Satsuma Mandarins are soft, yet heavy with sweet juices. The longer the fruit stays on the tree, the higher their sugar content - or brix, so earlier in the season, they can be a little more firm and tart. Once your fruit is to your desired ripeness, place your fruit in the refrigerator to extend their shelf life.
Satsuma Mandarins are usually eaten out of hand, but make a great addition to salads and savory dishes.They are often paired with bold-flavored foods, such as fennel and blue cheese because their sweetness provides a complementary effect.
We are excited about a new Satsuma Mandarin orchard we planted earlier this year. Two years ago, we ordered the trees, and this summer they showed up neatly organized into bins that were delivered from the nursery.
Now the trees have been tucked into their homes that were precisely located with the help of a GPS and a surveying crew.
The new trees look good in the field, but they are so tiny! From the distance, the trees appear as little, green toothpicks neatly organized in a brown field that rolls up and down with the contour of the gently sloping hills.
The thought of a mature orchard seems so far away, but we know that slowly and steadily those little trees will make great use of the soil, sun, water and love that we will provide them.
How have you been enjoying your Satsumas this winter? Looking for new ways to enjoy them? Here's a list of suggestions:
Juice Them! Drink your juice straight from the juicer or add it to your favorite tea or cocktail. Fresh citrus juice is also a great ingredient for sauces, dressings and vinaigrette.
Freeze Them! Separate the segments then freeze them - perfect for smoothies! Use the juice to make sorbet, granita or a frozen orange souffle.
Bake Them! Use Satsumas in your next cake, muffin, biscotti, scone or cheesecake.
Preserve Them! Satsumas are some of the best citrus fruits to preserve. Turn your fresh fruit into a sweet marmalade, jam, jelly or syrup to enjoy long after Satsuma season is over.
Peel Them! Candy your peels, or dry them and add chunks of peel to braises or sauces. You can grind the dried peels and mix with your favorite herbs and spices to create a savory-yet-sweet spice rub to enhance just about anything.
Eat Them! Add fresh Satsuma segments to salads, garnish seafood dishes, make a compote or salsa, include in side dishes such as shaved fennel, fruit salad or cous cous.
Decorate With Them! Satsumas add a hint of color to any centerpiece, wreath or garland. Craft your peel into a simple, lovely candle that uses the pith as a wick.