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The tangerine (Citrus tangerina) is an orange-colored citrus fruit that is closely related to the mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata). Taxonomically, it may be named as a subspecies or variety of Citrus oculata; further work seems to be required to ascertain its correct scientific name. Tangerines are smaller than common oranges, and are usually easier to peel and to split into segments. The taste is considered less sour, as well as sweeter and stronger, than that of an orange.
A ripe tangerine is firm to slightly soft, heavy for its size, and pebbly-skinned with no deep grooves, as well as orange in color. Peak tangerine season lasts from Autumn to Spring. Tangerines are most commonly peeled and eaten out of hand. The fresh fruit is also used in salads, desserts and main dishes. The peel is dried and used in Sichuan cuisine. Fresh tangerine juice and frozen juice concentrate are commonly available in the United States. The number of seeds in each segment (carpel) varies greatly.
A popular alternative to tangerines are clementines, which are sometimes called seedless tangerines and are also a variant of the mandarin orange.
One of the oldest and formerly most popular varieties is the Dancy tangerine, 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.
A honey tangerine
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||223 kJ (53 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||1.8 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.|
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.|
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Tangerines are a good source of vitamin C, folate and beta-carotene.They also contain some potassium, magnesium and vitamins B1, B2 and B3. Also contains Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Tangerine oil, like all citrus oils, has limonene as its major constituent, but also alpha-pinene, myrcene, gamma-terpinene, citronellal, linalool, neral, neryl acetate, geranyl acetate, geraniol, thymol, and carvone.
New research from The University of Western Ontario has discovered a substance in tangerine skins that not only prevents obesity in mice, but also offers protection against type 2 diabetes, and even atherosclerosis, the underlying disease responsible for most heart attacks and strokes. Murray Huff, a vascular biology scientist at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, along with Erin Mulvihill, a PhD student, studied the effects of a flavonoid in tangerines called Nobiletin. Their research is published in the journal Diabetes.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "tangerine" was originally an adjective meaning "Of or pertaining to, or native of Tangier, a seaport in Morocco, on the Strait of Gibraltar" and "a native of Tangier." The OED cites this usage from Addison's The Tatler in 1710 with similar uses from the 1800s. The adjective was applied to the fruit, once known scientifically as "Citrus nobilis var. Tangeriana" which grew in the region of Tangiers. This usage appears in the 1800s. See the Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition, 1989. This fruit is referred to as Kamala kaya in Telugu and Portugal through the Caribbean. In Australia the fruit is known as a Mandarin.
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