The most convenient snacking citrus tastes a whole lot better when you get them in-season, and when they’ve had more time to ripen on the tree.
When are mandarins in season?
Mandarins are in season during the cooler months, from roughly November through April. This includes clementines, and cuties and halos brand, which can be slightly different varieties depending on the time of year. Like other citrus, they don’t get sweeter after they are picked, so it’s best if you can find some from a farmers’ market that you’ve been able to taste test.
How to pick
You want to try to find ones with slightly loose skin. If it’s too tight it likely means they are under ripe or dried out.
How to store
They can be left on the counter for a few days, or loose in the fridge for several weeks.
Should I buy organic?
Definitely! The non-organic health risk of the pesticides found in (and on) mandarins is high. Based on the information that Consumer Reports published, that means you would need 1-5 servings in a day to exceed the level of safety set by the EPA.
The data collected by the EPA looks at the toxicity and amount of each pesticide found in the edible portions of the fruit (not including zest). The full details can be found over on the Consumer Reports website. Check out this article, “Should I buy organic?” I look into the known health risks, but also try to be realistic and put the whole thing into perspective.
Now what should I make?
That’s a good question! I scour the internet to find recipes that use fresh, seasonal ingredients, often with a fun twist. Follow Ask The Food Geek on Pinterest or Facebook to get access to the recipes I find every day.
Seasonal Mandarin / Clementine Recipes
Each recipe below only uses ingredients that are in season at the same time as mandarins, or ingredients that have a year-round season. Since their season overlaps with the beginning or end of other fruits and vegetables, the recipes are grouped into early season, late season, or anytime they are available.
…For anytime they are in season
Clementine cinnamon rolls – recipe by Superman Cooks
Clementine creamsicle margaritas with chili salt – recipe by Yes to Yolks
…For late fall
Shaved cauliflower salad with clementines and pomegranate – recipe by Brooklyn Supper
Pomegranates come into season in September and last through December, so you can make this as soon as clementine season begins.