Mandarin Oranges

Kid Gloves

Mandarin orange common names include, tangerine, clementines, satsuma and sunburst.

Scientific name-(Citrus reticulata) Family-Rutaceae, Genus-Citrus

Mandarin oranges have a thin skin which is loose, so they are easy to peel. They have been dubbed "Kid-glove" oranges because of their size. Japan, Southern China and India grow the most mandarin oranges. The Center of Origin is Southeastern Asia and the Philippians, where they descended from wild oranges over 3000 years ago. The name Mandarin comes from the language and bright orange robes of the ancient Chinese public officials. Only the privileged people of the Far East were allowed to eat them. The mandarin orange arrived in Europe and North America in the nineteenth century.

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Mandarin oranges came to the U.S.A. in the 1840's by an Italian consul in New Orleans. From there they spread to Florida and California. The mandarin shrub can grow to 25 feet with just as much width. The evergreen shrub is thorny with slender twigs, broad leaves, having rounded teeth, and narrowly-winged petioles. The flowers are single or a few together in the leaf axils. The fruit is oblate, sweet, juicy and seedless. They are harvested mostly in winter, although canned mandarin oranges are available all year. The Christmas tradition of putting an orange in a stocking still goes on today in many countries.
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Mandarin oranges are more than a tasty snack. They are loaded with health benefits like cancer prevention from the carotenoids, limonene and beta cryptoxanthin, which reduce the risk of liver and breast cancer. Drinking mandarin orange juice can prevent liver cancer from developing in hepatitis C patients. Mandarin oranges have two flavonoids, hesperetin and naringenin which lower cholesterol and inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Mandarin oranges produce synephrine that slows the production of cholesterol in the body. Mandarin's have a high level of Vitamin C, which helps fight free radicals through its antioxidant properties. The Vitamin C is also helpful in preventing colds and maintaining a healthy immune system. Mandarin's have anti-microbial properties that prevent wounds from getting septic and help the body combat viral, fungal and bacterial infections. Manderines contain insoluble fiber like hemicellulose and pectin that prevent cholesterol absorption in the stomach. The potassium in mandarin oranges can help lower blood pressure. The fiber is great for weight loss too.
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Mandarin oranges benefit the skin both topically and internally. The antioxidants found in mandarins make the skin glow, improve skin tone, reduce the signs of ageing from wrinkles and fine lines and helps reduce blemishes. The fiber flushes out toxins to cleanse the system. One mandarin has 53 calories and no fat. They have 23% of Vitamin A and 44% of Vitamin C needed per day, per orange. The essential oils found in the rind are used for drugs, soaps, fragrances, flavorings, cleaning products, liqueurs, carbonated beverages, gum, gelatin, ice cream and cosmetics. The rind is especially delicious for zest and adds a healthy pop to salads. The rest of the mandarin shrub is distilled and used for food flavorings also. Orange is the third most popular flavor after chocolate and vanilla.
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References

1. Plants and Society. Estelle Levetin & Karen McMahon. Sixth edition. The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. New York, N.Y. 2012

2. www.livestrong.mandarinorange.com

3. www.healthylivingmandarinoranges.com

Photo credit

www.recipeshubs.com

www.caloriecount.com

www.harvesttotable.com

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