By Sandy Sachs. March 31, 2010.
The history of the tangerine is quite interesting. The tangerine is actually a variety of the Mandarin orange, which is native to southeastern Asia. The name "tangerine" originates from Tangier, Morocco which was the port from which the very first batch of the tangerine fruit were shipped from Tangier, Morocco or southeast Asia to Europe. Tangerines have been cultivated for over three thousand years in counties like Japan and China. However, this amazing fruit did not arrive in the US until the mid nineteenth century. The first batch of tangerines was brought to America when the Italian consul in New Orleans decided to plant it on the grounds surrounding the consulate. From New Orleans, the tangerine was taken to Florida and it became a commercial crop like other citrus fruits. Florida has become famous for their production of oranges as well as tangerines.
A tangerine tree is quite interesting because it is much smaller than most of the other citrus fruits which tend to be on large side. Tangerines are also known for their bright orange peel, which is usually much more vibrant than the peel of an orange. Tangerines are slightly flattened at each end and feature a loose, orange and reddish peel. The segments that are easily separated are tender, rich in flavor and juicy. The pulp of tangerines is also extremely abundant in Vitamin C. Tangerines have many of the same health benefits that oranges have. Tangerines are also used frequently in cooking. Another interesting fact is that the oil from the skin is actually a signature ingredient in several orange liqueurs.
The peak season for tangerines is between December and January so make sure that you order some premium tangerines early because they tend to sell out long before they are actually ready to be shipped. When selecting tangerines you should look for the ones that do not have any blemishes and are slightly heavy for their size. This means that they are really juicy and should be very sweet. You will want to avoid tangerines that feature soft spots, dents, cuts or mold. The color of a tangerine is generally not a good indication of sweetness, so do not be fooled into thinking the brightest orange tangerines are the most sweet. Overall tangerines are an interesting healthy fruit that should be perfect for you and your family to enjoy. In order to make your tangerines last longer store them in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator.