These small citrus fruits are a sweeter version of the larger varieties of oranges. Mandarins (or mandarin oranges) include tangerines, as well as a number of other varieties, such as Clementines, satsumas and pixies. They are distinguished by their sweet taste and easy to peel skin.
Most varieties of mandarins are quite sweet, with a familiar, citrus taste. A good mandarin is quite juicy, with a strong, aromatic flavor. Many types of mandarin oranges are seedless, but any seeds found should not be eaten.
As with most fruit from the citrus family, mandarin oranges are packed with vitamin C, which is known for its immune boosting properties and helping to fight the common cold. But mandarins stand out for being a tremendous source of a compound called synephrine, a naturally occurring decongestant. In fact, mandarin oranges have been discovered to contain more than 6 to 7 times the amount of synephrine than found in oranges. They are also a good source of fibre, and contain antioxidants that help improve cholesterol levels and fight against certain cancers.
How to Eat
The best and most popular way to eat mandarin oranges is to simply slip off the easy-to-peel skin, separate the segments and pop them into your mouth. A perfectly ripened and good-quality mandarin will explode with juices and flavor in your mouth. Mandarins also make a nice addition to both fruit and green salads. They can be easily added to cakes, ice cream or other desserts. But they can also accompany meat or fish very well.
Mandarins can be kept at room temperature for about a week. Their shelf life can be easily extended another week by refrigerating them. It is even possible to freeze mandarin oranges. The best way is to wash, peel and separate the fruit into sections (remember to remove membrane and seeds). Make a sugar syrup and bring to a boil. After cooling, pour over the mandarins, then place the mandarin/syrup mix in containers and freeze. They will keep for several months this way.