NUTRITION: Calamansi, a miniature wonder fruit

The calamansi, a native citrus plant cultivated throughout the country is often called a miniature orange and a wonder fruit because of its many health benefits.

The calamansi, also called kalamondin, kalamunding, kalamansi, limonsito and agidulce can grow up to ten feet high and blooms all year- round in the Philippines making it an important crop and outstanding ornamental plant.

Health authorities say that the calamansi is an acid citrus like the lemons and limes because the flesh of the fruit when ripe is orange, juicy and acidic.

Often described as a miniature orange, calamansi has many uses. The calamansi juice can be used in making acid beverages. Calamansi halves or quarters may be squeezed on iced tea, seafoods and meat to enhance iron absorption. It can also be preserved whole in sugar syrup or made into sweet pickles or marmalade. It is used in making gelatin salads and custard pie. Calamansi juice is also used as a meat tenderizer and adds flavor to the dishes.

The Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos 2000 developed by the Technical Working Group headed by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) recommends that we should consume two servings of fruit daily, from 45 to 300 grams per serving, depending on the size and variety of the fruit, one of which is a vitamin C-rich food. To meet our daily requirement of vitamin C, we need at least 34 medium sized pieces of calamansi.

The calamansi fruit has many medicinal uses. The fruit juice can be applied to the scalp after shampooing to eliminate itching and promote hair growth. Rubbing calamansi juice on insect bites banishes itching and irritation. It can be used as bleaches for freckles and in clearing up acne. With the fruit juice of the calamansy slightly diluted and drunk warm, it is an efficient remedy for cough.#