One clementine provides only 35 calories, along with 36 milligrams of immune-boosting vitamin C, half a day's worth for women. (The daily recommendation for vitamin C has been increased to 90 milligrams for men and 75 milligrams for women.)
Clementines also serve up fibre, folic acid and potassium, a mineral that helps keep blood pressure in check.
Nutrition information for 2 clementines, the equivalent of one food guide fruit serving:
|Vitamin C||72 mg|
|Folic acid||36 mcg|
(Source: Canadian Nutrient File 2007b)
Technically, clementines are a cross between mandarins (Citrus reticulata) and Seville oranges (Citrus auratium). They're closely related to lemons, pummelos and tangerines.
There are 16 species of the California clementine, each being slightly different in taste and size. The pixie variety has the thickest skin, making it easier to peel, while the encore clementine is larger with a thinner skin.
Clementines are also grown in Europe, North Africa, Israel and Japan. In these countries, clementines are not always distinguished from other varieties of mandarins. For instance, the German word for clementine is "Mandarine".
In North America, clementine season runs from mid-November through January. Clementines are often sold in pre-packaged mesh bags or boxes. If you're able to sort through loose clementines, select those that are firm and heavy for their size. Clementines that are fragrant with rich color and thick skins will be easy to peel and delicious!
The skin of a ripe, juicy Clementine will feel loose on the fruit and should have no brown spots or wrinkles. Green areas on the skin aren't a sign of poor flavor - it just means the fruit isn't ripe yet but can be stored until it's ready to be enjoyed.
Clementines should be stored in a cool, well-ventilated area. The ideal storage temperature for all citrus fruit is about 7 or 8 degrees Celcius. They can stay at room temperature for up to one week. If refrigerated, they will keep for up to two weeks.
Clementines are sometimes called "zipper oranges" because they're so easy to peel. Peeling is the only "preparation" you need to enjoy this healthy, grab-and-go fruit.
For clementine juice, slice several clementines in half, remove any seeds and then apply the fruit to a juicer. Using an electric citrus fruit juicer will give you more juice than a manual juicer. To get fresh juice from one clementine, simply stick a fork in it and squeeze without removing the fork.
Clementines can be enjoyed fresh, canned, frozen or juiced. Unlike other citrus fruits, the zest of a clementine is very bitter and should not be used in cooking.
Healthy Ways to Enjoy
- Make a fruit salad with clementines, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries.
- Add clementine segments to a bowl of yogurt.
- Top a bowl of oatmeal or cold cereal with clementine segments.
- Make a smoothie with two whole clementines, a banana and unsweetened soy milk.
- Alternate layers of granola, yogurt and clementines for a delicious breakfast parfait.
- Toss clementine segments into a spinach salad to boost iron absorption (vitamin C enhances iron absorption from plant foods).
- Add a squeeze of fresh clementine juice to balsamic vinegar and olive oil for a salad dressing.
- Garnish a quinoa or bean salad with chopped clementine segments. Serve chilled.
- Mix clementine juice into sauces for a sweet and tangy twist.
- Add a diced clementine to your cranberry sauce for a festive twist.
- Chop half a clementine into salad dressings, salsas and relishes. Get a recipe.
- Toss clementine slices into any green salad to add color, sweetness and extra nutrition. Get a recipe.
- Squeeze clementine juice onto fresh fish, in place of lemon juice.
Snacks and Dessert
- Grab a clementine and a few nuts for a nutritious snack on the run.
- Add a few slices of clementine to a store-bought fruit salad.
- Incorporate clementine juice into your favorite cocktail or add as a garnish to your drink.
- Freeze clementine segments that have been dipped in dark chocolate for a fancy treat.
Did you know?
- There are 14 segments in a clementine.
- The original fresh mandarin has bright green skin with orange flesh.