Look! This is how the plant looks like at the nursery and when it arrived at my home, just in time for Chinese New Year 2 years ago. Healthy and full of golden, ripening fruits to symbolise abundance and to bring prosperity for the coming year. Very auspicious indeed. So, we usually have at least 2 of these potted plants placed on each side of our main door entrance. A red ribbon is tied around the pot to activate the good 'chi' of feng shui. Ideally, it should look like this at least for the first 15 days of the lunar new year.
It never fails to amaze me at how master gardeners in nurseries here always manage to make them ripen just in time to look perfect for the new year.
After all the celebrations and merry-making is over and done with, it is our turn to take care of the plant.
Mine is producing quite a lot of flowers this season. These flowers are fragrant and attract a lot of bees and butterflies. When the flowers start to fade and wither, this is the time to look out for butterfly eggs. You need to be more observant during this period as tiny fruits are starting to form. The caterpillars may be as tiny as a milimeter or so to as big as a few centimeters long. You may need to do something before the caterpillars devour the leaves and shoots.
Calamansi has many uses. While the flesh of the fruit tastes very sour even when ripe, the skin may actually taste quite sweet. The leaves are very fragrant and can be used in cooking. Just like in the West, you have the lemon, here in the Far East, we have our calamansi. What the lemon can do, the same goes to calamansi.
Uses of calamansi:
- a bunch of the calamansi is placed on altars as offerings to deities during prayers
- an ornamental plant for feng shui purpose
- fruit juices rich in vitamin C, makes a good health drink when mix with sugar or some honey - tastes like lemonade
- in dipping sauces and marinades
- used to get rid of the fishy smell in seafood
- when dried, sweettened and preserved, can be eaten as a snack
- preserved calamansi can be mixed with honey and drank to cure sore throat
- in hair care to remove oil on scalp, cure dandruff and give shine to hair
- in soaps, lotions, shampoos
- used as a whitening agent for darkened areas around elbow, knee and armpits
- deodoriser in fridge to get rid of unpleasant odours
- used to help remove stubborn food stains on cooking hobs