Mandarin, or Tangerine

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Mandarin oranges were cultivated in ancient India and China at least 3,000 years ago. The well-known Japanese type, the satsuma, appeared by the 16th century, and Mediterranean types (“tangerines,” from the Moroccan city of Tangier) in the 19th century. Mandarins tend to be relatively small and flat, with a reddish, easily peeled rind and a distinctive, rich aroma that has notes of thyme and Concord grape (thymol, methyl anthranilate). They’re the most cold-hardy of citrus trees, yet the fruits are fairly fragile. Satsumas are seedless and commonly processed into canned segments.