Tangerines

Historically, the name tangerine comes from Tangier, Morocco, the port from which the first tangerines were shipped to Europe. The adjective tangerine, from Tangier or Tanger, was first recorded as an English word in 1710. Tangerines are produced mainly in China, Spain, Brazil, and Japan but are also grown in the U.S in Florida, California, Arizona and Texas. The tangerine is an orange or red colored citrus fruit. The taste is often more sour, or tart, than that of an orange. Peak tangerine season is short, lasting from November to January. The Honey tangerine, originally called a murcott, is very sweet. Other popular kinds include the Sunburst and Fairchild. One of the oldest and most popular is the Dancy, but it is no longer widely grown. The Dancy was known as the zipper-skin tangerine, and also as the kid-glove orange, for its loose, pliable peel. Its peak season is December, so long ago children would often receive one in their Christmas stockings. With their loose-fitting skins, tangerines will feel soft and puffy compared to oranges and should also be heavy for their size; otherwise, they might be pithy and dry. Make sure to choose fruits with glossy, deep orange skins, but disregard small green patches near the stems. They should be firm to slightly hard and pebble-skinned with no deep groves. Tangerines can be stored in the refrigerator for up to seven days. Tangerine flavor is used in bottled juice or Gatorade soft drinks, and the fresh fruit can be used in salads, desserts and main dishes. It is, however, most commonly eaten out of hand. Tangerines are a good source of vitamin C, folate, and beta-carotene. They also contain some potassium, magnesium and vitamins B1, B2 and B3. Freshly grated tangerine peel lends an exotic flavor to other foods. Because the peel of most varieties is loose, use less pressure when grating. When using whole tangerine segments remove any seeds by snipping the center of the segment and gently squeezing. There may be up to 59 seeds in one tangerine. Compared to oranges, tangerines tend to be smaller in size, and have a looser peel. These characteristics make them ideal as snacking fruit for children to eat and for all of us with on-the-go schedules. Add tangerine segments to coleslaw or tuna salad for an unexpected, delicious and colorful treat. Next week: phytochemicals in produce Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published tradebooks. These articles have been written and published strictly for information purposes. For any questions contact Susan at trijrsL@msn.com or www.fruitandveggienurse.com

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