bg header


The nutritional properties of mandarins

Mandarins are citrus fruits often present on our tables. Being one of the three “original” citrus fruits—along with grapefruit and citron—from which all other species originate, they are also among the most significant citrus fruits from a botanical perspective. They grow mainly in subtropical climates and mature into a plant that can reach up to 2 metres in height, mainly in the winter season. As everyone knows, the fruit is soft to the touch and small in size, with a characteristically rough skin and a spherical shape.

Mandarins are appreciated for not only the flavour but also the nutritional values. The reference is primarily to vitamin C, which is an antioxidant and support substance for the immune system. There is also a certain abundance of mineral salts such as potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. Similar to folic acid, mandarins are also high in limonene, another potent antioxidant.

The main varieties

Since mandarins are widely cultivated throughout the world, there are numerous varieties. Here are the most popular ones:

  • King: It is characterised by its flattened shape and thin peel that does not adhere to the fruit.
  • Cleopatra: The pulp is extremely juicy, and the fruit has lots of seeds.
  • Tangerine: A North African variety, characterised by a sweet and pleasant flavour.
  • Satsuma: The pulp is very sweet and juicy. This is a seedless variety.
  • Caciullian: A Sicilian variety, it is characterised by a juicy, medium-sweet pulp and a very thick peel that can be easily removed with your hands.
  • Clementines: They are citrus fruits with a sweet flavour and seedless pulp. It is a hybrid citrus fruit between mandarin and bitter orange.
  • Calamondino: Also called the dwarf mandarin. This is also a hybrid between mandarin and kumquat.
  • Kumquats: This citrus fruit, also known as the Chinese mandarin, is good for the respiratory system, the neurological system, and the immune system.
  • Mandarin orange: This fruit is a cross between an orange and a mandarin. It’s a fruit high in fibre and water. Contains potassium and vitamin C. It possesses antioxidant qualities.

Uses in the kitchen

Like any other citrus fruit other than lemon, mandarins are mainly consumed raw as a table fruit. However, they can also be the protagonists of numerous recipes. For example, they can be used as toppings for fruit cakes.

Obviously, they can be used to prepare jams and perhaps to fill tarts. Among other things, the process for making jams is very simple and does not differ from that of any other citrus fruit jam, especially oranges.

Nonetheless, mandarins can appear among the ingredients of salads, perhaps those that play on the combination of fruit or vegetables. Regardless of their use, mandarins are versatile ingredients; therefore, they are able to enhance many recipes. In short, the advice is to take a look at the recipes below, which I have personally selected for you.

Some mandarin-based recipes.

As we have seen, mandarins are versatile fruits that lend themselves to many uses in the kitchen. For this reason, it is worthwhile to include a few intriguing sweet and savoury recipes. I suggest you understand more about this topic by examining the in-depth recipes available on this website.

Almond and Mandarin cake: From the outside, it appears like the classic grandmother’s cake, but in reality, it has a suggestive dough based on eggs, almond flour, and a smooth puree of mandarins. For the latter, fruit is briefly boiled, blended, and finely filtered.

Mandarin cake: The shape of this dessert is distinctive; it is star-shaped. The mandarin plays an apparently secondary role, as it is used in the garnishing phase. The quantities used, in fact, are so important that they radically impact the final result, both from an aesthetic point of view and in terms of taste.

Seabream with mandarins: Based on the suggestive usage of fruit, this recipe seems excellent. The mandarins are caramelised with oranges and left to thicken on heat. The thick end product is then used to decorate the pan-browned seabream fillets.

Quail breast with mandarin: This gourmet second dish has aromas that aren’t your typical palate fare. The quail is enhanced by mandarins, of which both the peels and the pulp are used. The peels are boiled and placed as a garnish, while the pulp is reduced to juice and used to blend the meat together with the wine.

The benefits of mandarins

Mandarins are nutritious fruits, although they are extremely light. Precisely for this reason, they are very beneficial for the body. The reference is above all to the benefits for the immune system, thanks to a notable abundance of vitamin C.

However, mandarins are also good for those who suffer from water retention, thanks to the presence of vitamin P, which promotes diuresis. Furthermore, the abundance of potassium positively impacts blood pressure, while the abundance of fibre helps digestion.

We also find excellent doses of group B vitamins, which stimulate the secretion of serotonin and are able to promote sleep.

Mandarin is also a very light food, which can be integrated into slimming diets. It provides only 70 kcal per 100 grammes, a low value considering that a mandarin weighs 30 grammes on average.

Possible contraindications

Although they are nutritious fruits, there are still several situations where they should not be consumed. Their intrinsic sweetness, due to a high intake of fructose, could have a negative impact on diabetics.

Therefore, those with diabetes should only occasionally eat Mandarins. Although it is lower than other foods like bread and pasta, their glycemic index is still very high.

What about allergies, then? While there isn’t a known allergy to mandarins, possible symptoms include hives, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and stomach cramps. In the most severe situations, dyspnea and bronchospasm happen.

How to grow mandarins.

Given that mandarins are among the most popular fruits among both adults and kids, it is not unexpected that they have been so successful in cultivation. If you have a yard or enough room to cultivate trees, mandarin can be grown quite easily.

Mandarins love bright, sunny locations with moderate temperatures (between 10 and 30 degrees) and little to no rain. They are primarily grown in southern Italy as a result.

This fruit adapts to almost all types of soil, provided it is not too calcareous, alkaline, or clayey. Planting should be done in the spring, when the climate is milder. As far as nutrition is concerned, a slow-release fertiliser should be used. Watering, however, must be frequent, especially in the summer when the temperature exceeds 30 degrees. Remember, however, that the plant cannot tolerate water stagnation.

Mandarin, like most citrus fruits, should be harvested in autumn and winter. Some later varieties, however, can also be harvested in the early spring.