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The World's Best Tangerines?

The World's Best Tangerines?

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I spent my high school years in Ojai, Calif., a town of about 5,000 people nestled in a verdant valley near Santa Barbara, about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The valley was hospitable to what would later be dubbed New Agers — the Indian philosopher J. Krishnamurti lived there, and it has long been home to a Theosophist "colony" — and it famously stood in for the legendary paradise of Shangri-La in the 1937 film Lost Horizon. Among the many celebrities who live or have lived there are Anthony Hopkins, Ellen DeGeneres, Emily Blunt, Reese Witherspoon, Julie Christie, Larry Hagman, Malcolm McDowell, Bill Paxton, John Krasinski, and Diane Ladd.

But Ojai is also an agricultural community, full of citrus and other fruit-tree orchards. On chilly winter evenings the murky smell of smudge pots, lit to protect the trees from frost, filled the air when I was a teenager (they have since been banned due to air pollution); on warm summer afternoons, the considerably more pleasant aroma permeating the atmosphere was that of orange blossoms bursting into life from one end of the valley to the other. Probably tangerine blossoms, too.

Tangerines are a variety of mandarin orange, first cultivated more than 3,000 years ago in China. There are five or six main varieties, most of them grown in California. The Pixie is one of the more unusual. It was originally bred, out of a tangerine called the Kincy, at the University of California Citrus Research Center in 1927, but it wasn't made widely available for planting until 1965, after citrus specialists at the center had spent four decades working with it under various conditions. Even then, it wasn't considered to have much commercial potential, because its fruit came late in the season, and crops varied vastly in size from one year to the next. It had one thing going for it, however: It was simply delicious, intensely sweet without being cloying, with just enough acidity to make it interesting and a deep, concentrated orange flavor.

Seduced by its quality and either ignorant of its shortcomings or remarkably prescient, two Ojai citrus farmers, Tony Thacher and Jim Churchill, began planting serious numbers of Pixie trees in the early 1980s. Citrus is apparently particularly sensitive to differences in microclimate, and it turned out that the valley was absolutely perfect for Pixies. The fruit was wonderful, and the harvests were more or less regular. Witnessing the success the two pioneers had with the fruit, other growers began planting Pixies too. There are now more than 25,000 Pixie trees in and around Ojai, tended by more than 20 farmers, and the Ojai Pixie has gained renown all over California.

March is Pixie Tangerine Month in Ojai, and markets, bars, and restaurants around the community are featuring Pixies in various contexts. March is almost over, of course, but the season isn't: It extends into mid-summer (remember that this is a late-ripening variety). Get out to Ojai if you can and sample this very tasty fruit in situ. Or order them from Thacher at or Churchill at

Types of Winter Oranges and Tangerines

Bright and sweet citrus fruits like oranges and tangerines come into season in the warmer climes of North America during the winter months and bring a bit of sunshine, as well as some juicy relief to our winter diets.

Citrus fruits begin to come into season in November and, for the most part, continue until June. Look for oranges and tangerines that feel heavy for their size and have thinner rather than thicker skin for the variety. Store them in a cool but not chilled spot. Most of these varieties are fabulous for eating out of hand but consider cutting them into "supremes" for a more elegant presentation.

Oranges and tangerines are different varieties of the same species. Oranges are larger and tarter, while tangerines are, as a rule, smaller and sweeter. The skins of tangerines tend to be looser, making them easier to peel. Tangerines and clementines are classified as mandarins. Clementines are the smallest member of the mandarin family.

What Are Mandarin Oranges?

"Mandarin" orange is a term that applies to an entire group of citrus fruits. This group, botanically classified as Citrus reticulata, includes varieties such as clementine, Dancy, honey, pixie, satsuma, and tangerines in general. Their commonalities include a smaller size, a bright orange, thin, easy-to-peel skin, and a sweet taste.

With so many different varieties of mandarins and growing locations, they can be found in grocery stores year-round and are typically sold in 5-pound wooden crates or 2- to 3-pound mesh bags. They're heavily marketed during the winter months when growers in California are harvesting and shipping their fresh crops, and when many other fruits are no longer in season.

