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Fremont tangerines are small to medium fruits, averaging 5 to 7 centimeters in diameter, and have a round to oblate shape with a slightly flattened stem end. The peel is semi-thin, dark orange with red undertones, firm, and smooth with a slightly bumpy texture created from prominent oil glands. The peel is easily removed in sections, emitting a fragrant citrus aroma when torn, revealing dark orange flesh divided into 8 to 9 segments by thin membranes. The flesh is also easily separated into pieces, bearing a soft, tender, and aqueous consistency with a few to many cream-colored seeds. Fremont tangerines have a balanced blend of sugar and acidity, creating a bright and refreshing, sweet, tangy, and tart flavor.
Fremont tangerines are available in the winter through early spring.
Fremont tangerines, botanically classified as Citrus reticulata, are a sweet-tart, boutique citrus variety belonging to the Rutaceae family. The small fruits are also known as Fremont mandarins and are a highly productive, early season variety that holds well on the trees for harvests throughout the season. Fremont tangerines were created in the mid 20th century in Florida, developed from two well-known mandarin varieties, and were selected for their balanced flavor, juicy nature, and vibrant coloring. The variety was also favored for its ability to be grown in hot climates, designed to withstand arid citrus growing regions, specifically in California and Arizona. When in season, Fremont tangerines are favored primarily as fresh eating fruit, but the tangerines are also utilized for their high juice content to flavor beverages and culinary dishes.
Fremont tangerines are an excellent source of fiber to stimulate the digestive tract and vitamin C to strengthen the immune system, boost collagen production, and reduce inflammation. The fruits also contain folate to produce healthy red blood cells, potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, vitamin A to maintain optimal organ functioning, and lower amounts of calcium to strengthen bones and teeth.
Fremont tangerines have a balanced, sweet, and tangy flavor well suited for fresh eating and as a flavoring for a wide variety of dishes. The fruits can be peeled, discarding the skin and seeds, and consumed straight, out-of-hand or they can be segmented and tossed into salads, fruit bowls, cereal, or granola. Fremont tangerines can also be chopped into salsas, blended into milkshakes and smoothies, or sliced and served as a fresh topping with seafood. Since Fremont tangerines have quite a few seeds, the variety is favored for juicing. The juice can be incorporated into sauces, dressings, and vinaigrettes, or it can be stirred into cocktails, sparkling beverages, and fruit punches. The fruit juice can also be used to flavor scones, muffins, and crepes or mixed into desserts such as cupcakes, cheesecakes, and custards. Fremont tangerines pair well with meats such as poultry, beef, and fish, other seafood, fruits such as strawberries, cranberries, and apples, nuts such as almonds, pecans, and walnuts, herbs, including mint, cilantro, and tarragon, and spices such as cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. Whole, unwashed Fremont tangerines will keep up to one week at room temperature and 1 to 2 weeks when stored in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
In Auburn, California, the annual Mountain Mandarin Festival celebrates the diversity of mandarin varieties, including Fremont mandarins, and is a three-day event focused on the fruits. The festival was created by Joanne Neft in 1995, a local food and agriculture advocate. Neft sought to increase the visibility of the mandarin industry in Placer County, California, a sector she felt was often overlooked in the competitive California citrus market. Neft also spearheaded a nutritional study of mandarins through the United States Department of Agriculture that discovered a natural antihistamine found within some mandarin varieties. This study helped catapult mandarins into mainstream health markets and encouraged consumers to purchase the local mandarins in Placer County, eventually selling out of the fruits for the entire season. As mandarin production rose within the county, Neft used the Mountain Mandarin Festival to promote healthy eating and celebrate the beginning of the mandarin season. The festival has become popular in the past decade, drawing over 35,000 attendees annually, and features fresh mandarin sampling by local growers, mandarin fruit-eating contests, professional chef cooking demonstrations, and live entertainment. The Mountain Mandarin Festival also features food vendors selling mandarin-inspired creations such as mandarin wings, pulled pork, pizza, jams, fudge, milkshakes, popcorn, doughnuts, scones, and funnel cakes.
Fremont tangerines were developed by P.C. Reece at the United States Horticultural Field Station in Orlando, Florida, in the 1950s. The variety was bred from crossing ponkan and clementine mandarins and was selected for its bright flavoring, juicy nature, and hardiness. Fremont tangerines were later sent to Brawley, California, for further study and test production. The variety was eventually chosen by J.R. Furr, a researcher at the United States Date and Citrus Station, Indio, California, for commercial release in 1964. Fremont tangerines were also introduced to Australia in 1968 and were well-suited to the warm climate of Queensland. Today Fremont tangerines are found through farmer’s markets, select growers, specialty grocers, and home gardens within the United States, especially in California, Arizona, and Florida. The variety is also being studied for commercial production in Brazil and is grown in Australia, where the fruits are sold domestically and exported to Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.
Recipes that include Fremont Tangerines. One is easiest, three is harder.
|White on Rice Couple||Winter's Citrus, Double Tangerine Cocktail|