The Mandarin orange, also known as mandarin or mandarine, is a small citrus tree (Citrus reticulata) with fruit resembling the orange. The fruit is oblate, rather than spherical. Mandarin oranges are usually eaten plain, or in fruit salads. Specifically reddish orange mandarin cultivars can be marketed as tangerines, but this is not a botanical classification.
The tree is more drought tolerant than the fruit. The mandarin is tender, and is damaged easily by cold. It can be grown in tropical and subtropical areas.
Varieties And Characteristics
The Mandarin orange is but one variety of the orange family. The mandarin has many names, some of which actually refer to crosses between the mandarin and another citrus fruit. Most canned mandarins are of the Mikan variety (derived from migan in Chinese), of which there are over 200 cultivars. One of the more well-known mikan cultivars is the “Owari”, which ripens during the late fall season in the Northern Hemisphere. Clementines, however, have displaced mikans in many markets, and are becoming the most important commercial mandarin variety.
The mandarin is easily peeled with the fingers, starting at the thick rind covering the depression at the top of the fruit, and can be easily split into even segments without squirting juice. This makes it convenient to eat, as utensils are not required to peel or cut the fruit.
The tangor, which is also called the temple orange, is a cross between the mandarin and the common orange. Its thick rind is easy to peel; and its bright orange pulp is sweet, full-flavored, and tart.
Citrus fruits varieties are usually self-fertile (needing a bee only to move pollen within the same flower) or parthenocarpic (not needing pollination and therefore seedless) (such as satsumas).
Blossoms from the Dancy cultivar are one exception. They are self sterile, therefore must have a pollenizer variety to supply pollen, and a high bee population to make a good crop.
Furthermore, some varieties, notably clementines, are usually seed free, but will develop seeds if cross-pollinated with a seeded citrus. Thus, great efforts are taken to isolate clementine orchards from any seeded citrus varieties.
-The dried peel of the fruit of C. reticulata is used in the regulation of ch’i in Traditional Chinese medicine
-The peel is also used to treat abdominal distention, enhance digestion, and to reduce phlegm.
Canned mandarin segments are peeled to remove the white pith prior to canning; otherwise, they turn bitter. Segments are peeled using a chemical process. First, the segments are scalded in hot water to loosen the skin; then they are bathed in a lye solution which digests the albedo and membranes. Finally, the segments undergo several rinses in plain water.
You can Find number of recipes containing oranges in Ayesha’s Kitchen: