Calamansi Juice, Refreshing Hot or Cold
Mindoro is the Philippines’ 7th largest island. In 1950, by act of the Legislature, the island was divided into two separate provinces — Oriental Mindoro on the east and Occidental Mindoro on the west.
Oriental Mindoro has become a popular tourist destination, boasting of its white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, lush green forests and majestic waterfalls. It has a massive agricultural area that produces rice, bananas and fruits — among them the calamansi. In fact, Oriental Mindoro accounts for about two thirds of the Philippines’ calamansi production.
Of late, Oriental Mindoro has become known for its impressive cultural festival, Pandang Gitab or Festival of Lights (see photo). This dance festival draws its inspiration from the old practice of women — with oil lamps in hand — “sending off” fishermen going out to sea at the crack of dawn.
Now back to the calamansi. It looks like a “baby” lime, just about the diameter of the U.S. quarter coin, and is akin to the key lime. This citrus fruit is indigenous to the Philippines. It has many medicinal uses and is a popular ingredient in or accompaniment to many Filipino dishes. It is widely used to season fish and meat and to enhance the flavor of pancit (noodles). It makes for a refreshing juice drink, hot or cold. Households also use calamansi to remove heavy stains on fabrics.
This recipe is for hot calamansi juice. It was a drink that my mom would give me whenever I came down with a cold or sore throat. It’s a good source of Vitamin C. Calamansi juice can also be prepared as a cold drink with ice (just like lemonade), and is especially refreshing during the hot summer months.
In the U.S., the fruit is usually available at Filipino or Asian groceries. If all else fails, canned or frozen juice imported from the Philippines may be available in concentrate and non-concentrate form. Otherwise, if you have access to key limes, you might want to try them for this recipe.
1/4 cup calamansi juice squeezed from about 8-10 fruits, drained and seeds discarded
2 cups water
2 tbsps honey
1 wedge of lemon
Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Pour the calamansi juice into a thick glass. Add the boiling water. Add honey. Stir well. Garnish with lemon and enjoy! (For a cold drink, substitute with ice cold water and add ice cubes. Add more honey if desired)