Known as the darling of oranges, this cute, easy-to-peel fruit is popular among all ages because it is seedless, sweet and juicy. A common sight during the winter months, Clementines have also earned the nickname "Christmas Oranges."
The History of the Clementine
The smallest of the mandarins, a Clementine is a hybrid fruit – a cross between a sweet orange and a Chinese mandarin. The origins of the Clementine are unclear. Some believe that it was Father Clement, an Algerian monk, who discovered this unique, natural hybrid in the mandarin garden at his orphanage and named it clementino. However, others claim that the Clementine originated in China much earlier and then migrated to the Mediterranean.
Whatever its origins, the Clementine was introduced to the United States in 1909. In 1914, it was brought from Florida to California to be grown at the Citrus Research Center in Riverside, California. Clementines are now a unique citrus product that provides a sweet, juicy orange flavor in an easy-to-peel “package.”
Did You Know?
Clementines are also called “zipper oranges” and “kid-glove oranges” because they are so easy to peel.
Selecting Your Clementine
- Select a Clementine that is firm and heavy for its size.
- Make sure that it doesn’t have soft spots or wrinkled skin.
- Check its scent – it should smell good, not rotten or fermented.
How to Care For and Store
California Clementines should be stored in a cool, well ventilated area. Typically, storing oranges between 45° and 48° F is best. They can stay at room temperature for up to one week. If refrigerated, they can be kept for up to two weeks.
How to Enjoy
- Peel and eat for a quick, easy and nutritious snack on the go!
- Incorporate the juice into your favorite cocktail or add as a garnish.
- Add to fruit salads and desserts.
- Toss slices with any salad to add color, sweetness and extra nutrition.
- Add slices to yogurt for a light snack or breakfast.
- Mix juice into sauces for a sweet and tangy twist.
- Chop into vinaigrettes, sauces and relishes.
- Juice of 1 Clementine = ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 cup Clementine slices = 6 – 8 Clementines
- 1 medium Clementine = 2 teaspoons of orange zest
- Juice the Clementine just before drinking to retain the most vitamins.
- Never store freshly squeezed juice for more than 48 hours.