The Christmas orange! Kids and adults alike look forward to this easy-to peel fruit with a thin yellow-orange to flame-orange loose skin (rind). The mandarin appears small, slightly flattened orange, with the most enjoyable, sweetly aromatic tender flesh, divided into small segments that come apart easily. It is grown on a small, prickly evergreen tree (Citrus reticulata) from southeast Asia.
Mandarin oranges are less acidic than North America’s traditional oranges and generally sweeter (yet there are some tart varieties). . The name applies to an entire group of citrus fruits. This botanical group includes such varieties as Satsuma, Clemetine, Dancy, Honey, Pixie, and tangerines. There are seeded and seedless varieties.
The terms “mandarin orange” and “tangerine” are often used interchangably, particularly outside of North America. This can be confusing, because although a tangerine is a variety of mandarin orange, not all mandarin oranges are tangerines. Tangerines, however, are the most common variety of fresh mandarin orange found in North America.
Depending on the variety, mandarin oranges are in season for us from November through June, with peak season being December and January.
The mandarin orange is at its best when the fruit is unblemished, a bit heavy for its size, as well as free from spots, cuts, mould and overly soft areas. Bright colour is not necessarily a prerequisite of quality.
Tangerines are the most perishable of the oranges. Best when consumed as fresh as possible, they may be stored in a cool, dark spot for a few days. They will keep, however, in a plastic bag, refrigerated in the crisper drawer to extend shelf life up to two weeks.
Rinse thoroughly. The loose-skin of this fruit can be easily removed by hand, to then, separate the small segments within.
When grating (or zesting) mandarin orange peel, keep in mind that the skin is thinner than most oranges, so less pressure will be necessary. The same theory applies to squeezing for juice.
Most frequently eaten out of hand, with no enhancements necessary, mandarins can also be added to fruit salads or sauces, as a colorful, sweet accent in green salads for a touch of class, and are simply splendid in sweet and sour dishes. Then there’s the peel…less bitter than oranges, adds a delicately sweet flavor to any dish. They are especially good in desserts, as well as for decorating cakes, puddings and pies. On the other hand, this fruit’s colour and zesty flavor will, also, liven up you main course staples.
Quick & Easy Serving Ideas
- Drink a cool glass of orange juice for breakfast or serve orange halves instead of grapefruit for a change.
- Combine the juice with other fruits and yogurt in the blender for a smoothie any time of day.
- A couple of tablespoons of orange juice concentrate can be added to a fruit cup for a great flavourful sauce.
- Cut oranges into wedges and eat them for a light snack or use them as edible garnishes.
- Use a zesting tool or grater to remove the rind from oranges to use in recipes, rice, or stir fry for added flavour.
- Carry an orange with you wherever you go, they come in their own covered container so you can just peel and eat orange segments whenever the snack craze occurs.
- Orange juice can be used over fresh fruits to prevent browning.
Substitute for Canned When substituting fresh mandarins for canned, additional water or simple syrup may be required to supplement. One 11-ounce can equals 1-1/4 cups mandarin oranges.
Total Fat: 0.0g
An excellent source of vitamin C and A, potassium, and folic acid
- This fruit’s namesake are the bright orange robes worn by the mandarins, public officials of the ancient Chinese court.
- Although cultivated for over 3,000 years in China, mandarin oranges did not reach Europe and North America until the nineteenth century.
- Associated with good fortune by the Chinese, it is a significant feature of local Chinese New Year celebrations.
- The tiny Clementine variety has a thin peel and a tangy-sweet red-orange flesh that’s usually seedless. It’s grown in Spain and North Africa and can usually be found only in specialty produce markets.
- Dancy oranges are similar in size and colour (and equally rich-flavoured) to Clementines but have a substantially more seeds.
- The small Japanese Satsuma oranges are virtually seedless. Most of the canned mandarin oranges are of this variety.
- Common to North America is the Tangerine – a thick, rough skin and sweet flesh. It was named for the city of Tangier, Morocco.