Mandarin: trivia and properties of the flavour of the month
The mandarin is one of the stars of Cioccolatitaliani's autumn menu
Origin and history of mandarin
Mandarin is a citrus fruit native to tropical Asia and southern China, and its fruit tree is part of the Rutaceae family. Known as citrus reticulata in scientific language, the mandarin is one of the three main citrus fruits on the market and from its crosses some of the world's best-known fruits such as oranges, limes and lemons have derived.
This typical winter fruit owes its name to its characteristic orange colour which recalls particular imperial robes worn by Chinese political officials in antiquity.
It was then some Portuguese scholars who coined the word mandarim, attempting to vulgarise the word mantrim corresponding to the word minister in the Sanskrit language.
The mandarin tree was imported by the British into Europe around the first decades of the 19th century and the first ornamental uses of this plant were found first in Malta and Palermo, later in Naples, Sardinia and most areas of Southern Italy.
Mandarin cultivation in Italy
The mandarin tree is mainly cultivated in areas of the world that enjoy a mild climate and average temperatures that do not fall below 13°. In fact, this plant fears the cold and strongly ventilated regions and needs sunny, fertile, dry and well-drained soil in order to thrive. The climatic and Mediterranean peculiarities that characterise Italy, as well as Portugal and Spain, provide the mandarin plant with suitable conditions for cultivation. In our country, the production of mandarins is mainly concentrated in the South, in fact, competing for the podium in this particular ranking are Sicily and Calabria, which enjoy long sunny days more than other regions and are rich in loose, fresh and permeable soils.
When does the mandarin bloom?
L’albero di mandarino è una pianta sempreverde che fiorisce nei mesi di febbraio e marzo. I suoi fiori crescono per tutto l’arco della primavera e, nelle regioni più calde del sud, anche in estate. Si caratterizzano per il loro profumo e per il colore bianco, con infiorescenze ramose a corimbo che possono arrivare a contare anche cinque fiori.
Mandarin Harvesting Period
Depending on the variety, the mandarin fruit is harvested from late September to early May: the winter season is the time of year when our homes are filled with its fragrance and intense aroma. Mandarins must necessarily ripen on the tree, as this stops once the fruit is separated from the plant. An indicator of the growth of mandarins is the colour of the skin, which tends to change from green to orange when the fruit is no longer unripe.
Properties and nutritional characteristics of mandarins
Mandarins are very convenient citrus fruits to eat and particularly aromatic and fragrant, which bring various benefits to our organism and stimulate our palate with their sour and intense flavour. Mandarins are very rich in fibre, vitamin C and minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, iron and potassium: consuming a regular amount helps to prevent typical winter ailments and promote diuresis. Among the different types of citrus fruits, this fruit is one of the richest in sugars and this characteristic makes it a valuable ingredient for flavouring and flavouring your desserts.
How many calories does a mandarin have?
Before you get your mouth watering with Cioccolatitaliani's dessert suggestions, you may be interested to know that mandarins are not fattening. Eating this fruit is often recommended within low-calorie diets, as a mandarin weighing between 50 g and 100 g contains on average about 53 calories and 0.3 grams of fat. These characteristics, together with the wealth of water in the fruit, make it a fresh and aromatic citrus fruit.
What are the small mandarins called?
There are several varieties of mandarins on the market for making sweets, and one of them is particularly famous for its small size. If you have ever come across citrus fruits with a small, oval, compact shape and yellow-orange skin, you have come across Chinese mandarins. This eccentric Oriental fruit, originally from China and Japan, is also known by the name kumquat, a term in the Cantonese language meaning golden mandarin, which refers to the various beneficial, nutritional and therapeutic properties of this small citrus fruit. With its pungent, fresh and aromatic flavour, mandarin ice cream is Cioccolatitaliani’s October speciality.
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