The mandarin is a member of the citrus group of fruiting trees, resembling an orange but slightly flatter in shape. Originating from China, there are many forms and varieties of mandarin ranging from orange to a more greenish skin, with most having a delicious sweet taste but some are a little sour and tart.
They're mostly recognisable from other citrus fruit by their thinner skin or rind, and it's ease of peeling as well as being able to separate the segments effortlessly. More traditional varieties have seeds in each segment, but modern cultivation has led to seedless forms being developed to enhance the eating pleasure. Following peeling, there are fine creamy white fibers that form a sort of netting around the fruit which are easily removed, less desirable as these can have a bitter taste.
There are several types that are cultivated globally with three key forms having been cross pollinated with other citrus to create newer varieties. The Clementine
How to prepare
Mandarins are easier to peel than oranges, as the peel sits looser around the flesh.
The inner segments are easily separated to enjoy one at a time or to share with others. It's best to remove any of the white fiberous netting as this can be bitter.
Buyer's and storage guide
Fruits should be uniform in colour with a slight gloss. There should be no signs of damage and quite firm all over. Mandarins can bruise quite easily, damaging the inner segments which turn sour.
Fully coloured fruit are ripe to eat straight away, and can be stored on the kitchen bench for a week or two. It's best not to store in the refrigerator and also not to keep alongside bananas and apples as these can speed up their overripening.
Also remove out of any plastic bags or wrapping as this can cause mould and other deterioration
- Peel, eat and enjoy - doesn't get simpler than that
- Create a salad and add in a few mandarin segments for a sweet burst of flavour
- Enjoy together with some yoghurt and any other fruit you desire
- Use segments in refreshing drinks with some soda water and mint