© Denzil Green
The name "Mandarin Oranges" is used to refer both to an orange and to a family of oranges that includes Dancys, Clementines, Honey, Pixie, Satsumas, Owari, King, Oneco, Ponkan and Willow Leaf. Technically, it really is just an "umbrella" name used to refer to the family. Producers and marketers, though, aren't yet sure whether to market Mandarins as one fruit, or to be clear to consumers that there are different kinds of Mandarin Oranges.
Mandarin trees are small, only growing up to about 25 feet tall (7.5 metres.) They have thin, spiny, thorny branches and small leaves, and produce small flowers. Mandarin Oranges will have anywhere from 9 to 15 easily-separated sections inside. The skin on some Mandarins is actually green. If people saw them on produce stalls, they would walk on by thinking the oranges weren't ripe yet.
Mandarins in general have the following production problems: the oranges sometimes fall off the tree of their own accord before harvesting, the trees will sometimes skip years in bearing fruit, and the thin peel of the fruit can make shipping a challenge. The thin skin, though, does help make them easy to peel. Some Mandarin Oranges are seedless; some have seeds.
An average-sized Mandarin Orange is around 2 1/2 inches wide (6.5 cm.)
Growers classify Mandarins into three main groups:
- Group1 (called the "Mandarin class"): Changsa, Le-dar, Emperor, Oneco, Willow Leaf;
- Group 2 (called the "Tangerine class"): Tangerines, Clementine, Cleopatra, Dancy, Ponkan, Robinson, Sunburst;
- Group 3 (called the "Satsuma" class): Satsuma, Owari, Wase, Kara.
Mandarin Orange Pieces
Most canned mandarin orange pieces are from Satsumas. They are canned in a syrup or in water. Canning has the advantage of presenting orange-coloured pieces to consumers from fruit that consumers might otherwise be unsure of, as the skin on these is naturally green.
1 cup Mandarin Orange segments = 10 to 12 segments
1 Mandarin Orange = 3 tablespoons of juice plus 1 teaspoon of zest
1/4 cup drained canned pieces = 1 1/2 oz = 40g
Though Americans think of mandarins as a new fruit on their shores, the first one there was actually grown in New Orleans by the Italian consul there: sometime between 1840 and 1850, he planted the Willow Leaf or "China Mandarin" variety. Mandarins were introduced into Florida in the 1870s.
Mandarin OrangesClementine Orange; Dancy Tangerines; Fairchild Tangerines; Kinnow Mandarins; Mandarin Oranges; Mikan Oranges; Rangpur Limes; Satsuma Oranges; Sunburst Oranges; Tangerines
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