At FruitRevival, we see LOTS of different fruit throughout the course of a year. One of the varieties that we look forward to the most arrives just in time for the holiday season. The stem-and-leaf Satsuma Mandarin is some serious top-shelf citrus and is an all-time staff and customer favorite in our fresh fruit deliveries in Denver. They’re sweet, juicy, and on a whole other level than your typical clementine or tangerine. Once you taste one you’ll know what I mean, and that Cutie in your lunch bag will never be the same.
History and Availability
Satsuma mandarins originated in Japan, and were introduced to the Western world in the 18th century, and by the early 1900s they were being grown in the United States along the Gulf Coast. Today they’re still grown along the Gulf Coast and in California, and they can be found in grocery stores and produce markets across the country. Ours come from Johnston Farms located in California.
Usually, the satsuma mandarin variety arrives to market in mid- to late-November, and can be found through the end of the year and some of January (it’s never long enough). Typically, satsumas are packed and shipped with the stem and leaves still attached, which definitely helps make them easy to spot when you’re shopping at the store! We’ve seen them in just about every size, from itty bitty to colossal. Every year I always find simple pleasure in trying to find the smallest one I can. They get pretty small… but still just as sweet and delicious!
Okay, but what’s the big deal?
Satsumas are incredibly juicy with a strong, honey-like sweetness. There’s just the right amount of acidity to cut through the sweetness and give you a little citrus bite. You won’t find any dried up, chewy satsumas like you might find in a bag of clementines. The flesh of the fruit is delicate, tender, and seems to just melt in your mouth. This variety of mandarin also has a thin skin that is very loosely attached to the flesh of the fruit. What does this mean? These puppies pretty much peel themselves. Once you pop one open, the fruit just about falls out of the skin. Easy peasy, lemon squeezee.
Picking the perfect Satsuma Mandarin
Satsuma mandarins are delicate, so it’s important that you handle them carefully when picking them out at the store or from your office fruit box. The peel is so thin, and so loosely attached to the flesh, that a satsuma mandarin may feel soft and puffy to the touch. Don’t be fooled and pass one up because it feels a little soft, this is completely natural and the flesh inside will be perfectly in tact and every bit delicious!
We look forward to the satsuma mandarins all year, and when they’re here we simply can’t get enough! We typically see our first satsumas just after Thanksgiving, and they have become a staple of our holiday gift baskets. For me, the satsuma mandarin has become synonymous with the holiday season, when people are filled with joy and happiness. Peel one open and we’re pretty sure that’s how you’ll feel too. Thanks for reading and Happy Holidays from all of us at FruitRevival!