What’s In Season? – Oh, My Darling Clementine

It’s truly amazing that a fruit like the clementine should come into season when the days are shortest and we need their health benefits the most. 

The clementine originated in China thousands of years ago but has only been grown in the U.S. since 1909.  Unlike most fruit, it will not ripen once it has been picked.  Clementines tend to dry out rather than get overripe. This is where you want to squeeze out their juice and freeze for a later date when your recipe calls for fresh orange juice.  Fortunately, clementines can stay on the tree for months which is why we have those wonderful boxes of clementines from mid-November until almost March.  The fruit is harvested as needed and not as per the fruit’s ripeness.

Clementines are a cross between oranges and mandarins and the easiest variety of citrus to peel.  Make sure you take a deep breath in when you remove the skin of these little gems as the essential oils in the peel have a calming effect credited with reducing anxiety and fighting depression. 

With an average of 35 calories per fruit, the clementine is chock full of vitamins and minerals that help keep us physically and mentally healthy during the dark days of winter.  Here’s just a few of the health benefits:

Vitamin C helps prevent respiratory infections associated with the common cold and flu. 

Potassium can reduce dental inflammation and hypertension. 

Choline aids in healthy liver function.

Folate is necessary for regulation of mood. 

Finally, the oil from the clementine’s skin can be a powerful antioxidant and pain reliever.

Barefoot Contessa has a Maple-Roasted Carrot Salad made with freshly squeezed orange juice that is perfect as a winter meal…just substitute with your fresh or frozen clementine juice. 

Check out our Cheftovers section to see how to re-use the peels from clementines.  Keeping ourselves and the Earth healthy is something that all of us can be part of!

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