Credit: Romulo Yanes

The Basics

As far as cooks are concerned, a tangerine and a mandarin orange are one and the same. No matter what you call it, this small, succulent citrus fruit is a bright spot in the winter produce lineup (and in the toe of a Christmas stocking). Long prized for their distinctively easy-to-peel skin and rich flavor and fragrance, tangerines are increasingly seedless as well. Satsumas and clementines are two types of tangerines; other, more specific, varieties you'll see are Pixie, Sunburst, and Honey.

Buying and Storing

Choose tangerines that feel heavy for their size. Avoid ones with puffy or wrinkled skin, signs of overripeness. At a cool room temperature, tangerines will keep for up to 1 week, but for best results, keep them in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

To Use

Thanks to their size and natural "packaging," tangerines have serious snack appeal, but don't overlook what they can contribute to your cooking: Because they aren't as acidic as oranges, the zest or juice will add more sweetness to beef, chicken, pork, or fish dishes, as well as cakes or pastries. Try segments in salads or couscous, or, for dessert, dip them in melted dark chocolate. Tangerine marmalade is delicious on buttered toast or in between cake layers. Thin skins make tangerines a breeze to squeeze by hand. For smooth, pulp-free juice (great in the glaze below), strain juice through a fine-mesh sieve before using.



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