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Mango »« Mandarins: Richards Special

Mandarins Satsuma

Citrus unshiu


The satsuma is another species of mandarin, Japanese in origin. They’re a popular type of mandarin for many reasons: they have loose, easy-peeled skin, they’re practically seedless, and they mature over a good spread of time. Satsumas are the major variety of mandarins grown for export in New Zealand.

The names ‘mandarin’ and ‘tangerine’ are often used interchangeably: technically, though, a tangerine is a particular variety of mandarin, and in New Zealand ‘mandarin’ is the much more commonly-used name.

Mandarins are small citrus fruit, about half the size of an orange, and they have a less sour or tart flavour. Along with pomelos and citrons, they’re one of the three original species of citrus, from which all other citrus fruits are derived.

Mandarins are a great source of vitamin C and contain a good helping of vitamin A, along with iron, fibre, and calcium.

Look for plump mandarins with a glossy skin. They can dry out quickly, so buy ones that are heavy for their size, which indicates there’s plenty of juice. Leave behind any with overly puffy skin, as this indicates they’re probably overripe. Store them in the fridge for up to 10 days, or at room temperature for about a week.



Satsumas are believed to have originated in Japan about 300 years ago, as a mutation of the Citrus reticulata mandarin.

Mandarins are native to China, and have been cultivated for thousands of years. They were once reserved exclusively for the privileged classes, or Mandarins, which may be where their name comes from.


Apart from being an easy snack, mandarins have a flavour of their own that’s very distinct from that of oranges. They’re more fragrant, so for an interesting change try substituting mandarin juice and zest for orange. You’ll need 2-3 mandarins for every orange listed in the recipe. Or even try substituting mandarin for lemon – take your favourite lemon cheesecake recipe and make a mandarin cheesecake instead.

Mandarins also work well in sweet-and-sour sauces.


Tangerines, or mandarins, are sometimes called the ‘Christmas orange’ in the northern hemisphere, for the tradition of putting one in the toe of children’s Christmas stockings.

Mango »« Mandarins: Richards Special


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