Tangerines Have Incredible Anti-Aging Benefits, Nutritionists Say

It's no secret that citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, so grabbing an orange, grapefruit, guava, or the like will definitely bring added benefits. Tangerines in particular are in that category and though they be but little, they are mighty.

Nutritionist Frida Harju-Westman told PureWow that they can delay gray hairs a bit longer. Truly! Because of the vitamins in tangerines, your body can seriously benefit. "Vitamin C helps the body produce more collagen, while vitamin A helps the hair stay hydrated by increasing the production of sebum," Frida shared.

Tangerines' B12 "can [also] help slow the graying process," which occurs when the body lacks said vitamin, causing it to produce hydrogen peroxide&mdashAKA turn gray. Therefore, more B12 (tangerines), less grays. Woo!

While gorgeous skin and hair are definitely perks of eating tangerines every day for the rest of your life, that's certainly not the only benefit.

Satsuma Mandarins Are The Best Citrus

My family moved around a lot, but one constant at Christmastime at my parents’ house is Satsuma mandarins—in a fruit bowl in the kitchen, or in the toe of my stocking. They come into season in November, hit the grocery shelves just after Thanksgiving and they are the best citrus by about a mile and a half.

Satsumas are mandarins, but they are not to be confused with clementines, oranges, or even tangerines (more on that later). They’re sweet like honey, with just the tiniest bit of acid, and the flesh of the fruit itself—those pulp things are called JUICE VESICLES—is incredibly tender. Their skins are loose and almost leathery looking and they are insanely easy to peel, almost like they come pre-peeled from the inside. They don’t have much of that white pith stuff, also known known as mesocarp or albedo. They’re a perfect winter treat at any time of day and they’re so small and fun-size you can eat two or three of them.


Get out of my face with your Sweeties® and your Cuties®.

Cuties® are the mass-market paperbacks of citrus fruits, and by the way they are actually clementines. Clementines are technically a hybrid of the Mandarin orange species (Citrus reticulata) and the sweet orange, which is actually a hybrid between the pomelo and the Mandarin orange. Are you confused yet?

Citrus is the genus, but very few of the fruits we know are actual species—most of them are hybrids. Citrus taxonomy is wild (Google the Swingle system), but basically everything is part pomelo or part Mandarin or part Citron, mixed with some other shit. That’s how you get those Buddha’s hands things and finger limes. Yeah, finger limes. Alllll of these things are total fucking mutants.

Here is a helpful primer on Mandarins:

The master category that these fruits fall into is Mandarin oranges or “Mandarins.” Compared to oranges in general, Mandarins tend to be smaller in size, have a looser peel, and are less tart. They originated in the Far East and were originally exported through North Africa, where they were all tagged with the name “tangerine,” from the city of Tangiers. However, the name “tangerine” has become less generic and is now usually applied to only one kind of Mandarin orange as stores have come to market the different cultivars — so while all tangerines are Mandarins, not all Mandarins are tangerines.

Clementines are hybrids of Mandarin oranges and sweet oranges. But they’re often called “seedless tangerines,” which is admittedly confusing. Anyway, not to be racist or anything but Satsuma mandarins are a pure genetic treasure, and badass for many reasons.

Image: catherinecronin

The Satsuma’s Latin name is straight-up Sino-Japanese: Citrus unshiu. The Chinese name, Wenzhou migan, means “honey citrus of Wenzhou,” a city in the Zheijang Province. The English name for the fruit is the province in Japan it comes from, and it was brought to America by the clever Jesuits. They also brought the fruit to the U.S. by way of Louisiana.

They’re extremely cold hardy and can withstand major frosts. They don’t pack or travel too well because of that whole “loose skin” situation, so the quality control on these babes is A+, you basically get what you see (nobody likes a bad-citrus surprise). The Wikipedia entry for unshius reads, “the satsuma also has particularly delicate flesh, which cannot withstand the effects of careless handling.” Same.

