Fruit File: Mandarin

Wow, now here is a confusing fruit – or rather bracket term for some very closely related fruits which are always being mixed up and even sold as each other in your local supermarket… identity theft?

The mandarin, as we all know, is a type of orange – of which there are many varieties but we feel that you really out to know about the main types of Mandarin because odds are, they are in your shopping basket!

The Mandarin family are less robust than your average supermarket ‘orange’ but we like to think that also makes them more cute! They are not spherical like their big brother and they are a darn site easier to peel!

So here are the main varieties which you will need to know…

  • Tangerine – Packed full of flavour! Get ones that feel heavier than they look with pebbled skin! Tangerine is one of the parents of the commercial orange! Weird Huh!
  • Satsuma – Japanese by Birth. A very sweet and very cute fruit – so go easy on the handling as it can’t take much rough and tumble, but is easy to peel.
  • Clementine – Generally seedless so it’s good for smoothies (of course you can always pick the seeds from the other types)
  • Tangor – technically only half mandarin – a cross breed with the seet orange – Guess what – it’s sweet!

We would happily put any of these fruits into a smoothie – for a fuller bodied flavour go for fresh tangerine. We tend to freeze segments of satsuma and use them as ‘nice-cubes’.


The mandarin brothers are all quite similar in terms of what nutritional goodies you get from them. Of course they are high in Vit C and beta-carotene as well as folate! They also contain potassium, magnesium and some helpful B vits!

Random Facts

Traditionally at Chinese new year celebrations single women would write their contact details on Mandarins and throw them into crowds in the hope of finding an eligible bachelor! Have a go at this down on the local high street – NO – DON’T!!! That is what securely monitored dating sites are for!