Red Clementine Tangerines
Inventory, lb : 0
Red clementines are small fruits, averaging 7 to 10 centimeters in diameter, and have a round to ovate shape with curved edges and a slightly flattened top and bottom. The peel is thin, smooth, taut, and glossy, covered in sunken oil glands giving the surface a pebbled, dimpled appearance. The peel also ranges in color from vibrant orange to red-orange, sometimes blushed with faint red patches. The peel is easily removed as it is loosely attached, and the flesh is comprised of large pulp sacs divided into 10 to 12 segments by thin white membranes. The flesh showcases variegated hues and striations of dark red, pink, orange, to purple, and the color may become more pronounced as the fruit matures. The flesh is also tender, aqueous, soft, and seedless, releasing a pleasant and refreshing, sweet aroma. Red clementines contain moderate acidity and sugar, creating a balanced, sweet-tart flavor with tangy nuances of berries, tropical fruit, and blood oranges.
Red clementines are available in the mid-winter through early spring.
Red clementines, botanically a part of the Citrus genus, are a hybrid variety belonging to the Rutaceae family. The red-flushed fruits were derived from a natural cross between a clemenules mandarin and a tarocco blood orange and were developed in Italy in the late 20th century to create a pigmented seedless mandarin. After their release, Red clementines remained localized to Italy and regions of western Europe until the mid 21st century. They were eventually introduced to the United States sometime after 2015 and were established as a boutique citrus growing in California. There are several varieties of Red clementines marketed under specific brand names, and the fruits are also sometimes labeled as Red-fleshed mandarins, Red mandarins, and Mandared varieties. In the modern-day, Red clementines are a specialty citrus variety only available for a short season and are mainly consumed fresh, favored for their sweet-tart flavor, easy to peel nature, and colorful, variegated flesh.
Red clementines are an excellent source of vitamin C to reduce inflammation, strengthen the immune system, and boost collagen production within the skin. The fruits also provide fiber to regulate the digestive tract, potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, calcium to protect bones and teeth, and other nutrients, including copper, iron, folate, and B vitamins. The dark, pigmented hues found throughout the flesh are created from the presence of anthocyanins, compounds that have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties to assist in maintaining the overall health of the body.
Red clementines have a fruity, sweet-tart flavor well suited for fresh preparations. The small fruits are easily peeled and segmented, consumed straight, out of hand as a healthy snack or dessert. Red clementines can also be segmented and tossed into salads, mixed into fruit bowls, or layered in parfaits. The pigmented flesh provides visual depth when sliced into thin rings, an attractive garnish for desserts, main dishes, and salads. Red clementine segments can also be dipped in chocolate as a sweet snack or dessert, chopped into fruit salsas, or used as a topping over ice cream and cakes. In addition to the flesh, the juice can be incorporated into baked goods, sauces, glazes, and dressings. The juice can also be stirred into beverages for a tangy flavor, blended into smoothies, squeezed over roasted vegetables, or sprinkled over tacos or seafood. Try thinly slicing Red clementines and layering the slices around the edge of a cake or floating them into beverages. Red clementines pair well with meats such as beef, duck, pork, and poultry, seafood including white fish, shrimp, and crab, fruits such as pomegranates, oranges, and bananas, herbs such as rosemary, basil, and mint, prosecco, honey, and soft cheeses such as mozzarella. Whole, unwashed Red clementines will keep 2 to 7 days when kept at room temperature and 2 to 3 weeks when stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
The two most well-known Red clementine varieties are sold under the marketing names MandaRosa® and Ruby Tango mandarins. MandaRosa® mandarins were developed in Italy and were initially marketed under the name Mandared in the late 20th century. When they were introduced to the United States in 2020, the fruits were called MandaRosa®, a name derived from a combination of mandarin and “rosa,” translating to mean “pink” in Italian, a nod to the fruit’s pigmented flesh. Ruby Tango mandarins were developed by the University of California Davis and were commercially planted in California in 2016. Both varieties of Red clementines arrive at markets around Valentine’s Day and are often promoted as a ready-to-eat alternative to candy. The small fruits can be wrapped in cellophane with a note and given as gifts, or the red pigment in the flesh can add a festive nature to dishes when sliced into rings and floated in drinks, layered on desserts, or placed into salads.
Red clementines were developed in Sicily, Italy, at the Citrus Breeding Institute. The pigmented citrus was created through years of natural breeding, and the research trials were conducted primarily by breeders Santo Recupero, Giuseppe Reforgiato Recupero, and Giuseppe Russo in Italy from 1985 to 2004. Red clementines are a natural cross of the clemenules, also known as nules, clementine, and the tarocco blood orange. Clemenules are an early ripening tangerine and are one of Spain's most widely grown clementines, while tarocco blood oranges are a significant blood orange variety cultivated worldwide. The red-fleshed fruits were first introduced to Italian markets in the early 21st century under the Mandared name and were the only pigmented variety for several years. Mandared fruits also became a luxury, exported item, sent to other European countries, including Great Britain, Norway, and Germany. Years later, the Citrus Breeding Institute partnered with breeders in California to grow the mandarins in the United States, and the first crop of MandaRosa® mandarins was released at the beginning of 2020. Other California breeders at the University of California Davis also created a pigmented variety under the name of Ruby Tango in 2016. Today Red clementines are a specialty variety of citrus cultivated on a small scale in Europe and the United States. When in season, the fruits are sold through distributors, farmer’s markets, and select grocers.