lets you easily preserve lots of calamondin fruit for months or years to come. Find out tips and tricks to make the best candied calamondins here!
How to use lots of calamondin fruit? Calamondin candy…
If you have a mature calamondin tree, chances are you have a good problem: too much fruit.
What can you make with lots of calamondin fruit? If you like marmalade, you can always make our calamondin ginger marmalade recipe.
But there’s only so much marmalade you can eat.
Another great way to use up — and preserve — lots of calamondins is to make calamondin candy. Our calamondin candy recipe requires no cooking and uses the whole fruit, skin and all (calamondin skin is very thin and soft).
Once the candy is done, you can store it in airtight bags or jars for many months to come — potentially even longer than a year.
The organic cane sugar used to make candied calamondins also perfectly balances their tart, intense flavor. Then you get to enjoy these sweet, Vitamin C packed treats long into the future.
Hopefully, you can finish them up before next calamondin season comes around!
Want to find out more about calamondins, aka calamansi?
If calamondins are a new fruit to you or you’re considering growing your own calamondins in pots like we do (in cooler climates), be sure to read our article: All about calamondin or calamansi fruit – with recipe roundup.
Recipe tips to make the best calamondin candy
Now let’s dive into important tips to help you make the perfect calamondin candy!
1. Only use organically grown calamondins
Conventionally grown citrus tends to have quite a lot of pesticides applied to it. Pesticide residues are difficult to fully wash off of the skin — or in the case of systemic pesticides, they’re distributed throughout the plants’ tissues, not just on the surface.
Thus, if you’re using store-bought calamondins, only use organically grown fruit. If you’re growing calamondins at home, utilize organic growing methods for the same reasons, e.g. don’t use pesticides unless you absolutely have to and then only use OMRI-listed pesticides (which tend to be botanically-based).
2. Use fully orange, ripe fruit that’s firm to the touch.
When harvesting the fruit from your tree, cut it off just above the stem attachment. If you pull the fruit off the plant, a jagged chunk of skin will detach at the same time.
Once inside, you can make a clean cut to slice off the stem when prepping the fruit for dehydration.
3. Thin slice your fruit.
Use a good serrated knife to thin slice each calamondin. You should be able to get 3-4 slices out of each fruit after you’ve sliced off the stem.
4. Remove the seeds via knife tip.
Each calamondin fruit usually contains 2-3 seeds. After slicing the fruit, remove the seeds with the tip of a knife (rather than your fingers) to minimize the loss of pulp and juice.
4. Dehydrate on the lowest temperature for best flavor.
We use a 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator, which we love. Ours is decades old and still works good as new.
We’ve made calamondin candy lots of times at lots of different temperatures. To state the obvious: the higher the temperature you use, the faster your calamondins will dehydrate.
However, higher temperature the more the calamondin candy will take on a cooked flavor. The lower the temperature, the brighter the fresh fruit flavor will be. The lowest setting on our dehydrator is 95°F (35°C) and that’s what we recommend, even though it will add time to the process.
5. 8 hour initial dehydration BEFORE sugar dip.
If you immediately dip your slices of fresh calamondin in sugar, you’ll end up with a mess and draw the water out of your fruit.
Instead, you want to put your calamondin slices in the dehydrator for about 8 hours to reduce the moisture content and get the slices to the point that they’re tacky but not wet.
Something else you might want to consider: we’re hesitant to make acidic foods that are touching plastic in order to mitigate the potential of plastic compounds leaching into our food.
Thus, we place our calamondin slices on parchment paper inside our dehydrator. This reduces airflow around the fruit, slowing the drying process down, but we’re ok waiting a bit longer.
You can always place the fruit directly on the plastic tray mesh after the initial drying/sugaring process.
After 8 hours, your calamondin slices should be tacky but not wet. This level of moisture allows sugar to stick to them without creating a mess. It also allows for a more attractive final appearance.
The quantity of candied calamondins you’re making determines the best way to coat them in sugar:
- Small batch – Dredge individual calamondin slices into a bowl of sugar by hand before returning them to the dehydrator.
- Large batch – Put multiple slices of calamondins into bowl of sugar. Then use a spoon to cover them with more sugar before straining them out with a kitchen tool such as a spider strainer. Return them to the dehydrator.
6. Final dehydration
Now it’s time to fully dry your calamondin candy. Any moisture left in the fruit will make it go bad when stored in airtight containers for long-term storage.
Let your calamondin candy fully dehydrate, which may take up to 48-72 hours at a low temp.
Side note: If you’re planning to use your calamondin candy very quickly (within a few days) one delicious way to do it is NOT to fully dehydrate it so that it’s just slightly wet inside and still chewy rather than crunchy. We did this as part of a dessert course for a restaurant during a fancy private dinner and it was a big hit with the chef and the patrons alike.
Other recipe modifications
This is a very simple, base recipe. Once you get this recipe under your belt, feel free to modify it with the addition of ingredients such as powdered ginger, smoked paprika, salt, or other ingredients to take things in a new direction as you see fit!
Store your calamondin candy in airtight bags or jars in your pantry. No reason to take up fridge space.
Properly dried and stored, these treats can last for many months or even over a year. The longest we’ve ever gone before finishing ours up is a little over 6 months, but they were still in perfect condition (and flavor).
Recipe: Calamondin candy or candied calamondins
A simple two-ingredient recipe made from organic cane sugar and orange-ripe calamondin fruit (aka calamansi). Best if made in a dehydrator!
- orange-ripe calamondin fruit, sliced (Quantity of your choosing)
- organic cane sugar (Enough to dip calamondin slices into after the initial 8 hour dehydration period)
Slice off stems of calamondins (and very top of skin) with a serrated knife. Then thin-slice each calamondin fruit into 3-4 slices. Remove seeds with the tip of your knife.
Place calamondin slices in dehydrator on low temperature (95°F / 35°C is our preferred temp) for 8 hours to reduce moisture content and get the fruit to become tacky but not wet. Dip slices in sugar using one of the two methods described in article, then return to the dehydrator for another 48-72 hours (still on low temperature) until completely dried.
Let cool to room temperature, then store in airtight bags or jars. Refrigeration not necessary.
You can eat calamondin candy as-is or use them as a garnish on other dessert recipes. Slice a piece halfway through with a knife then perch it on the side of a glass to bring some wow to a drink presentation.
Bottom line: there are lots of ways to use candied calamondins!
Regardless of how you use them, we hope this recipe helps you use up your excess calamondin fruit and brings some great flavor to your table.
Sink your teeth into other citrus recipes you’ll love:
- Recipe: Calamondin ginger upside down spice cake
- Recipe: Blood orange bars with sage brown butter shortbread crust
- Easiest way to zest lemons, oranges, and other citrus
- Buddha’s hand citron: make tea, candy, and simple syrup from the same recipe
- Recipe: Meyer lemon guava ice cream
- Recipe: Duck egg Meyer lemon curd
- Recipe: Meyer lemon bars with rosemary brown butter shortbread crust