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Clementine Oranges

Some random facts about sweet French clementines, mainly from Corsica, when it’s clementine season, and how different they are to tangerines and oranges.

pile of clementine oranges

Clementine Orange Season

Autumn & Winter: November – February.

Random Facts About Clementine Oranges

  • Clementines are smaller than oranges, characteristically sweet, less acidic and either seedless or a few varieties with seeds (e.g. Monréal);
  • Clementines are most famous from the French island of Corsica in the Mediterranean and, although growing there since 1925, only began producing as of the 1970s;
  • How to pronounce French Clémentine: clay-mon-teen;
  • According to Clementine de Corse, they’re rich in vitamin C, vitamin B9, Betacarotine, Provitamine A, and their health benefits range from being antioxidant, antiviral, anti-allergenic to anti-cancerous;
  • The Clementine was born in 1902 in Algeria, when missionary Clément Rodier gave his name on discovering the hybrid in an orphanage garden and surprised the children as they take less time to mature than tangerines;
  • Researchers at the INRA in Corsica discovered in 2002 that the Clementine is a natural cross between a mandarine and an orange;
  • How to choose the freshest oranges: brightest orange in colour doesn’t mean they’re the best. If slightly green, they’re still good inside. What matters is a firm, tight skin and heavy to the touch. Any loose looking skins mean the fruit is drying inside and losing its water content;
  • Storage: keep either in a cool, dark place or in the fridge for up to 10 days;
  • Food combinations: clementines are mostly eaten on their own at the table. During holiday season, oranges are often paired with chestnut. For the simplest treat, spread on chestnut & vanilla purée on a crêpe and finish with a squeeze of clementine or orange juice.
    Alternatively, squeeze some of the juice and serve with duck filets (magrets de canard), or serve with this spicy chicken tagine; for dessert, replace apples in this recipe to make a clementine, gingerbread & caramel trifle.

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