Buying Seasonal Specialties
Highly valued and eagerly anticipated due to their specific window of availability, seasonal citrus specialties add delicious variety to the spectrum of citrus flavors. Starting in mid-fall, seasonal specialties come into season throughout the autumn and winter months, with many available well into spring. Popular varieties include tangerines, tangelos, Moro (blood) oranges, Cara Cara oranges, mandarins, pummelos, Oroblancos and Melogolds.
Pummelos are the largest seasonal specialty and are packed in special cartons. Moro (blood) oranges and Cara Cara are sized and packed like oranges. Oroblancos and Melogolds are sized and packed like grapefruit. Tangerines, mandarins and tangelos are packed in sturdy cartons that come in a variety of sizes and case counts. Check with your local distributor as to which size best fits your needs.
A large and firm citrus fruit, Pummelos range in color from white to deep pink.
Season: The Pummelo is in season from mid-November through March.
- Bigger than a large grapefruit and generally round to pear-shaped. Sizes range from 3 to 23, the count indicating the number of fruit packed in a standard sized carton.
- Smooth skin, ranging in color from green to yellow throughout the season. White "albedo" or pulp just beneath the skin is very thick.
- Firm flesh that varies in color from white to deep pink. Pummelos commonly have 16 to 18 segments, compared to most grapefruit that have about 12 segments.
- Flavor similar to grapefruit, but sweeter and less acidic. Juice content is less than a grapefruit.
Storage of Sunkist® Pummelos:
Pummelos can remain at room temperature for a few days, but for longer storage it is best to refrigerate in a large plastic bag and keep stored in the walk-in.
Fresh Pummelo Facts:
The Pummelo, sometimes called the "Chinese grapefruit", is the largest of the citrus fruits. It is considered a delicacy bv many Asian cultures and is especially popular for Chinese New Year. The Chinese believe the delectable Pummelo is a sign of prosperity and good fortune - good things will happen if they eat it. Now the general population is discovering the enjoyment of Pummelos.
Pummelo Nutrition Information:
One-fourth of a Pummelo (152 grams) has 60 calories and provides 130% of the Vitamin C recommended for the day. It is sodium, fat and cholesterol free and is a source of potassium.
~Based on USDA Nutrient Data Base for Standard Reference. May 1990. Weight is for edible portion.
Varieties of Tangerines are available starting in October and some fruits are still in season all the way through May.
Actual Tangerines are the traditional ones available at Christmas time, sometimes soId with stems and leaves attached. These include the Fairchild and Dancy varieties.
Mandarins have a light orange color, smooth skins, a mild sweet flavor. The Satsuma, Honey and Royal are the three major Mandarin varieties.
Tangelos, are a cross between a Duncan grapefruit and a Dancy tangerine. They are noted for their juiciness and mildly sweet flavor. The Orlando and the Minneola are the popular Tangelo varieties.
Storage of Western-Grown Tangerines:
Tangerines will last at room temperature for a few days. However, for best results place the fruit in the walk-in, in a plastic bag or covered container.
Fresh Tangerine Tips:
Freshly-grated tangerine peel provides an exotic flavor when added to other foods. Because the peel of most varieties is loose, use a lighter pressure when grating. The same goes for extracting the juice.
- When using whole tangerine segments in salads, desserts and other dishes, remove any seeds by snipping the center of the segment and gently squeezing.
- Tangerines make "dipping" fun. Dip segments in chocolate sauce or flavored lowfat yogurt.
- Add tangerine segments to coleslaw or tuna salad for a delicious colorful flavor treat.
Easy to peel and segment, the Satsuma Mandarin is the first Mandarin of the season.
The Satsuma is the first mandarin variety of the season available from western groves. It is a favorite during the holiday season and is known for its easy peeling and segmentation. The fruit has a pebbly textured skin, a light orange color with some green, a mild sweet flavor and virtually no seeds. Satsumas are in markets mid-October through December.
Available from mid January through the end of April, Honey Mandarins have a rich, aromatic and distinct flavor.
