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What are mandarin oranges?

The mandarin orange and tangerine connection

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Mandarin Oranges

© 2012 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Mandarin oranges are little segments of bright citrus flavor suitable for salads, vegetables, main dishes and, of course, desserts. Although mostly used in canned form, you may have eaten a fresh mandarin orange and not even realized it. Before delving into a myriad of mandarin orange recipes, learn a little bit more about them and availability.

What are mandarin oranges?

"Mandarin oranges" is a term that applies to an entire group of citrus fruits. This group, botanically classified as Citrus reticulata, includes such varieties as Satsuma, Clementine, Dancy, Honey, Pixie, and tangerines in general. Most are sweeter than their other citrus cousins (yet there are some tart varieties), have a bright orange skin that is easy to peel, and inner segments that are easily separated. There are seeded and seedless varieties.

The terms "mandarin orange" and "tangerine" are often used interchangably, particularly outside the United States. This can be confusing, because although a tangerine is a mandarin orange, not all mandarin oranges are tangerines. Tangerines are the most common variety of fresh mandarin orange found in the US.

Mandarin refers to the bright orange robes worn by the mandarins, public officials of the ancient Chinese court. These delectable fruits were often reserved strictly for the privileged class in the Far East, another distinguishing reason why they are called mandarins or mandarin oranges today. Although cultivated for over 3,000 years in China, mandarin oranges did not reach Europe and North America until the nineteenth century. The first mandarin oranges to be exported were shipped from the city of Tangiers in Morocco, hence the moniker tangerines.

More about Mandarin Oranges and Mandarin Orange Recipes:

What are mandarin oranges?
Mandarin Orange Selection & Storage
Mandarin Orange Tips and Hints
Mandarin Orange Recipes
Mandarin Oranges Photo © 2012 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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