Mandarin Oranges 101
These sweet little juice bombs are a gift from nature, and we’re about to give them the appreciation they deserve. Read on for all the juicy deets you need to know about mandarin oranges, and stick around for a citrus-wonderland of recipes in the coming days.
So what are mandarin oranges?
Mandarin oranges are a small, loose-skinned variety of the common orange, typically sweeter and less acidic than the larger oranges. Thought to have originated in India, they travelled across China where they picked up the name “mandarin”. They made their way to England and Euro-tripped it down to Italy, eventually making it to the Moroccan port of Tangier, where they garnered another name, “tangerine”.
How to Peel a Mandarin Orange Video
Mandarin Orange Varieties
Are mandarins and clementines the same thing? In short, sort of! Mandarin oranges are a smaller descendent or the common orange. Because mandarins are easily crossed with other varieties of citrus and can grow in a number of climates, many varieties of mandarins have been created…around 200! Here are the most popular varieties of mandarin oranges:
- Clementines: This sweet variety is usually seedless and easy to peel, making it great for kids. Brands like “Cuties” or “Sweeties” commonly use clementines (but…fun fact! As different varieties go in and out of season, these brands will swap which kinds of mandarins they include in the packs)
- Tangerines: Though “tangerine” was originally just another word for the fruit “mandarin”, the term “tangerine” has begun to take on another meaning. What we call tangerines in the U.S. are commonly more tart and have a deeper orange/red color than the common mandarin. Varieties of tangerine include Darby and Fairchild.
- Satsuma: This is a seedless variety originating in Japan. The tree is more tolerant to cold, so you’ll find these in colder climates. This variety has a thick but delicate skin, meaning it’s quick to peel but bruises easily, making it great for either eating locally or canning for shipment.
Are canned mandarin oranges good for you?
Canned mandarin oranges can be a great way of getting more fruit into your diet, especially when mandarin oranges aren’t in peak season. You’ll need to make sure they’re not canned in sugar. Look for a label on the can that says “no added sugar”.
How to select mandarin oranges
You’ll find a variety of mandarins are in season from November to April. Choose fruits that are heavy for their size and unblemished.
How to store mandarin oranges
Store mandarin oranges in a cool, dark place (like the fridge). At room temperature they’ll last about 1 week. Refrigerated in a bag they should last 2 weeks to 1 month.
Mandarin Orange Recipes
Mandarin oranges can be used in place of oranges in most recipes, but they are especially great in salads and breakfast bowls! Here are my favorite mandarin orange recipes:
- Healthy Orange Dreamsicle Smoothie
- Orange Chia Seed Breakfast Pudding
- 15 Minute Buddha Bowls
- Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls
Mandarin Orange Nutrition Information
per 1 large (120 g) mandarin orange
- Mandarin Orange Calories: 64
- Carbohydrates: 16 g
- Fiber: 2 g, 9% of Daily Value (DV)
- Protein: 1 g
- Fat: 0 g
- 53% DV of Vitamin C: A water-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant to fight against potentially damaging free radicals (molecules with unshared electrons that float around wreaking havoc) and an important cofactor in collagen synthesis.
- 16% DV of Vitamin A: Provides the provitamin version of this fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it comes from a plant source and your body converts the plant pigment into active Vitamin A. It is essential in many components of healthy vision, as well as immunity and cell growth/differentiation.
- 6% DV of Potassium: A key mineral and electrolyte involved in countless processes, including healthy nervous system functioning and contraction of the heart and muscles.