The clementine has a thin, smooth, bright red-orange skin that is very easy to peel and delicate, red-orange flesh that is virtually seedless.
Here’s something to keep in mind about the clementine: the smaller the fruit the more intense the flavor.
Clementines—which are also called Algerian tangerines–are thought to be a natural hybrid between a common mandarin orange and the bitter orange.
The peak season for clementines is early to mid-winter.
The clementine is named after Father Clément Rodier who discovered this accidental hybrid in the garden of the orphanage he ran near Oran in Algeria in 1900. It is possible that this small citrus came to Algeria from China, but no one knows. Today the Clementine is mostly grown in North Africa and Spain and California, Arizona and Texas.
Choose. Select clementines that feel heavy for their size. They will be juicier. A clementine should be firm to the touch but have some give. The smaller the fruit the more intense the flavor.
Store. Clementines will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.
Serve. Eat clementines out of hand. Use them to garnish poultry and seafood. Include clementines in gelatin desserts, puddings, custards, and fruit cups.
A clementine is a mandarin orange. The botanical name for the mandarin orange is Citrus reticulata.
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