Although Americans often use the terms tangerines and mandarins interchangeably, tangerines—along with clementines and satsumas—are actually types of mandarin oranges. These sweet citrus fruits with loose-fitting skins originated in China, but they are now grown in many parts of the world.
Ounce for ounce, oranges have about twice as much vitamin C as tangerines. But even a medium-size tangerine fulfills about 50 percent of the adult Recommended Daily Allowance. In addition, tangerines are richer in vitamin A (in the form of beta carotene) than any other citrus fruit. A medium-size tangerine contains 775 I.U. of vitamin A, as well as 130mg of potassium. It is also high in pectin, a soluble fiber that helps lower blood cholesterol.
This orange fruit is an excellent remedy for depression and the winter blues.
While most varieties are available from November to March, tangerines are an especially popular Christmas fruit. The following are among the most common types sold in the United States:
Clementine. This fruit is seedless, and smaller and sweeter than most other varieties. It is sometimes called an Algerian tangerine, but most clementines sold in the U.S. are actually imported from Spain or Israel.
Honey tangerine. Also known as a murcott, this variety has a greener skin than other tangerines, but the flesh is more orange and the flavor is sweeter.
Satsuma. Any of several varieties of tangerine, satsumas are a little larger than clementines, nearly seedless, and very thin-skinned. Japan is the leading producer of satsumas.
Tangelo. A cross between a tangerine and grapefruit or pomelo, the tangelo looks like an orange, is tangier than a tangerine, and is sweeter than a grapefruit. Its name is a combination of tangerine and pomelo.
Tangor. This hybrid, also known as temple orange or royal mandarin, looks like a tangerine but tastes like an orange; it is juicy and contains many seeds.
Dancy. While it is no longer as widely grown, the Dancy tangerine, whose peak season is December, is commonly known as the Christmas Orange since children would often receive them as gifts.
Foods That Harm Foods That Heal, The Reader’s Digest Association, © 1997, 339.
Tangerine Maple Cashew Cream
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 30 minutes in water to cover
1 cup fresh squeezed tangerine juice
2 tsp. pure maple syrup
Drain cashews. Place in blender with tangerine juice and maple syrup. Blend on high until mixture is smooth and creamy. Drizzle over a fresh fruit salad, cooked cereal, waffles or toast.