In Season: Clementines

This small citrus fruits come and go in markets in December and January. Here’s why you should pick up a bunch today.
clementines

This little, fragrant citrus fruit makes its way into my kitchen every winter. Here’s why you should pick up a bunch today.

What, Where & When?

The clementine is the smallest variety of the mandarin-orange family. Other varieties in this family include dancy, satsuma and tangerine. Clementines resemble a slightly flattened sphere that’s about two-inches in diameter. They have a thin peel that slips off easily to reveal a tangy-sweet, red-orange flesh. Bonus: they're typically seedless.

Cultivated in North Africa and Spain, these small fruits were introduced to the U.S. in 1882. You'll mostly find them in specialty markets, but many locals supermarkets carry them now, too -- often in larger cases. Their peak season is from October through January.

Nutrition Facts

At only 35 calories and completely fat free, clementines are an excellent snack choice. Eating a single fruit will cover 60% of your daily need for the antioxidant vitamin C. Clementines also contain small amounts of B-vitamins such as thiamin, folate and vitamin B-6 as well as heart-healthy potassium.

What To Do With Clementines

I always arrange fresh clementines in a basket on my kitchen counter for a beautiful kitchen display. This makes them easier to grab and snack on (and they're always a better choice than cookies and chips). A peeled clementine usually makes its way into my 4-year-old's lunch box at least once a week. Once peeled, the fruit easily separates into eight or more sections, which are easy for little fingers.

Beyond plain slices, clementines work well in muffins, marmalades or as a citrus-y burst in a spinach salad. The juice adds extra flavor to lemonades, cocktails and even tea. Here's a tasty drink idea: Add two cups of clementine segments into a large cup and pour in a half cup of hot black tea. Throw in a pinch of cardamom and a touch of honey for sweetness. Dana loves to dip clementine segments in chocolate. She'll share her recipe for that next week.

You will find canned mandarin-orange segments on market shelves, but these aren't usually clementines — they’re a sister fruit called satsumas. You may also see clementine-flavored sparkling beverages, but check the labels to be sure you’re getting the real fruit.

Shopping Tip: Choose fruit with bright, shiny, colorful skin that are firm and heavy for their size. Avoid any that are bruised, wrinkled or discolored. Store clementines at room temperature or in a plastic bag in your refrigerator or crisper drawer for several days.

    Recipes to Try:

Next Up

Spotlight Recipe: Chocolate-Dipped Clementines

Turn clementine segments into dessert for a casual dinner party to serve with tea and espresso. A light sprinkle of coarse French sea salt heightens the flavor of the antioxidant-rich chocolate.

In Season: Raspberries

Raspberries have a sweet-tart flavor and are full of vitamin C and fiber -- a perfect summer berry to enjoy.

In Season: Fennel

Everyone in my family thought they didn’t like fennel until I showed them some easy and delicious ways to prepare it. This cool and crisp veggie is on my weekly shopping list for the summer.

In Season: Avocados

Perfect for guacamole or tossed on a salad, pebbly-skinned avocados are excellent during the winter months. Here are the avocado basics and a few healthy dishes to make today.

In Season: Peaches

Peach season has finally arrived! My 5-year old daughter has been waiting for me to bring home fresh ones ever since summer began. Read up on the different types and try some of our deliciously peachy recipes.

In Season: Watermelon

Full of cancer-battling lycopene and low in calories, watermelon is a classic summer fruit that works well alone, paired with cheese or mixed into a drink.

In Season: Eggplant

Grilled eggplant is a summer favorite, but there are plenty of other ways to enjoy this scrumptious delight. Check out these eggplant facts and healthy recipes.

In Season: Ramps

Ramps are a true farmers' market treasure. A member of the garlic and onion family, they're only available for a short time in the spring.

Related Pages