Hi, we're so glad you dropped by. You see our name reflects are colourful past. We belong to the citrus family and grew in China a very long time ago. We were so highly regarded that we were named after the officials of the Imperial Court, the Mandarins – that's how we got our name.
Our popularity was so great that visitors to China always took our seeds home with them and so we spread both east to Japan and the Philippines and west through India, Arabia and North Africa. We were imported into Europe through Tangiers in Morocco and so Europeans began to call us Tangerines and that's how we came by our second name. See, quite logical really.
We're like small oranges which are slightly flattened at the top and bottom. We’re sweet and juicy. Our deep orange, glossy, loose skin is easy to peel.
The first mandarins were probably brought to Australia through trade with China. Four varieties were documented in a catalogue of fruits cultivated in the Sydney Botanic Gardens in 1828.
We're available from March to November and are at our most plentiful from May to August.
Did you know?
There are a number of varieties grown in Australia, but production is dominated by 3 main varieties. These include:
Imperial mandarins, an early season mandarin with fine smooth glossy skin and a low seed count. Imperial mandarins account for 24% of fresh production. We are an easy-to-peel early-season mandarin with fine, smooth, glossy, orange skin. Our flesh is sweet and juicy we have orange-coloured flesh and only a few seeds.
Afourer, a mostly seedless variety, account for 23% of fresh production. We have deep orange skin and are usually seedless. We do have a high juice content and great flavour.
Murcot (including Honey Murcot), a seeded yellow-orange mandarin. Murcot mandarins account for 29% of fresh production. We’re a medium mandarin with a sweet honey taste, excellent flavour, and super juicy. We do have a of lot seeds and due to our thin, tight skin are a little hard to peel.
Other varieties include:
Ellendale - We're a medium mandarin with deep orange skin which is easy to peel. Our orange juicy flesh has a sweet, rich flavour.
Daisy - We’re a larger deep orange mandarin. We have a great flavour and lots of juice, and we do have a few seeds in each segment.
New mandarin varieties grown in smaller numbers include Sumo, Satsuma and Empress mandarins.
Why Mandarins Are Good To Eat
How They are Grown and Harvested
We grow on trees, which tend to be slightly smaller than other citrus trees. During the first four years of its life, the trees bear very little fruit and it doesn't reach maturity until about 12 years old.
We can grow in a wide range of climates but prefer warm temperatures as really cold weather can damage us due to our small size and thin skin. In very hot weather we may also become sunburnt.
Unlike other citrus fruit, which can be harvested all year round, we're only harvested in late autumn and winter. We're picked carefully by hand when we're ripe as we're difficult to harvest without our skins being bruised or damaged.
Select plump and glossy mandarins that feel heavy for their size – this indicates good juice content.
How to Keep Mandarins
Keep us in a fruit bowl on the kitchen bench for a couple of days. For longer storage, keep us in the crisper section of your fridge and use us within 1 week.
Prime Growing Areas
History of Mandarins
We have been cultivated in China for several thousands of years and have spread throughout much of southeast Asia and India. The Japanese were cultivating us as long ago as the 10th century.
It wasn't until late in the 17th century that we appeared in England. Being very adaptable, we are now grown in many different countries around the world.
Fun Ways to Eat and Cook Mandarins
We are a healthy snack food and perfect for school lunchboxes.
We're easier to peel than oranges and our segments separate easily.
Add mandarin segments to brighten your fresh fruit salads.
Juice mandarins and oranges for a vitamin-C-loaded breakfast juice.
Thread mandarin segments onto fruit skewers with sliced banana, strawberries and kiwifruit.
Here are a few tasty recipes using mandarins from Sydney Markets;