Their skin and juice has a beautiful, deep red-orange color that is not unlike that of the yolk of a fresh and omegaful farm egg. Somehow this makes a ton of sense on the nature-ripeness scale of green to red, where green is a bitter, tough, tight, unripe fruit, and red is a tender and sweet fruit at the absolute peak of its deliciousness, before it turns and its sugars ferment into some sort of booze.

Cuties® and Sweeties® are first of all, branded, and second of all not very delicious or consistent. Sometimes those fuckers have seeds in them. Sometimes they’re all dry and tight and shriveled and neither juicy nor sweet. Sometimes they taste like nothing at all. Their skin is all taut and shiny and yes they seem convenient and they come in a cute box with a picture of a fruit getting UNZIPPED and they’re miniature fun-size, but they also have a website and a fucking Snapchat channel. Like I said, get out.

Image: Kanko

Behold, winter’s perfect, loose-skinned, thornless beauties. They grow from seed, and they take about eight years to produce fruit. Chōzaburō Tanaka, a Japanese botanist and biologist concluded the place of origin of Satsuma is in the Kagoshima prefecture of Japan, where it was a “chance seedling” of one of three possible citruses from Huangyan district of Zhejiang, in China, and appeared in the early Edo period, around the early seventeenth century.

Pick some up at the grocery store I promise you won’t be disappointed. They’re perfect little berries of liquid gold, and for a brief second or three, eating one will make you feel happy. There’s also a little afterglow with the peel, which gives off a lovely, round perfume. Then you throw it all away and get on with your miserable life. Happy Holidays!


Satsuma mandarins are native to Japan. They were a natural mutation discovered growing on a tree that was likely brought to Japan from Wenchow, China. Their Japanese name, Unshu, is believed to be a corruption of the name Wenchow. The early-ripening Unshu citrus was first recorded in Japan during the 14th century, not being introduced to the United States until 1876. The name 'Satsuma' was officially given to the fruits in the 1880's after mislabeled trees arrived in the United States. Satsuma was a former province in Japan, located on the southern tip of Kyushu Island, and where the mislabeled boxes were sent from. During the first decade of the 1900s, hundreds of Satsuma mandarins were sent to the Gulf Coast for planting. Severe frost and disease wiped nearly all of them out, though areas of Texas, Louisiana and northern Florida were able to maintain a small production of the fruit. Satsuma mandarins were subsequently brought to California where they found success in the fertile Central Valley. They remain the leading commercial citrus variety grown in the Gulf Coast region of the United States. Japan is still the world’s leading producer of Satsuma mandarins, exporting to both Canada and Europe.

5 Good Reasons to Eat More Fresh Tangerines

Tangerines fruit have supplied the world with delicious goodness for thousands of years now. Native to Southeast Asia, it’s sweet citrus taste and thin-skin, easy retrieval makes fresh tangerine one of the most popular healthy treats to eat among people of all ages.

Sometimes called a mandarin tangerine due to its close relation to the mandarin orange, there are literally hundreds of different varieties of the fruit. The most popular varieties include clementine, golden nugget, seedless tangerine and tangelo, which is a cross between a tangerine and grapefruit. Many people are casually aware of the benefits of eating tangerines, but very few realize its extreme nutritional value, read on to learn of five good reasons to eat more tangerines.

1. Rich in nutrition: Tangerines are packed with antioxidants that can help fight the free radicals responsible for disease formation and premature aging. They are an excellent source of vitamins A and C as well as iron, potassium, folate, fiber and flavonoids.

2. Supports a healthy digestive system: The antioxidant, fiber and gluten free properties of a tangerine orange make the fruit easy to digest. Consuming it on a regular basis can help in times of constipation and bloat.

3. Encourages detox: Like all other citrus fruits, tangerines are highly alkaline in nature, which makes the fruit very detoxing. The alkaline properties of tangerine can help sweep the body of built-up toxins and harsh acids.

4. Supports a healthy heart: Tangerines is a healthy heart food – the flavonoids and antioxidant compounds can help to speed up circulation and keep the arteries clean and clear of harmful plaque.

5. Natural stress busters: Tangerines can help deter negative feelings of stress and anxiety by producing neurotransmitters that help calm the nerves and encourages a continuous good mood.

