Dear Fresh Farms Customers,
With this week being the last seven days before the advent of the Chinese New Year, I found it fitting to highlight a food item of Chinese origin; the Clementine. Even though I am not Chinese, like many Americans I grew up with a Clementine in my brown paper bag right next to my turkey and cheese sandwich… the only difference between my lunch and that of all the other little white children at my school was that my mom would sometimes add a big piece of Feta cheese alongside it. Yes, I was THAT foreign kid. Moving on though…
The Clementine, also referred to as a Christmas Orange due to the fact that it is in peak season during the Winter months from late October to early February, is only available for a couple of months a year. Many people make jams, jellies and other reserves during the winter months in order to enjoy this fruit all year round. The Chinese, on the other hand, use the Clementine as a holiday gift for the Chinese New Year… an offering of sorts to wish each other a fruitful year to come.
Introduced to the United States in the early 1900’s for commercial use, clementines are relatively new to our part of the world when compared to the typical orange that has been grown here since the 1500’s. Clementines belong to the Rutacae class of fruits, better known as citrus. The story goes that they were first created by Pierre Clement, a French-clergymen, when he crossed the Mandarin Orange with a Tangerine during his travels east. It is one of the only seedless varieties of citrus fruit and, in my humble opinion, is the damn near tastiest available. Hurray for Pierre Clement and the Chinese New year!
Clementines are very low in calories (54/100g) and they are also a very good source of Flavonoid anti-oxidants. Clementines are high in both soluble and non-soluble fiber, which prevents cholesterol absorption in the gut.
Vitamins and Minerals
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin C
Health Conscious Characteristics
• Wound Healing
Selection and Storage
Clementines are in-season during the winter months yet they can be found all-year round. Look for fruits that have bright orange color and feel heavy in the hand, more than a baseball but not quite as heavy as a billiard ball. If it’s as heavy as a billiard ball, put whatever you have in your hand down…take a step back… and run away as fast as you can. Ok I am obviously kidding but really, it shouldn’t be that heavy.
These fruits are usually washed and waxed multiple times by our wholesalers before arriving at our locations in order to extend their shelf life and brighten their appearance. This is ok and has no effect on the quality of the fruit.
Once home, store them in your refrigerator for the longest shelf-life, though if you intend to eat them right away there is really no need because they should be good for up to a week. Like with all of our fresh fruits and vegetables though, we recommend they be eaten as soon as possible for their best flavor and nutrients.
There is no need to wash them before you peel and eat unless you are using the peel for a recipe. In that case, rinse them under water. Peel the skin with your hands, separate the segments and enjoy!
If you are using the peel for zest, we recommend that you buy organic. Organic foods are always best when utilizing any protective surrounding because that is the portion that would otherwise absorb a number of chemicals used on the farm.
Clementines are a relatively new strain of citrus fruit to the United States. Relative in the kind of sense that if the age of the world was related to the size of your body then the existence of humanity would amount to the end portion of your fingernail…yea… its pretty cool and you’re going to want to look that up. Even before making its way to the United States and into our hearts, the Clementine was used as a holiday gift for our friends in China hundreds of years before we even knew it existed! So, this week make sure to keep checking back in order to learn about different recipes and drinks that can be made using Clementines. Until then, Happy (almost) Chinese New Year!
Fresh Farms International Produce Market
Director of Marketing and PR
“Tangerines (mandarin Oranges) Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.” Nutrition And You.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2014.