Mandarin and Tangerine

General Information

Origin: Southeast China
Etymology: See the text below
Rutaceae family
A thin-skinned citrus fruit, typically small in size, with a flattened oval shape and a bright orange color.

Tangerines and mandarins are sometimes mistakenly referred to as the same fruit but tangerines are actually a subgroup of mandarins. Therefore, all tangerines are classified as a type of mandarin orange, but not all mandarin oranges are tangerines. The primary difference between the two species is their skin color. The tangerine has a darker reddish- orange skin while the mandarin is lighter orange in color. The tangerine is the most commonly available mandarin orange.

It was the Portuguese, through their colonies in Asia, who introduced the fruit to Europe. The word “mandarin” can refer to the fruit, a high-ranking Chinese official or the language spoken in China. Nonetheless, it’s not a Chinese word.

Tangerine, the name given to a variety of mandarin, was an American invention coined to designate the fruit that passed mainly through the Moroccan port of Tangiers. 

Nutritional values per 100 g
Calories: 34; water: 90%; carbohydrates: 8 g; fiber: 1.8 g. An excellent source of minerals, mandarins contain iron (0.7 mg), potassium (155 mg), calcium (52 mg) and magnesium (22 mg).
They are rich in vitamin C (45 mg) and carotene (0.5 mg), which are powerful anti-oxidants. 

Mandarin varieties include the Minneola tangelo, Orlando tangelo, Ugli fruit and many varieties of tangerines, such as Clementine, Dancy, Fairchild, Fallglo, Honey and Sunburst.

When selecting, choose fruits that have a good colored glossy skin and feel heavy for their size, because they typically will have more juice.

Fruits with damaged or broken skins should be avoided.

Store the fruit on the counter for a few days or in the crisper of the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Mandarins freeze well if you sprinkle the segments with sugar. They’ll last in the freezer for about 8 months.

You can also preserve them in syrup – simply boil some sugar with a little water and immerse the mandarin segments in the hot liquid for a few minutes; place in jars and refrigerate.

The thin peelable outer skin separates easily from the inner flesh which is juicy, aromatic, and sweet to tart in flavor, depending on the variety. Once the peel is removed, the mandarin flesh, which may contain many seeds or be seedless depending on the type, can be easily sectioned.

If you wash the mandarins well, you can use the zest to add flavor to sauces.

Mandarins and tangerines make delicious fruit salads that can be flavored with kirsch or Grand Marnier. Widely used in desserts, they can be made into sauces, mousses, gratins, soufflés, sorbets, pies and marmalades. These fruits also pair well with endive salads, pork or poultry, enhancing them with their tart flavor.

If the mandarin is to be cooked, use only moderate heat so as not to destroy the flavor. 

Roasted fruit
Heat a little honey in a skillet; add some mandarin segments and let color lightly, then add other fruits by order of texture. Just before the end of the cooking, deglaze everything with orange juice.

Frozen Mandarin Delight
Prepare 2 cups of whipped cream; separate some mandarins into segments and remove the pulp from each membrane.
Fold the mandarin pulp (3/4 cup) along with 1 beaten egg yolk into the cream until pale and light; flavor with a few drops of mandarin liqueur; freeze. Serve with a berry coulis.


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