In addition to the nutritional benefits mentioned above, the low calorie and high fiber content can also aid in weight loss. The best part about tangerines is the fact that they are widely available – you can purchase many varieties of tangerine online as well as at farmer’s markets and supermarkets. Moreover, you can buy a tangerine gift basket as a healthy gift for a loved one. Chinese legend states that giving the gift of tangerines means that you are bestowing happiness and prosperity onto the receiver.

Making salt preserved lemons and tangerines

W hile my salted lemons and tangerines remained very true to color for the first couple of years, it’s actually quite common for the fruit to turn brown as they age further.

Some people even put their jars of fruit out in the sun to hurry the preservation process that seems to contribute to the browning of the fruit.

One lesson I learned the hard way: Don’t use one of your nice jars. The combination of salt, moisture, and time will cause the lid to rust. Opt for a recycled jar that you won’t mind getting rid of once your batch of preserved oranges is used up.

Before you go.

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In addition to being packed with vitamin C, tangerines are a good source of dietary fiber. Adding fiber to your diet is a great way to lose weight. Women under 50 should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day, and men should try for about 38 grams.


Tangerines are also a minor source of:

Nutrients per Serving

A medium-sized tangerine (approximately 2 ½ inches in diameter) weighs approximately 88 grams, and contains:

  • Calories: 47
  • Protein: 0.7 grams
  • Fat: 0.3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 12 grams
  • Fiber: 1.6 grams
  • Sugar: 9.3 grams

Portion Sizes

For healthy adults, there’s virtually no limit on the safe amount of fruit you can consume. The biggest concern for most fruits, including tangerines, is their high amount of naturally occurring sugar. However, tangerines are also a good source of fiber. Fiber limits the overall absorption of sugar from fruit.

Experts recommend eating five servings of fruit per day. Tangerines are a great way to reach this goal. One tangerine is roughly equal to one serving of fruit.

Ojai Pixies: Ideas & Recipes

The best thing to do is eat in-season fruits and vegetables. It is best for your body as fruits and vegetables that are grown close to where you live are fresher and therefore more full of vitamins. It is also best for the farmers as we want to get our fruits picked and sold in season! Ojai Pixies come into season at the same time as many other tasty spring foods. You will find Ojai Pixies pared with strawberries, honey, asparagus, avocados, spring greens, sweet peas, and of course chocolate! Enjoy the season and try some of these favorites:

Chefs on Tour to Ojai

This is a really fun piece on Chef Tom Fraker’s visit to Ojai full of photos and mouth watering ideas!

Food Bloggers and their Recipes

Vicki Bensinger: Orange Popsicle Ice Cream Push-Ups and Sea Bass with Strawberry Tangerine Salsa
Cooking on the Weekends: Pixie Tangerine Mascarpone Ice Cream
Shockingly Delicious, Pixie Tangerine Dressing
Trusturgut, Ojai Pixie Marmalade by Tajimarie

Other Ojai Pixie Recipes

Click here to use Pinterest to search for Ojai Pixie recipes

Sunkist is great at selling citrus worldwide, click here for recipes by Sunkist

Ojai Pixie Tangerine Drinks!

Of course you can make juice from Ojai Pixies, which means you can make special drinks. Some of Ojai’s restaurants make excellent cocktails with our fruit. Visit Azu’s for great cocktails or the famous Ojai Pixie cocktails at Suzanne’s.

Ojai Pixies everywhere!

SOCIAL MEDIA: Ojai Pixie Growers have joined the rest of the world on Instagram & Facebook. We’re posting news, pix and videos as the season unfolds.

MAILING LIST: Sign up for our “Ojai Pixie Alert” Mailing List. We will send you an e-mail at the start of each year’s Ojai Pixie season. Sweet! (We promise not to share your e-mail address with others).

Watch the video: Tangerines Official US Release Trailer 1 2015 - Oscar-Nominated Estonian War Drama HD (July 2022).


  1. Darrel

    What a sympathetic thought

  2. Daviel

    it Happens even more cheerfully :)

  3. Brennan

    Yes, it was advised!

  4. Taugami

    Do not use

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