8 Mandarin Varieties (The Most Common Mandarins)

Mandarin oranges, close up.

Mandarin refers to a type of orange with a thin, loose peel. They could be called “tangerines,” but, in the trade, they are usually confined to the types with red-orange skin.

Mandarins have many varieties that have come from mutations between different species over thousands of years. They all have different tastes, flavors, shapes, and sizes.

Mandarins can be put into three groups:

Satsumas

This is the term given to a group of original Japanese mandarin trees that make up most of the plantations in both Spain and Japan. It is the coldest-tolerant of all the mandarins.

The “Satsuma” is used at an industrial level to manufacture tinned gores in syrup or for natural juice since they are seedless. Spain and Japan are the biggest exporters of tinned mandarin gores.

The mandarins of this variety are the first to ripen, but their fast acid content decrease characterizes them once they reach maturation. This fact makes them less tempting than other varieties. The demand for these varieties decreases when the “clementine” ripe period begins.

Clementino

Clementinas refers to a collection of mandarins with similar commercial qualities, such as fruit size ranging from tiny to medium and origin in the common mandarin tree.

The downsides of these varieties are that some years they produce many small-caliber fruits, while the next year they produce fewer larger-caliber fruits.

Comunes

All Mediterranean mandarin trees are included in this group, and they are practically found in fields of familiar running. They have good organoleptic features, but the fact that they have seeds and a short preservation time make them of limited value in the global market, but they do have some value in local commerce in some regions.

Varieties of Mandarins:

Ponkan

Ponkan mandarins, close up.

This variety is the world’s most widely grown mandarin, with large plantations across China, India, and Brazil. It is a fast-growing plant with a strong upright bearing. They grow to be medium-sized trees when fully mature.

Ponkan fruits have an oblate form and a thick, loosely adhering rind. These luscious mandarins measure 7 to 8cm across. They are the most popular Chinese New Year mandarin orange because they have a large size, a succulent, juicy texture. And a sweet, lively, and tangy flavor. They aren’t so concentrated, though, that you can’t consume more than a few at a time.

Kinno

This orange-pomelo hybrid variety, also known as Kinnow, is primarily grown in Pakistan and India. It is reddish-orange in color with a glossy shine and has a slight oblate form.

They are incredibly sharp-sweet and full-flavored when fully mature.

It’s possible that eating more than one at a time is excessive. Their abundant juice and fragrant zest can be used to make drinks and cocktails, as well as cooking and baking.

Mikan

Satsuma type Mandarin - The Mikan variety.

These little mandarins are 5 to 7 cm across and have a gentle acidity and flowery sweetness that makes them incredibly refreshing.

They’re not only easy to peel, but they’re also exceptionally juicy and seedless.

Mikan mandarins are a specialty of Wakayama and Ehime prefectures in Japan and Jeju Island in Korea.

Marisol

Marisol is an early Clementine that may be found in late September in Spain and late April in the southern hemisphere. The fruit is delicious and soft when eaten. However, they can be a little sour. Although the pale yellow peel is very easy to remove, it is prone to breaking.

Honey Murcott

Fresh Honey Murcott Mandarins.

The Honey Murcott mandarins are thought to have originated in the United States, and those sold in the United States are often grown in Australia or China.

They are a late-developing mandarin that produces a firm, excellent-flavored medium-sized fruit. The flavor is intense, and the amount of juice is substantial. All of this is encased in a thin yellow-orange rind.

They’re around nine centimeters wide, plump, and have sticky but thin skin containing a few seeds. Honey Murcotts are very juicy, somewhat sweet, low-acid, and occasionally tasteless.

Madelo

This grapefruit-sized mandarin-tangerine-pomelo cross from the United States has thin, sticky yellow-green skin and a lot of seeds. Its flesh is seedy and highly juicy, with a bright yellow or yellow-orange color.

Its sweet, juicy flavor is halfway between pomelo and grapefruit, lingering but pleasant subtle bitterness.

As aptly called by some, this “Cocktail grapefruit” is used to make cocktails, marmalades, jams, and syrup.

Swatow

This orange, named after its birthplace in Shantou, Guangdong, China, is for individuals who like less sweet orange.

These mandarins are similar in size to Ponkans but have a rougher, thicker skin that is more difficult to peel, chewier insides, and a less sweet and more sour taste.

They make up for their lack of delicacy with durability. They can last two to three weeks on the shelf, which is longer than many other mandarins.

Lukan

In Singapore, Lukan mandarins are the most popular variety of mandarin oranges.

They have thin, slightly wrinkled skin that is easy and quick to peel.

They aren’t as big as the Ponkan and are often softer in flavor. The zesty orange is sweet and juicy, with acidic and tart flavors that excite the appetite.

It is the most widely available orange in terms of flavor.

They’re also quite simple to peel. Like Ponkans, their zest is fragrant, although it can be too soft and bitter about utilizing in cooking.

Final thoughts

While many people are familiar with mandarin oranges, it is occasionally surprising to learn that they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Each of these varieties has some qualities in common, but each has one or two characteristics that set them apart.

Unlike what most people believe, all Mandarin doesn’t come from China. Mandarins are grown worldwide and mainly in Asia from Japan, Taiwan, Pakistan, Korea, and many more.

Mandarins are an amazing fruit that can be eaten alone or used in thousands of ways in different recipes worldwide. They all boast impressive health benefits, all while pleasing the taste buds, whether you like sweet-tasting mandarins or sour!

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