Mandarin: The Original Sweet Citrus
In one of the previous articles introducing pomelo we talked about four original citrus fruits on the planet and here’s another one of them - the mandarin. Mandarin played a big role in hybridization as it is the only sweet citrus fruit out of all ‘original four citrus fruits.’
The mandarin orange is the most cultivated fruit across China, tropical Asia, India, Japan, the Mediterranean, and Florida. There are several other hybrids and the most publicly known are clementines and tangerines. The harvest time for mandarins is between November and December.
In the 1800s Tangerines arrived in Europe through North Africa, where large varietals are cultivated in Morocco. Mandarins were exported from the port Tangier, the fruit became known as the Tangerine.
In the past, Japanese immigrants in the USA began receiving Japanese mandarin oranges from their relatives back home as gifts for the New Year. This tradition then spread across the non-Japanese population through the whole country and later merged with European traditions in Christmas stockings. During Chinese New Year giving mandarin oranges/tangerines or satsumas are considered a symbol of abundance and good fortune.
Not sure about you - but I’ve always had a problem with keeping fruit for a long time, so here is a tip for you: Never wash mandarins before storing, if not consumed within a week, refrigerate them and it will extend its life up to two weeks. :)
Mandarins are famous for their low-calorie content and are often consumed fresh or in salads, desserts, or as a fresh juice, however, its peel is widely used dried, especially across the Chinese culture.
In the Czech Republic - mandarins were imported fruit and were available mainly during Christmas time. I remember my mum keeping the peels and using them in several ways: making candied peel, drying the peel on our radiator for its aroma, and saving it for tea while my father would always use it for mulled wine.
Here is a sangria recipe I would like to share with you:
1 bottle of red wine, preferably something more fruiter such as a Merlot 3 - 5 pcs sticks of cassia or cinnamon 3 pcs of cloves 3 whole mandarins fresh fruit and peel at the same time ½ lemon sliced ½ orange sliced 150g caster sugar 2 nashi pears
1. Combine all ingredients together and bring to the boil.
2. Once boiling add the caster sugar and stir until it has dissolved.
3. Taste and add more sugar based on your preference.
4. Take it off the heat and strain the infused wine from the rest of the ingredients.
5. When you decide to serve, cut nashi pear into small cubes/ pieces and add to the wine. 6. Feel free to serve hot or cold based on your preference. Note: Infused wine, will keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.