Oh, My Darling Clementine!
Clementines, tangerines, Halos, Cuties, and mandarin oranges -these little citrus fruits have become wildly popular in recent times. What exactly are they though, and which are which?
Citrus fruits are all hybrids of 3 main citruses: citrons, pomelos and mandarins. So mandarins, also known as mandarin oranges, are on the top of the orange family tree. They are smaller, flatter and less round compared to a traditional orange. They are generally sweeter as well. All mandarins have a loose, easily to peel skin that makes them super convenient.
Tangerines, clementines, murcotts, and satsumas are all types of mandarins. In the US, the terms mandarin and tangerine are sometimes used interchangeably. This is a little misleading because all tangerines are mandarins, but not all mandarins are tangerines.
To make things more confusing, there are also brand name mandarins. “Cuties” is a trademark owned by Sun Pacific while “Halos” is a trademark owned by Wonderful Citrus (The POM Wonderful pomegranate people). True for both brands, if you buy one of these trademark fruits in late fall, it is going to be a different type of mandarin compared to when you buy them late in the winter. So sometimes you will get a clementine while other types you will not. It’s all about what’s in growing season at that time.
In terms of nutrition, mandarins pack a lot of fiber and vitamin C and also contain calcium and potassium. One fruit has about 45 Calories so feel free to have two!