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Friday, February 4, 2011

Calamondin: A Little Known Treasure

calamondin kalamansi 2

Calamondin or Kalamansi is a small citrus fruit that is about the size of a quarter, give or take a bit. The trees are bush-like and normally produce quite a bit of their sour fruits during the cool season. It is this attractive appearance bursting forth with bright orange color that has earned the Calamondin tree the reputation of an ornamental plant in parts of the U.S., like California & Florida, where it grows well and thrives.

In fact, I've lived around Calamondin trees for about six years now, yet I've never noticed a neighbor or someone walking about the neighborhood stop and pick some to bring home and enjoy. This is a bit of a culinary shame for so many reasons from delicious marmalade to citrus flavored simple syrup. The biggest, simplest, and most obvious reason though is that calamondins can replace lemons & limes with ease in mixed drinks and hot or iced teas. A wonderful aspect of Calamondin this is, as the prices of both conventional and organic lemons & limes are high and not expected to drop any time soon.

Picking: If you live near calamondins, know that they will rip open if you simply grab the fruit and pull. Be sure to grab the stem and pull away from the main branch or use scissors to cut the fruit neatly away. Also, if the tree is not yours, be sure to ask your neighbors if you can pick them while also ascertaining information about things like chemical lawn treatments and such. I, personally, will only pick fruit from yards where no treatments of the sort are done. Lastly, be sure to pick ripe fruit. Citrus does not ripen off of the tree.

1 Part Rum or Vodka
2 Parts Mixer (Ex. Tonic, Soda Water, Juice, Etc.)

*The Calamondin/Kalamansi is indigenous to The Philippines and other parts of Asia. In addition to California and Florida, the trees also grow in Texas, Mississippi, and Hawaii!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How To Grow Radish

how to grow radish

Radish, often called the 'workhorse' of the garden, is practically a must for almost any front or backyard garden. Beside being edible and extremely healthful, they improve the flavor of cucumber and squash family plants while deterring pests like squash borers, cucumber beetles, and rust flies. Radishes also love being planted next to Nasturtiums, an edible and beautiful flower that is believed to deter root knot nematode to some extent.

Radishes prefer cool weather, so be sure to sow each seed about 1/2 inch deep into well worked, loose soil at the very beginning of spring and at the end of summer. Bulbs will not form if the soil is not worked properly, nor will they form if the radishes are not at least 2 inches apart from each other. And do not be afraid to form rows or just plant them about your garden in a carefree manner near cucumbers, squash, melons, peas, and spinach. Do keep them away from cauliflower and other cabbage family plants though, as they are not radish fans.

Here are some important notes about growing most radish varieties:
*Bulbs will not form in temps above 80 degrees.
*Bulbs will not form in soil that has not been well worked/tilled.
*Bulbs will not form in over fertilized, high nitrogen soil.
*Organic Neem is an excellent spray to protect edible radish greens.
*Harvest is an art-pull radish when round & smooth before cracking occurs.
*If your cool season is long, plant radishes weekly so that you have them often.

Gastronomically speaking, radishes are excellent tossed through salads or made into a vinegary cucumber and radish salad, as was done with the photographed radishes. Oh, and remember that the greens are edible and make excellent pesto when mixed with fresh basil!

*Radish pictured is an organic, fast maturing Cherry Belle radish.

Monday, July 26, 2010


La Kitchen, pronounced "La Keetchen with a French 'i', is a place where I and my family of gardeners, chefs, restaurant professionals, attorneys, and older folks who know quite a bit about 'stuff' share our collective knowledge about all things culinary, garden, health, nutrition, and just life in general. Hence our subject list is pretty much never ending!

We hope you enjoy perusing our pages. If you are passionate about a topic or have something to add, please do comment in the section below the posts. Questions and inquiries should be sent to pureamericana@gmail.com.

Yours Truly,