I’m Mad for Mandarins

tangerineMandarins, tangerines, satsumas- did you know all of these names are referring to the same citrus fruit many of us have come to know and love? Did you also know that this is the perfect time of year to buy these delicious little orange fruits?


Tangerines are often preferred over the orange because they are easy to peel, sweeter, and smaller in size. Speaking of smaller in size, the clementine, another favorite of adults and kids alike, is actually a hybrid of a tangerine and an orange. Who knew!


Perks of the Peel


Not only are tangerines relatively low in calories- only about 53 calories per 100-gram serving- they are also rich in many key nutrients. This makes tangerines a very nutrient- dense food, meaning they pack a lot of bang in terms of vitamins and minerals for only a small amount of calories. Some of the nutrients in tangerines known as flavonoid anti-oxidants, like naringenin, naringin, hesperetin, vitamin A, carotenes, xanthins and luteins, help protect your body’s cells from the harmful damage done by free radicals.


Another great health benefit of mandarins is their high content of vitamin C and fiber. As we all know fiber is key in promoting healthy bowel movements and maintaining a healthy gut. Vitamin C is a super vitamin! It is a anti-oxidant, helps with collagen synthesis, aids in immune function, and can even promote the absorption of iron by the body!


Tasty Tangerines


Tangerines make for a great mid-afternoon or after dinner snack but they also can be incorporated into your meals in so many delicious ways! You can juice your tangerines to make a refreshing drink or add it into your favorite marinade for a burst of citrus on grilled chicken, lean steak, or fish!


Another great way to incorporate tangerines into your meals is to slice one up into your salad. It can really brighten up your whole salad and add some sweetness without all the added sugar that some salad dressings may impart.


Last but not least, don’t forget the peel! That’s right- the peel that you probably throw out. You can zest the tangerine peel to add amazing flavor and acidity to any dish without any extra calories!


Your turn to take action: Check out your local market this week to score some in-season tangerines. Be sure to let me know how you choose to enjoy these little bites of citrus bliss in the comments below!

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