The Aussie mandarin season runs from April to October.
Like all citrus fruits, mandarin is a good source of fibre, folate and antioxidant vitamins A and C.
Experts link a diet high in citrus fruits to reduced rates of infection and disease. Mandarins contain phytochemicals that can help cut the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, and might even guard against some cancers. Moreover, this fruit’s deep-yellow carotenoid, lutein, can help fight premature macular degeneration.
Aussies can choose from 10 mandarin varieties. Early-season Imperials are golden orange in colour, easy to peel and contain few seeds. Mid-season Hickson has slightly loose, brilliant orange skin, so it’s easy to both peel and spot. Honey Murcott rolls out towards the end of the season. This large variety has a very sweet flavour. One unusual mandarin is the deep orange-red Afourer, which originated in Morocco. Rich in flavour, this juicy mandarin is sometimes seedless — bonus!
Pick the best
Choose firm mandarins that feel heavy for their size, as heavier fruit is bursting with more juice. The skin should be bright, glossy and blemish free. Mandarins last up to two weeks in the fridge crisper. They’ll also keep in a cool dark place for up to five days.
Capture the flavour
Toss: For a tangy salad, toss seeded mandarin segments with sliced fennel and chopped avocado and onion. Combine with mixed salad greens, coriander and parsley. Dress with a splash of olive oil and vinegar.
Stir-fry: To make a zesty sauce, add onion, ginger, lemon juice, honey and light soy sauce to your favourite stir-fry meat and veg, adding seeded mandarin segments for the last couple of minutes.
Roast: For a roast chicken, make a paste of mandarin, honey, garlic and grainy mustard. Brush paste onto chicken. Roast meat until cooked, basting repeatedly, and serve with mashed potato and green beans or Brussels sprouts.
Get 190% of your daily requirement for vitamin C from one mandarin.