Clementines and tangerines may look the same on the outside, but there are actually several important differences between them. They are distinguished not only by their appearance and taste, but also by their degree of acidity and sweetness, as well as by their content of vitamins and nutrients. To help you better choose your favorite fruit, we have put together an informative list showing all the essential differences between clementine and tangerine! From texture to nutrient content, here are 10 things that set these citrus fruits apart from each other.
Origin and history:
The clementine is a fruit originating in Algeria, resulting from a crossing of sweet oranges with mandarin made at the beginning of the 20th century. This hybridization was made by Father Clément (Vital Rodier), who gave it the name of this fruit in his homage. The mandarin, on the other hand, comes from Southeast Asia, where it has been cultivated for several millennia. Its name comes from the port of Mandarine in Vietnam, where it was exported to China.
Size and Appearance:
The clementine is generally smaller than the tangerine, with a size of around 5 to 8 cm in diameter. The skin of clementines is smooth and easy to peel by hand. The tangerine is a little larger, measuring around 6-10cm in diameter, with a slightly rough skin that is more difficult to remove. Tangerines also have more pointed and distinct lobes, while clementines are more rounded.
Taste and Flavor:
Clementine is sweeter and less acidic than mandarin. It has a sweet and slightly fragrant taste, while tangerine has a more pungent and tangy flavor. The aromas of clementine juice are fine and delicate, while those of tangerine are more intense and pronounced.
Clementines contain a higher sugar level than mandarins. On average, a clementine has a sugar level of 9.2% of its weight, while a tangerine has a sugar level of 7.3%. This can be an important consideration for people watching their sugar intake.
One of the most appreciated factors in the clementine lies in its low quantity of seeds. Indeed, the clementine contains few or no seeds, which makes it even easier to taste. Tangerine, on the other hand, usually has several seeds in each segment.
Although the two fruits have similar harvest seasons, there are notable differences. Clementine is generally harvested from November to January, while mandarin is harvested from September to February. Clementines often come from Mediterranean regions, while mandarins are grown in Asia, Australia and North America.
Clementines have a better shelf life than tangerines, due to their thicker skin which protects the fruit. Clementines usually keep for about two weeks at room temperature, while tangerines tend to go bad faster.
Clementines are often used to add sweetness and a slight hint of acidity to desserts and fruit dishes. They are also ideal to consume as is, as a snack or to accompany a meal. Tangerines, with their more pronounced flavor, are frequently used to add a tart touch to savory dishes, such as salads and grilled fish dishes.
Both fruits contain similar nutrients, including vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. However, clementines are slightly higher in vitamin C than mandarins, with an average intake of 49 mg per 100 g of clementines compared to 39 mg for mandarins.
Finally, there are many varieties of clementines and tangerines, each with distinctive characteristics. Popular clementines include the Nules variety, Fina and Oroval. Mandarins come in other varieties all over the world. These include: Nova, Ortanique, Fortune, Encorce.