Clementine Fruit Facts


Clementines, with their bright orange skins and small size, are commonly associated with Christmas, due to their seasonality. However, this citrus fruit can be available year round, fresh or canned. It can be eaten fresh or cooked as a healthy snack, or as an addition to savory dishes.

History, Appearance and Taste

  • Clementines originate from southern China, and are a hybrid fruit, made by crossing mandarin and Seville oranges. They are easy to peel and small, containing few to no seeds. Discard the outside peel and you'll find plump, juicy orange segments that have a thin, white layer of skin protecting the individual segments. Clementines are naturally juicy and sweet, and only mildly tart. Canned clementines differ in nutritional content from fresh clementines, and are often soaked in syrup containing between 10 percent and 50 percent sugar.

Choosing Clementines

  • Choose clementines that have a glossy outer coat, which is an indicator of ripeness, and an evenly bright orange skin. Ripe clementines are soft to touch, but not mushy, and should not exude any liquid when gently squeezed. There should be no visible blemishes or wrinkles on the skin. The riper the clementine is, the sweeter and juicier it will be.

Storage Tips

  • Store clementines at room temperature for two to three days. If you are not planning to eat them within that time, fresh clementines can be stored in the refrigerator for upward of two to four weeks in a vegetable crisper. Do not wash your clementines before storage, because the fruits are treated with wax prior to shipping, which helps preserve moisture and freshness.

Using Clementines

  • Clementines can be eaten as is, as a healthy snack, but the juice or segments can also be used in salads, dressings or soups to provide a jolt of tartness and freshness. Use clementine juice in place of lemon juice in dressings or marinades for a lighter, sweeter taste. Mix with fresh tarragon and minced shallot for a Mediterranean roast chicken, or use the individual segments in a salad. A common use of clementines in a salad is to serve the peeled segments -- remove the white skin -- on mixed baby lettuce with a sesame-ginger dressing.

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