- As you might expect, tangerines are an excellent source of vitamin C. You can get half of your Daily Value of this essential antioxidant from 140 grams' worth, which is the equivalent of two small tangerines or 3/4 cup of tangerine sections.
- You can get plenty of folate from tangerines. This nutrient works with vitamins B6 and B12 to form new cells, especially red blood cells.
- And if you want to promote healthy eyesight, tangerines contain vitamin A, a nutrient that does just that.
Tangerines are a small, thin-skinned relative of the Mandarin orange. They're easy to carry in your pocket and even easier to peel, making them an ideal snack food. If you're a tangerine fanatic, you've got China to thank for them. These dark orange little fruits were first grown in Southeast Asia about 3,000 years ago. Evidently, they were a well-kept secret until the 1800s, when tangerines spread west through the Middle East, Europe and North Africa (hence the name, which means "fruit from Tangier"). Finally, they took the U.S. by storm, spawning tangerine plantations in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas.
If you're looking for variety, tangerines can give it to you. There are a number of different types out there, each with its own unique taste and texture:
- Honey tangerines are very sweet due to a high sugar content. Grown only in Florida, this variety has yellow skin and very juicy flesh.
- Sunburst tangerines are a deep reddish-orange, with smooth, extra-thin skin.
- Robinson tangerines are another Florida staple. They have a bright orange rind and 10 to 20 seeds per fruit.
- Dancy tangerines are tart and come with plenty of seeds inside. They're often called the "Christmas tangerine," since they ripen in December.
When are tangerines in season?
Depending on the variety, tangerines ripen anywhere between October and April.
How to choose tangerines
As with oranges, you can pick tangerines based on their color and firmness. Choose tangerines that are a deep orange and have a bit of softness when you give them a gentle squeeze. Skip over those that are too soft or that have brown spots.
How to store tangerines
Tangerines will stay fresh for up to two weeks, if refrigerated.
How to prepare tangerines
Getting your tangerines ready to eat is not only easy, it's also fun! Unlike oranges, which can be a real workout to break open, or grapefruit, which are unpeelable (and need to be sliced), tangerines have very thin, slightly loose skin that is easily peeled away. These so-called zipper-skinned citrus fruits can be peeled in seconds. To de-seed a tangerine section, cut or snip open the center of the crescent and then squeeze.
Tangerines usually appear in recipes measured out by whole fruits or in cups of sections (peeled, de-seeded).
Besides Mandarin oranges, which are very similar to tangerines, you can also try using satsuma oranges or clementines.
Tangerines in recipes
Without juicy tangerine sections, Citrus Salad with Poppy Seed-Honey Dressing would hardly stand out. With them, it's an unmissable hit - and one that you can make in just 10 minutes.
Ginger-Cranberry-Tangerine Sauce can be served hot or cold, making it a nice surprise at any time of year.
And what's this? Sparkling Citrus Punch? Don't mind if I do!