Tangy, sweet, refreshing, sour, and astringent; the tangerine is a refreshing relative of the mandarin orange.
Or at least some horticulture classification systems agree that they are related. Others do not and insist that the tangerine is its own species of citrus originating in the area of Tangiers, hence the name Tangerine. Hopefully, the Tangerine does not have an identity crisis despite this variation in classification because Tangerines are really quite delicious and good for you.
There is something about the tangerine that inspires creative endeavors... there is a book titled Tangerine, and a song about Tangerine, and a musical group named Tangerine Dream. What is it about the exotic Tangerine that we seem to love so much? Tangerines are small and aromatic, making them great additions to salads and veggies. They are also awesome in stir -fry or with savory meals, like a marinated braised pork loin. Or, if you are inspired by the romantic food writings of M.F.K. Fisher you can warm them on a radiator allowing their plump, juicy goodness to inspire your creative airs.
“ It was then that I discovered little dried sections of tangerine. My pleasure in them is subtle and voluptuous and quite inexplicable. I can only write how they are prepared.
In the morning, in the soft sultry chamber, sit in the window peeling tangerines, three or four. Peel them gently; do not bruise them, as you watch soldiers pour past and past the corner and over the canal towards the watched Rhine. Separate each plump little pregnant crescent. If you find the Kiss, the secret section, save it for later...”. ~MFK Fisher
From a health perspective, like all citrus, the tangerine is an excellent resource for Vitamin C and fiber. The volatile oils, like thymol and limonene, add an extra element of health with their ability to aid in digestive issues and promote cell regeneration, and even act as a natural pesticide. Tangerines are also packed with minerals like potassium, magnesium and manganese. Research demonstrates that including citrus, like tangerine, in your diet can help with oxidative stress, systemic inflammation, cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, and gastrointestinal ailments. It also acts as a fortifying agent for blood and cellular structure, increasing the growth and repair of healthy red cells.
I like to use tangerines as dressing for fresh veggies and salads; squeezing the juice of a tangerine with my bare hands into the bowl and mixing and massaging thoroughly. This not only adds amazing, refreshing flavor, but also preserves the fruit or veggie until ready to eat. Don’t forget to lick the juice from your fingers and inhale the tantalizing scent of tangerine as you reflect on their many treasures and gifts to our dietary repertoire.