Tangerine is considered to be a citrus fruit and is one of the many varieties of the Mandarin orange. Orange in color this fruit is almost always smaller than oranges and can be peeled easily by hand. The skin of the tangerine is characterized by a pebbly texture. Once peeled a tangerine can be eaten raw as it is, or it can be boiled in sugar syrup, used in cakes, juiced or used in tangerine recipes. In this fruit, the amount of seeds present in a pod can vary. Before juicing a tangerine or using it in a recipe it is advisable to remove these seeds as they can undermine the taste of the fruit. Even so there are several tangerine recipes, where this fruit is boiled whole in water and then blended along with its seeds. Currently tangerines can be obtained in a variety of sizes ranging puny walnut sized ones to those that are bigger than oranges.
Origin of the Tangerine
Tangerine has been cultivated for several thousands of years in Uganda and Japan and currently is a popular fruit crop in Burma. In recent history popular varieties of this fruit such as the Dancy and the Fairchild have been grown extensively. Among these varieties the Dancy with its loose jacket is no longer widely available.
Another popular variety of this citrus fruit is Murcott or Honey tangerines. The peel of this variety is harder to remove but the pulp itself is extremely sweet.
During the Christmas season the popularity of the tangerine spikes as it is often placed as gifts for children in Christmas stockings. The season during which this fruit is available is rather short and it lasts from October till April in the northern part of the world.
Culinary Uses of Tangerine
Tangerine is often used in salads, desserts and cakes but it can also be used as a part of main dishes. The peel or zest of this fruit is also quite popular and is often used in many tangerine recipes. Cakes and custards are normally infused with tangerine peel and juice, as it gives a fruity zesty flavor. The Murcott variety is often used in tangerine recipes, such as salads made from fresh greens or can be included in fruit salads. Very often honey tangerines are used to create martinis incorporating its juice and zest is used.
Cuisines with Tangerine Recipes
Tangerine is used in many cuisines and its use depends on the creativity of the cook. It is often substituted for orange especially in dishes where a sweeter variety of orange can be used. In countries such as the United States tangerines are used to manufacture juice and frozen concentrates. The juice and concentrate can be used in tangerine recipes when tangerine fruit are not in season or not readily available.
Popular Tangerine Recipes
Tangerine is used in several popular tangerine recipes one such is flambéed tangerines where liquor is ignited in the pan during the cooking process. Tangerines are also very a common feature of fruit salads. In fact when used in fruit salads a tangerine just needs to be deseeded, and dropped in. It such fruit salads it combines well with berries such as blackberries and blueberries. It can even be used to create vinaigrettes, salsa, tea and curd.
Tangerines are also very often used along with fennel in salads and used in muffins. This fruit is also often as a main ingredient in cakes to give them a unique flavor. It can also be used with ground almonds to create a cake suitable for people who are allergic to gluten. This cake can keep for over a week and remains moist for a long period of time. Tangerine juice and zest is also very often used to create glazing for cakes. Popular tangerine recipes include chiffon cake, roast pork with tangerines and tuna and tangerines.
Preferable Cooking Methods for Tangerine
Tangerine can be cooked in several ways. For instance it can be boiled whole along with its peel, or it can be peeled, deseeded and each pod can be fried. As it is very versatile it combines well with a number of ingredients and meats such as pork and chicken.
Nutritive Value of Tangerine
Tangerine is a good source of vitamin c, and one serving weighing around 195 grams has about 87 percent of the recommended daily requirement of this vitamin. This citrus fruit is a great source of dietary fiber and has very few calories. Additionally since it is low on the glycemic index tangerines are often recommended as part of weigh loss diets and even feature in high protein diets. As it has essential vitamins and other nutrients and relatively low sugar content, tangerines and tangerine recipes are also good for diabetics, as they do not send blood sugar levels through the roof.
Tips for Buying and Storing Tangerine
Tangerine cannot be stored easily, and often cannot be stored for long periods of time. They taste best when they are bought in season, and if ripe should be consumed immediately.