The Honey mandarin, available from the west in late January through April, is very aromatic with a distinctive rich flavor. The fruit is thin skinned with a glossy texture, and is slightly flat in shape with no neck. It is very juicy, peels and segments easily, and has many seeds.
Red-orange in color, Royal Mandarins are available from mid January to mid March.
Royal mandarins, sometimes referred to as Temple Oranges, are available mid-January through February. They resemble an orange, with a rounder shape, and are one of the larger sized speciality fruits. The fruit has a red-orange color, a slightly rough skin and few seeds. It is easy-to-peel with a spicy tart sweet flavor.
Moro oranges have a deep red color, are typically smaller in size, easy to peel and have few seeds.
The Moro Orange, sometimes called the "blood orange" because of its deep burgundy flesh, has been a favorite in Europe and North Africa for years. The fruit is sometimes referred to by its continental names...Sanguina, Sanguine or Sanguinella.
The fruit was brought to America in the 1930s by Italian and Spanish immigrants, but it is only recently that the blood orange has flourished in western U. S. growing regions. The Moro variety is by far the most popular blood orange variety and it colors and thrives best in California's sunny valleys.
They are characterized by a distinctive flavor, with a hint of raspberry added to the rich orange taste.
The are small to medium sized, resembling Valencia Oranges, with either a smooth or pitted skin.
Skin is thinnish, rather easy to peel or pare, and fruit has few seeds.
Moro Orange Nutrition Information:
No nutritional analysis has been specifically done for blood oranges that has been officially approved by a government agency. At this time the closest values would be those given for a regular orange, which is an excellent source of vitamin C and contains no fat, sodium or cholesterol.
Moro Orange Tips: Moro oranges may be eaten out-of hand, used for their juice, or in cooking. They can he used as you use ordinary oranges, but keep in mind they add a special accent with their unusual flavor and brilliant color.
- Use Moro oranges in any sweet or savory dish that has an affinity for fruit. Salads, salad dressings, sauces, entrees and desserts are enhanced with the Moro's flavor and deep color.
- Add Moro oranges to salsas, relishes and chutneys.
- Served as a breakfast drink or added to mixed drinks, the juice provides a special taste and hue.
Storage of Moro Oranges:
Moro oranges can remain at room temperature for a few days. However, for longer storage place fruit in the covered vegetable container of the refrigerator.
With an easy to identify knob like stem, the Minneola Tangelo grows large with deep red-orange exteriors.
The Minneola is the most important and plentiful tangelo variety grown in the West. The fruit tends to grow large in size, with a deep red-orange exterior and a knob-like formation at the stem end. Minneolas are smooth to slightly pebbled in texture, peel easily and have few if any seeds. They have a delicious tart-sweet flavor and are in the market from mid-December through April.
An early maturing citrus fruit noted for its juicy, mild and sweet flavors.
An Orlando is flat-round in shape and rather large in size. The fruit has a slightly pebbled texture, good interior and exterior color, few seeds and a tight fitting peel. They are available November through January.
Ojai Pixie Tangerines
A relatively limited citrus variety in the marketplace, the origin of the Pixie Tangerine is a shrouded mystery. The seed parent is a tangerine variety called Kincy (a cross between a Dancy and a King), but the pollen parent is unknown. This mysterious origin helps make the Pixie deliciously unique. Grown in the rich soil of the Ojai Valley in beautiful California, this intensely sweet variety holds a deep citrus flavor. Its versatility makes it a premium citrus for lunch boxes, salads and dessert. Ojai Pixie Tangerines are sweet, seedless and moderately juicy for a deliciously healthy snack the whole family will enjoy. Varying in shape, size and peel texture, Ojai Pixies are generally small (1 - 3 inches in diameter), have pebbly, light orange skin and are easy to peel and segment. It is available from mid-March through May.
Gold Nugget Mandarins
The Gold Nugget variety of mandarins is deliciously sweet with a bright orange, seedless interior. This late season variety originally recieved its name from its beautiful, bright and slightly bumpy rind. They are easy to peel and separate into segments. With their incredibly juicy taste, they brighten up salads and desserts, while also being a great lunchbox snack. They are available from April through Mid-May.