Calamondin ice cubes; and, where I’ve been (in case you were wondering)

I’m a sucker for citrus trees.

Growing up we had a lemon plant in our Chicago apartment that we’d be lucky to get one lemon in a year from its twiggy branches. But, now that I live in sunny South Florida, I’ve finally had the opportunity to get one for myself.

Intrigued by the hybrid aspect, I opted to try a calamondin tree (though, it’s really more of a bush), which was the only plant starting to bloom its fragrant citrus blossoms.

I moved the potted plant into my backyard and swooned over its floral perfume until the flowers fell and were replaced by tiny green bulbs. About two months later, the branches were weighed down with quarter-sized, mostly-orange fruit.

Calamondin tree

The skin is thin, and can be eaten, like a kumquat. Though, unlike the kumquat, they are round. The flavor is sour like a lime but with the sweetness of an orange. Calamondin ice cubesThere’s something about the randomness of the fruit and its aesthetic simplicity that mesmerizes me; though, I can’t fully articulate it. Nor can I pronounce its name: Calamondin. So I’ve nicknamed her, Callie, for short.

As for where I’ve been…. Well, life’s responsibilities have been a bit heavier than usual lately, but I’ve also been logging some serious hours at a hand-building pottery class I’m taking from the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale’s AutoNation Academy of Art + Design.

The teacher, Brett Thomas, has entertained my peculiar obsession with palm fronds and other native items that I “borrow” from nature, and has challenged and strengthened me as a beginning artist – in ways I never would’ve imagined. The 10-week course is in the final two-week stretch and though I’m slightly disappointed about it ending shortly, it’s inspired me to be more spontaneous and inventive with all my creations, in general.

We’ve fired the kiln once thus far, in which I had about 10 pieces (a couple mortar and pestles, a few small plates and platters, and some other random vases, etc.). Below are some of Callie’s fruit in the first of many palm-frond-inspired platters I’ve made in class.

Calamondin bulbs in my pottery

Last night we had some friends over for dinner and I made shredded pork tacos, lemon and cilantro rice, black beans, guacamole and a purple cabbage salad with red bell peppers, spinach and arugula (from the garden) and a dressing made of sour cream and lime. For drinks, we juiced grapefruits and mixed it with vodka and a splash of orange soda and used Callie’s frozen fruit for ice cubes. I added some fresh mint and basil to mine, giving it a refreshing kick.

Calamondin ice cubes

Frozen Callie Cocktail {instructions to make the calamondin ice cubes}:

Slice about a pound of calamondins (or you could use kumquats) in half through their width (not their length), which will allow you to pop their large (in comparison to the small size of the fruit) seeds out so you have seedless ice cubes. Freeze for about ten hours (or more) and add them to your beverage of choice, for a more flavorful alternative to ice.

Calamondin ice cubes in a summer citrus cocktailAnd though I’m covered in clay, I’m finally back to documenting my messes here at the blog.

Does anyone know other uses for calamondins? I want to cook with them, (maybe squeeze their juice over a piece of grilled fish?) and possibly preserve them at the end of their season. Any other suggestions?

This entry was published on May 18, 2013 at 11:54 pm. It’s filed under making a mess in life., making a mess in the garden., making a mess in the kitchen. and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Calamondin ice cubes; and, where I’ve been (in case you were wondering)

  1. Pingback: Calamondin Caipirinha | A Mad Tea Party

  2. Kara on said:

    Beautiful photos of Calli;) Happy to read the latest blog!

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