A loose-skinned orange category that includes several varieties that can be sweet or tart, seedless or not and can range in size from as small as an egg to as large as a medium grapefruit. They all, however, have skins that slip easily off the fruit. Among the more well-known mandarin-orange family members are clementine, dancy, satsuma and tangerine. The tiny clementine has a thin peel and a tangy-sweet red-orange flesh that's usually seedless. It's cultivated in Spain and North Africa and can usually be found only in specialty produce markets. Dancy oranges are similar in size and color (and equally rich-flavored) to clementines but have a plenitude of seeds. The small Japanese satsuma oranges are almost seedless. Most of the canned mandarin oranges on the market are satsumas. The most common mandarin found in the United States is the tangerine, which has a thick, rough skin and sweet flesh. It was named for the city of Tangier, Morocco. Depending on the variety, mandarin oranges can be found in the market from November through June.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.