"We have a calamondin tree. Can we make wine with the fruit?"
Linda and Terry, Boca Raton, Florida
Calamondin, more commonly called the Panama Orange, is a cross between a Sour Mandarin Orange (Citrus reticulata) and a Kumquat (Citrus fortunella). Its botanical name is Citrus citrofortunella, but the last name is so descriptive that it often stands alone. The tree is tall, columnar, highly decorative, with small oval leaves and nearly thornless branches sporting many fruit approximately the size of small tangerines. Given its parentage, it should not be surprising that the fruit are acidically tart and very juicy when ripe, although the rind is surprisingly sweet. The tree is easily contained and considered an excellent ornamental. It is cold hardy and grows true from seed.
Bring water to boil and add sugar. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Meanwhile, wash fruit and prepare zest from 10 of them. Put zest in jelly bag, tie closed and put in primary. Pour boiling water over zest, cover, and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, juice the calamondins, strain the juice and cover until needed. When primary reaches room temperature, stir in calamondin juice, white grape concentrate, yeast nutrient and pectic enzyme. Cover and set aside 12 hours. Add activated yeast. Ferment 24-36 hours, stirring every few hours. Remove jelly bag and squeeze gently to extract flavor. Discard zest, transfer liquid to secondary and fit airlock. If required, top up when fermentation subsides. After 60 days, rack, top up and refit airlock. Repeat racking every 30 days until wine clears and no new sediments form over 30-day period. May be sweetened lightly or to dessert wine levels. Stabilize, sweeten as desired, wait 10-14 days, and rack into bottles. This wine should be cellared at least 4-6 months before drinking. [Author's own recipe]
My thanks to Linda and Terry of Boca Raton, Florida for requesting this recipe.