An easy-to-peel lunch box favourite, they’re also delicious in everything from breakfasts to baked desserts.
Everything You Need To Know About Mandarins
Smaller than an orange, with easy-to-peel skin and juicy segments that are incredibly easy to separate… what is there not to love about mandarins?
Did you know?
- Mandarins are thought to derive from north-east India, south-west China and Japan – and early botanists recognised different groups within the mandarin family.
- There is the clementine, which is of Algerian descent and tends to be popular in America and Europe; and the ponkan – a broader, flatter, paler variety that is widely grown in India, China, Japan and Brazil.
- The Japanese satsuma comes from the province of the same name, and is very soft and juicy.
- Then there are Mediterranean mandarins, which are often referred to as tangerines.
- This fruit was first introduced to Europe by way of the Moroccan seaport of Tangier (where these fruits are still sold in abundance at the market), which led to the name ‘tangerine’. The term now generally refers to smaller mandarin types with darker, red-orange skin.
- It is worth noting, however, that due to crossbreeding and grafting, true varieties of mandarins have become harder to find.
- It’s thought mandarins first came to New Zealand around 1818.
Like other citrus fruits, mandarins have high quantities of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which is very valuable in supporting the immune system.
Mandarins are also rich in vitamin A and magnesium, and they contain nutrients called lutein and zeaxanthin that have been shown to reduce the incidence of cataracts and macular degeneration in the eyes.
The skins of mandarins are also known to contain monoterpenes, which can potentially protect cells from becoming cancerous, and possibly even help fight existing cancers.
The Chinese have dried the skins of mandarins for centuries, for use in both cooking and traditional medicine. The dried product is called chen pi and is commonly used to enhance digestion, reduce phlegm, stimulate the blood vessels and more.