Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Which Clementines Taste Good?

Citrus season is here! Hooray!!!

I bought my first box of "clementines" and am already disappointed. and I've decided to do something about it...

I'm going to record the meta data from every box of these things I buy this winter to see if I can find some pattern in which are juicy and easy to peel and which are bland and full of seeds.
Hypothesis 1: some brands will rigorously only accept high-grade fruit from packing houses while others will accept any trash that can be pulled off a tree*
Hypotheses 2: Florida can't grow anything but juice**
The Phytophactor tells us that clementines are a mandarin x tangerine hybrid with a flattened shape, easily removed rind, easily removed sections (covered in easily-removed reticulate veins), with orange, nearly seedless flesh and a sweet tangerine taste.

Let me know when you get a box of excellent clementines!
It's obviously an unscientific poll, but I'd be happy to pay a little more for a brand or region that seems to produce the best fruit more reliably.

In the meantime check out this bizarre citrus fruit that just found its way into my local grocery store.

*Or due to weather, month, variety or agronomy (seeds are caused by cross-pollination)
**Because I was trained in Cali, prove me wrong! ;)

November 14, Maryland
"Tangerines" (oops, these probably aren't actually clementines)
A little bland, moderately hard to peel and separate, only 1-2 seeds per fruit, some hard scarring inside fruit

November 25, Maryland, Delaware
"Clementines" Garcia Ballester, Spain, Marketed by Seald Sweet
Good typical clementine flavor, peel, 1-2 seed per fruit

"Clementines" Garcia, Spain, Wholesaler LGS DarlingClem
Excellent, extremely tender, sweet and easy to peel

December 10, Maryland
"Clementines," Martinavarro, Spain, Foxy
Best yet of the year (no seeds, great taste and texture)


  1. I absolutely love Clementines! Will be watching to see how this goes.

  2. Last year, a friend of mine guided me through his mandarin collection, and I was amazed to find the differences in flavor, fragrance, seediness, juiciness, and peel. Part of the difference between high quality and low quality clementines may be varieties that are bred for productivity vs those for flavor. This is an interesting investigation.

  3. Thanks! I'll try to save some clementine data for you. If you do any cooking with those Buddah's hands, let me know how it turns out! I've only seen them used on Iron Chef.

  4. I had a pretty good clementine tonight during AgChat -- it was a cuties branded clementine. The peeling wasn't a constant orange color, some lighter spots as well as a couple of somewhat gray spots. I have quite a few more in the kitchen so I'm glad it was tasty. What sort of additional data do you want?

  5. Just knowing you had Cuties brand and liked it is helpful. I remember that brand being good last year when I bought them. I'm starting to wonder if the bad "clementines" I've had in the past were mostly different varieties of tangerines that were just packed in the same wooden boxes. At any rate, I'm recording the date, brand and country/state of origin as I buy boxes in case I notice any associations that could reflect agronomy, packing house/wholesaler quality stringency or seasonality. It's all very unscientific but I look forward to these things all year so I'm giving it a shot ;)

  6. HI Matt! Here is more data for your collection:

    "Bagu" clementines, product of Spain: an occasional seed per fruit, not the most memorable flavor, but I give them points for being the first of the season. Can't pull the peel off in one piece. Eaten in November. My toddler loved them. Sorry, I lost some of the info.

    "Clementines: candy sweet, easy to peel" Product of Spain, but the box also lists an address in Canada: Fruson International Inc., 40 Wynford Dr. Suite 201, Toronto, Ontario M3C 1J5. Tart, two or three seeds per fruit; peel won't come off in one piece. Several fruits in the crate were already squashy within the week we bought them. Eaten in November. My toddler rejected them.

    "Darling Clamentines" These are the good ones! No seeds yet, though we have only started munching our way through the crate. Peel comes off in one piece. Just the right balance of tart and sweet. Same "product of Spain" and Canadian address as the previous box, plus something that says "USA L.G.S. Specialty Sales LTD. 302 Hunters Point Term Market, Bronx, NY 10474". Haven't tested them on my toddler yet.

  7. I am on my third box this season, I buy California Cuties Clementines, so far out of three boxes, not one seed. all live up to the label, E-Z to peel, great sections overall flavor, is mild to none. juice factor is average to good. 40% of this latest box is still green on the outside. so they are fresh, they are moist, they are seedless, they are easy to peel, they do not have a robust flavor. I keep eating them like candy.

    1. peel 5 bagus in 1 piece ez does it best taste

  8. Stop the presses! I picked up a second crate of Bagu clementines this weekend, and these are much sweeter, easier to peel, and have fewer seeds. They're about as good as the Darling clementines. Picked from a grove that's genetically a bit different, perhaps? Had more time to ripen?

  9. I have a crate of bagu clementines so far every one has 4 seeds to segment, disgusting

  10. Finished one 5 lb box of clementines (ROXY brand from Martinavarro, Spain) they were very sweet and seedless. Two weeks later I purchased my second box of the same brand and they are not as sweet and have 3-5 seeds per wedge. What is going on?

  11. Picked up another crate of Darling Clementines. As good in every was as the first batch, except that several were quite seedy.

  12. So far it sounds like clementines are a lot better than other similar citrus varieties, but that there's still a lot of agronomic variation (e.g. seeds come from contaminating pollen from other varieties and sweetness can be affected by climate).

    Here's some more orange info (h/t AgBiodiversityWeblog):

  13. Purchased a 5# bag of Cuties brand clementines This past weekend. My husband and I have eaten several......our grandson and daughter have also eaten some. They are the perfect balance of sweet and tart, easy to peel, very little veining and no seeds so far. I plan to buy some more of these to see if they are consistently good.

  14. I've noticed they've been advertising on tv recently - generally when companies/associations invest heavily in a brand they make an effort to ensure good quality, so that's probably a good plan. good luck!

  15. Years ago I preferred the brand Maroc? (not sure if this name correct but had a black diamond sticker). These got progressively worse over the years, seedy, woody, and extremely large. The last year or two I had good luck with the Cuties, up til end of November (2012). By early December we found the Cuties (always sold in netting)to be a bit woody and 4 or 5 per bag to be rotting.

    There seems to be too much inconsistentcy with these fruits and those that are catergorized as "clementines" the size of an orange sometimes!

    Would love an update from you.

  16. try cali satuma best allround



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