Mandarin Oranges are the highlighted fruit this month. They are perfectly ripe and in season here in Athens.
They are loved by everyone big and small and so easy to carry with us on the go.
All citrus fruits are high and abundant in Vitamin C and A. They are perfect to reduce inflammation in your body. Potassium is found and can regulate blood pressure and manganese for the regulation of brain and nerve function. Magnesium is also abundant and regulates muscle, heart and nerve function and keep your bones strong. Dietary fiber can also be found and this is very important for a healthy bowel.
1 cup of mandarin gives us 28 % of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. Mandarin oranges also contain the carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
One cup of mandarin orange has 20.6 grams of sugars. The important fact is that these sugars are considered healthy and natural in comparison to other foods that sugar is added to them making them unhealthy.
How to enjoy
Eat raw or toss in a salad or rice dish. May also be used in deserts or with your breakfast in oatmeal, yogurt or fruit salad.
How to choose the perfect mandarin
Avoid mandarins with soft spots or any damage to their skin. Choose the ones that feel heavy. Some mandarins have loose skin and are puffy. This is very normal and they are so easy to peel.
How to store and keep mandarins
Mandarins will be great in the fridge for up to two weeks. If you keep them at room temperature, they will typically last one week.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that most people consume 2 cups of fruits each day. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health recommends consuming one serving of yellow or orange fruits or vegetables and one serving of citrus fruits each day. Mandarin oranges obviously meet both of these criteria, making them a particularly healthy food to incorporate into your diet.
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one small mandarin measuring about 2 1/4″ in diameter (70 g).
- Calories: 40
- Fat: 0.2g
- Sodium: 1mg
- Carbohydrates: 9.3g
- Fibre: 1.3g
- Sugars: 7.4g
- Protein: 0.6g
- 6 % of the daily value (DV) for calcium
- 9 % of the DV for copper
- 7 % of the DV for potassium
- 6 % of the DV for magnesium
- 7 % of the DV for vitamin A
- 9 % of the DV for vitamin B1 (thiamin)
- 5 % of the DV for vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- 5 % of the DV for vitamin B3 (niacin)
- 8 % of the DV for vitamin B5
- 9 % of the DV for vitamin B6
- 8 % of the DV for vitamin B9 (folic acid)
- 58 % of the DV for vitamin C
A common question is if mandarins, tangerines and clementine’s are the same thing. The answer is that no, they are not. In fact, they are in the mandarin orange family, but they are considered unique fruits. While they are easy to peel, tangerines tend to have a tougher skin than clementines. They are also more sour. Tangerines have seeds and clementines do not have any seeds.
Mandarin Salad Recipe
- Big bowl (about 10 ounces) mixed salad or/ and spinach
- 1.5 cups mandarin oranges
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
For the dressing
- Little salt and fresh pepper
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Zest of 1 mandarin orange
- Whisk together the ingredients and add to salad to combine.
- Add all dressing ingredients to the small bowl and mix. Add the dressing to the salad when ready to serve. Enjoy!
Katy Taveira, MSc