The mandarin originated in China. Its name comes from the ancient officials of that country, the Mandarins. It is not known whether the name was given because they were fond of the fruit or because they wore orange robes. The word mandarine appeared in the French language in 1773.
The clementine comes from Algeria, from the cross between a mandarin and a Seville (bitter) orange. Its name comes from that of Marie-Clément Rodier, known as Frère Clément, who lived and worked at the turn of the 20th century. It is not clear if he was also an agriculturist and a talented botanist, and that he was behind this cross, or whether it was spontaneous, which is quite possible, and that he merely picked the fruit to which his name was given.
Tangerines owe their name to the port of Tangier in Morocco, from where mandarins were shipped.
Whether choosing mandarins, clementines, or tangerines, the fruit should be very firm and heavy with the skin adhering well to the flesh. If this is not the case, the fruit is dry and its flesh is fibrous and with little juice.
The average clementine weighs 50 g.
These fruit are sold by weight or packed in nets.
Clementine juice exists although it is somewhat uncommon, the same goes for frozen organic clementine juice.
Mandarins and clementines are mainly used for desserts, in creams, gâteaux, fruit salads, and sorbets. Mandarin sorbet served in a mandarin shell is a classic dessert.
Mandarins, clementines, and tangerines should be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
These three types of fruit are naturally high in vitamin C, like all other citrus fruit. They also contain carotenoids and antioxidant flavonoids, with all three providing good protection for the organism. They also provide fiber and minerals.
The mandarin is a spherical fruit some 5–8 cm in diameter. Its flesh, divided into segments, is particularly fragrant but loaded with numerous pips. It is grown in Spain, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and the United States, but is somewhat uncommon in the marketplace. November through February.
A cross between a Seville orange and a mandarin, this fruit has thin, orange-green skin. Its flesh is juicy and tart (but less fragrant than a mandarin) and often comes without pips.
The earliest, of the Bekria variety, arrive from Morocco from September onwards. They are followed by Monréal clementines (Spain) and common clementines (Morocco and Spain), which contain pips. Fina (Spain and Corsica), Nules and Oroval (Spain) clementines finish off the season until February.
Clémentines de Corse enjoy PGI status. They are available in France between mid-October and the end of December. They can be recognized by the leaves left on the stalk.
A close relative of the mandarin, this fruit is a little larger, with a sometimes indented and darker skin. Its flesh is very juicy and sometimes contains pips. But this name is also given to a number of hybrids resulting from different crosses.
The tangelo, a medium size fruit, is the result of crossing the mandarin with the grapefruit.
This crossing has led to several varieties: the minneola (orange-red) and the Orlando (light orange skin).
Crossing the tangelo and the clementine produced the nova and clemenvilla, which are medium size, slightly flattened fruit with thin skin, juicy flesh, and some pips.
The cross between the minneola and the mandarin gave rise to the winola, a fruit with an easy-to-peel, bright orange, grainy skin and without pips.
Crossing the tangerine and the orange gave rise to the tangor family: ortanique (rather large fruit with coarse orange skin, with juicy flesh containing pips) and temple (thick, dark red skin).
Crossing the clementine with the tangerine produced the fortuna.
The ugli is the result of crossing the tangerine with the orange and grapefruit.