Satsuma Mandarin - a healthy citrus treat that's sweet, juicy & easy to peel
Satsuma Mandarins are most often eaten out of hand, but they are also used in salads, jellies & fish dishes.
Scientific Binomial Name: Citrus reticulata blanco
Also known as Honey Citrus, Satsuma Mandarins are most often eaten out of hand because of their sweet & juicy nature in a convenient package - they make the perfect snack. They are also used in salads - often paired with Fennel, blue cheese and other bold flavors where the sweet citrus notes provide a tempering aspect. Satsuma mandarins also do well in jellies and preserves given their high brix (sugar) content. Chefs also enjoy incorporating the flavor components of Satsuma Mandarins into fish dishes including halibut, flounder, rockfish and other mildly sweet species.
Select Satsuma Mandarins that are slightly soft, yet heavy for their size - indicating a juicy piece of fruit that hasn't been off the tree for too long. Fruit that is very firm tends to be a bit tart - which is common early in the season. The longer these little gems stay on the tree, the more brix (sugar) they will develop.
Once they reach your preferred level of sweetness, place remaining fruit in the refrigerator to extend the shelf life.
The extreme sweetness of a Satsuma is both its appeal as well as its weakness. The higher the brix (sugar level), the more prone a piece of fruit is to decay and mold. Avoid Satsuma Mandarins that are overly soft or are starting to show even small spots of brown. They tend to develop decay spots on the inside that will first appear as a brown spot on the skin.
Satsuma Mandarins are usually available starting sometime in October and are sometimes available through Christmas. The fruit early in the season will tend to be tart and become progressively more sweet (and consequently more prone to mold) as Christmas approaches.
Satsuma Mandarin Nutritional Information
Serving Size: 1 Satsuma Mandarin (109g)
Amount Per Serving
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Source: PMA's Labeling Facts
Satsuma Mandarins are very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. They're also a good source of Dietary Fiber and an excellent source of Vitamin C.
Satsuma Mandarins are excellent juiced - pairing especially well with bananas, mangoes and strawberries.
Organic AvailabilitySupplies of organic Satsuma Mandarins have improved greatly in recent years. Quite often, the organic fruit will be slightly smaller with some additional scarring - but the flavor should be just as wonderful as the conventionally grown fruit.
Tips & Trivia
- Satsuma Mandarin have long been given to relatives and friends as a symbol of abundance and good fortune.
- Satsuma Mandarins and Clementines are often accused of being the same item, just from different coasts in the United States. However, they are two distinct varieties of citrus. Clementines tend to be more popular on the East coast, while Satsuma Mandarins are more popular on the West Coast - both have gained in popularity across the country in recent years.
- If you buy a 5 to 8 lb box of Satsuma Mandarins and you notice even one that molds - quickly remove the moldy citrus and refrigerate the remaining fruit since mold will spread quickly. The fruit will have developed all the sweetness it can once mold starts to appear and you'll want to slow down the process as much as possible to enjoy your remaining fruit.
- Sizing of fruit can vary greatly and can also affect flavor & sweetness. Sizing includes "medium, large, jumbo and mammoth". Generally (but not always) the rule is sweetness increases the larger the fruit - but the only way to be sure it to sample before you buy! Don't be afraid to ask your local grocer to let you sample first. A good produce clerk will be eager to help - partly because he or she will likely get a chance to have some too!