Thank goodness citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruit and tangerines, are in season in Florida and California right now -- just in time to rescue us from those winter blues.
Tangerines are at their seasonal and nutritional best from November through April. They are a good source of vitamins A and C, which help improve our immune systems and can jazz up a variety of dishes. Or just stick a few in your bag before you head out in the morning. Their conveniently small size and natural protective rind makes them the perfect portable fruit.
In addition to being smaller than oranges, they are also generally sweeter and easier to peel. So stock up and make this seasonal citrus fruit your mid-afternoon pick-me-up snack. It has enough sweetness to brighten you mood -- and just enough nutrients and fiber to prevent you from crashing afterwards.
Look for tangerines that are firm feeling and heavy for their size, as that indicates a juicier fruit. They should be bright orange in color and without any deep grooves. Skip over any that are soft or cracked.
Store tangerines loose in a bowl or basket in a cool place that does not get any direct sunlight. Stored this way they should last two to three days. Alternatively, you can store them in the refrigerator. This will very slightly negatively affect their taste, but will increase their shelf life to up to a week.
Beyond being the perfect pocket fruit, tangerines can be used in many different dishes and recipes including:
Juiced: Juice on their own or in combination with other citrus juices for a nutritious and energizing morning drink.
Chutney: Simmer tangerine segments, fresh cranberries and diced apples with sugar, water, cider vinegar and all-spice until softened. Serve over Brie cheese or as an accompaniment to roast turkey or pork.
Sauces: Sweat a minced shallot in butter and add in tangerine juice, a squeeze of lemon juice and some grated ginger. Reduce until slightly thickened and serve over a mild white fish such as tilapia or cod.
Salads: Use tangerines in place of oranges for a sweet and colorful addition to your salads. Try combining them with salty and crunchy ingredients, like in this tangerine, celery and blue cheese salad, for a texturally and tastefully balanced side dish.
The crunchy, sweet and savory pair perfectly in this fresh cold weather salad.
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