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Satsuma Mandarins



Also known as Honey Citrus, Satsuma Mandarins are most often eaten out of hand because of their sweet & juicy nature in a convenient package - they make the perfect snack. Citrus unshiu is a seedless and easy-peeling citrus species, also known as satsuma orange, Christmas orange,and tangerine. Its fruit is sweet and usually seedless, with particularly delicate flesh, which cannot withstand the effects of careless handling.  

The fruit was first brought from Asia to New Spain by Jesuits. Groves started by Jesuits in the 18th century in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, have continued to the present day. The fruit became much more common in the United States starting in the late 19th century. In 1876 during the Meiji period, satsumas were brought to the United States from the Satsuma Province in Kyūshū, Japan by a spouse of a member of the U.S. Embassy. While the species originates from Japan, it does not originate from the Satsuma Province in particular.

The towns of Satsuma, Alabama; Satsuma, Florida; Satsuma, Texas; and Satsuma, Louisiana were named after this fruit. By 1920 Jackson County in the Florida Panhandle had billed itself as the "Satsuma Capital of the World." However, the commercial industry was wiped out during a very cold period in the late 1930s. It has been planted in colder locations, because of its cold-hardiness and because colder weather will sweeten the fruit.

Satsuma Mandarins and Clementines are often accused of being the same item, just from different coasts in the United States. However, they are two distinct varieties of citrus. Clementines tend to be more popular on the East coast, while Satsuma Mandarins are more popular on the West Coast - both have gained in popularity across the country in recent years.

During Chinese New Year, Mandarin oranges and tangerines are considered traditional symbols of abundance and good fortune. During the two-week celebration, they are frequently displayed as decoration and presented as gifts to friends, relatives, and business associates.  In traditional Chinese medicine, the dried peel of the fruit is used in the regulation of ch'i, and also used to treat abdominal distension, to enhance digestion, and to reduce phlegm.  Mandarins have also been used in ayurveda (traditional medicine of India).

They are also used in green salads - often paired with Fennel, blue cheese and other bold flavors where the sweet citrus notes provide a tempering aspect. Satsuma mandarins also do well in jellies and preserves given their high brix (sugar) content. Chefs also enjoy incorporating the flavor components of Satsuma Mandarins into fish dishes including halibut, flounder, rockfish and other mildly sweet species.


Satsuma mandarin orange marmalade

Cochon's Satsuma Mojito Recipe