If you haven't tried a clementine orange, you are missing one of the sweetest little treasures of the orange world. They have an enticing aroma, are juicy, tender and oh so sweet. Even after they are peeled you can pick up the peel and the aroma still lingers in the peel.
Pure pleasure in each and every bite.
The origin of clementines is shrouded in mystery. Some attribute their discovery to father Clement, a monk in Algeria, who tending his mandarin garden in the orphanage of Misserghim, found a natural mutation. He nurtured the fruit tree and subsequently called it "clementino". Others, like Japanese botanist Tanaka, believe that clementines must have originated in Asia and found their way through human migration to the Mediterranean. Whatever their origin, the fact is that clementines found their natural climate and soil in Spain, where they developed their particular aroma, sweetness and taste. Commercial production of clementines began in Spain in 1925. Today there are 161,000 acres dedicated to the cultivation of clementines.
Clementine's are the tiniest of the mandarins. Imported from Spain, Morocco, and other parts of North Africa, clementines are a cross between a sweet orange and a Chinese mandarin. They are small, very sweet, and usually seedless. Most people think of clementines as small tangerines, but they're a different variety entirely, with a distinctive taste. The Clementine is an excellent eating orange. Its small size and lack of seeds make it particularly popular with kids. Clementines have been available in Europe for many years, but the market for them in the United States was made only a few years ago.
All I know is these are the yummiest little treats ever and I just love pulling them out of the refrigerator, slowing peeling the soft orange skin from the flesh and popping a segment into my mouth. The sweetest taste ever!
Tomorrow I shop for groceries and a bag of clementines are on the top of my list.