The tangerine (Citrus reticulata) is an orange or red coloured citrus fruit. Tangerines are smaller than most oranges, and the skin of some varieties peels off more easily. The taste is often less sour, or tart, than that of an orange.
How to use: Tangerines are most commonly peeled and eaten out of hand. The fresh fruit is also used in salads, desserts and main dishes. Fresh tangerine juice and frozen juice concentrate are commonly available in the United States. Tangerines are a good source of vitamin C, folate and beta-carotene. They also contain some potassium, magnesium and vitamins B1, B2 & B3.
Clementine Tangerine is the smallest variety of tangerine. Its skin is deep orange in color and has a smooth to slightly rough texture. The membranes for the segments are thinner than other tangerines, making the flesh more delicate. The flesh of the Clementine is juicy and very sweet flavored, and it contains little or no seeds. The majority of the Clementines are imported here from North Africa and Spain but some are grown in California and Florida. They are available in the middle of November up until the beginning of February. They are also referred to as the Algerian tangerine.
Dancy Tangerine is a common variety of tangerine that has a thin rind, which is deep reddish-orange in color, smooth and easily peeled. It is small in size in comparison to some of the other varieties. Its flesh is dark orange with a rich, sweet flavor that has a hint of spiciness to it. The Dancy contains a fair amount of seeds and does not hold well after maturity. Available in the middle of December until the beginning of February.
Fairchild Tangerine is the variety first to ripen during the season in North America. It is a popular variety in the United States. The Fairchild has a slightly flattened shape with a lightly pebbled, deep orange rind. It has a thin skin but is still fairly easy to peel. The flesh contains seeds but is juicy with a rich sweet flavor. Fairchild tangerines are sometimes found with the stem and leaves still attached. The Chinese believe the stems and leaves attached to the tangerine are a symbol of prosperity and good luck. It is available from October to Middle of January.
Fallglo Tangerine is one of the larger varieties of tangerines. Its thin rind is deep orange in color and easy to peel. The juicy flesh is also deep orange in color and has a sweet flavor. It is available from the middle of October through November.
Honey Tangerine is a variety of tangerine that is high in sugar content, giving it a rich sweet flavor. They are small to medium in size and their rind, which is fairly smooth textured, is yellowish-orange in color with a tinge of green at times. Its flesh is a dark orange color and contains some seeds. It is available January through April. Honey tangerines are also referred to as Murcott oranges.
Royal Mandarin is actually a tangor, which is a variety of mandarin orange that is a cross between a tangerine and an orange. It is one of the larger mandarins and is more rounded in shape. The tangor is reddish-orange in color with a slightly rough skin that is easy to peel. Its flesh is juicy and has a sweet flavor with a slight spiciness to it. The tangor contains few seeds. It is available January through March. The tangor, or Royal Mandarin is also referred to as Temple Orange.
Satsuma Tangerine (Mikan)
Citrus unshiu is a seedless and easy-peeling citrus mutant of Chinese origin, but introduced to the West via Japan. In Japan, it is known as unshu mikan. In China, it is known as Wenzhou migan. The Japanese name is a result of the local reading of the same characters used in the Chinese, the name meaning "Honey Citrus of Wenzhou" in both languages. It is also often known as "Seedless mandarin" or as a satsuma.
Its fruit is sweet and usually seedless, about the size of other mandarin oranges (Citrus reticulata), smaller than an orange. One of the distinguishing features of the satsuma is the distinctive thin, leathery skin dotted with large and prominent oil glands, which is lightly attached around the fruit, enabling it to be peeled very easily in comparison to other citrus fruits. The satsuma also has particularly delicate flesh, which cannot withstand the effects of careless handling. The uniquely loose skin of the satsuma, however, means that any such bruising and damage to the fruit may not be immediately apparent upon the typical cursory visual inspection associated with assessing the quality of other fruits. In this regard, the satsuma is often categorised by citrus growers as a hit-and-miss citrus fruit, the loose skin particular to the fruit precluding the definitive measurement of its quality by sight and feel alone.
Sunburst Tangerine is a variety of tangerine that has a very smooth, thin rind. The rind is so thin that you can see ridges from the segmented section of the flesh. Its rind is a dark reddish-orange color and is easy to peel. The flesh is deep orange colored and has a rich, sweet flavor. The Sunburst has little or no seeds. It is available from November through the middle of January.