Satsumas

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Satsuma Mandarins or Satsuma Oranges are considered to be some of the sweetest citrus fruits in the world. It is roughly the same size as other mandarin oranges but has the distinction of having thin and leathery skin. The skin of the Satsuma is extremely easy to peel, making it a favorite to children. The Satsuma was introduced to the United States around the 1800s by settlers along the banks of the Mississippi and has been grown in the areas around the region ever since.

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Sapindales
  • Family: Rutaceae
  • Genus: Citrus
  • Species: C. unshiu
  • Binomial name: Citrus unshiu

Satsuma Trivia

  • Satsumas became so popular that a few towns in the United States were named after them.
  • More than 80% of all citrus grown in Japan are Satsuma mandarins.
  • Satsuma mandarins are one of the first oranges to be harvested.
  • Dried satsuma peels are used in traditional Chinese medicine for a variety of medical conditions.

Satsuma Buying Guide

Choose Satsuma oranges that are firm to the touch and with the peel feeling tight. Also look for Satsuma oranges that feel heavy for their size, the heavier they are, the more juice it has. Avoid satsuma oranges with visible green on the peel, this is an indication that it may still be unripe. Satsumas, like most citrus fruit, do not ripen after they are picked, so this point is really important.

Some packers leave the stems on with some leaves attached to highlight their freshness. If you run across satsumas with stems and leaves attached, look for the ones with the freshest leaves for the longest shelf life.

Satsuma Production & Farming in Texas

Satsuma Mandarins are well recommended by the Texas Cooperative Extension as something that can be grown statewide due to its quality and cold tolerance. With their cold tolerance, Satsumas can even be grown in the Northern areas like Dallas with only a minimum requirement for cold protection. Newer hybrids from the Satsuma fruit have also been recommended, with the “Arctic Frost” variant being considered as a Texas Superstar due to its quality of fruit and ease to cultivate.

There are numerous organic Satsuma farms in Texas that offer pick-your-own services as well as supplying local markets and farmers’ markets.

Texas home growers also love to grow the Satsuma due to their ease of growing and survivability when planted in containers.

Pesticides:

Ninety-five percent of all citrus fruit tested had shown residues for 38 different pesticides and chemicals. Most of the residues were limited to the skin/rind, so the flesh of satsuma mandarins is relatively safe. But if you plan to use the rind for zests or marmalade use, it’s best to go with organically grown satsumas.

Geography:

Growing Satsuma mandarins can be done in almost any part of Texas according to the Texas Cooperative Extension. USDA Hardiness zone 9 is recommended, but for those below, extra precautions must be taken to ensure that the satsuma plant survives. Satsumas need full sun to thrive, think of it this way, more sun equals more fruit. Soil pH for Satsuma Mandarin plans should be 5.5-6.5 with well-drained soil.

Being able to thrive in containers is one of the qualities that has made the Satsuma orange very popular with home growers. Even if you live in areas with cold and harsh winters, you can easily move the plant indoors to protect them during the cold months.

Packaging:

Satsumas are very sensitive due to their softness. They are usually packed in net bags, and depending on the size of the crop, they may be packed in bulk boxes as well. They usually require no additional protective packaging, but handling is very gentle to prevent damage to the flesh inside.

Eating Satsumas

Due to their sweetness, Satsuma mandarins are best enjoyed raw and as a snack. They also make good additions to cocktails and drinks. Satsuma segments can also be added to green and fruit salads to give it a healthy citrus boost.

For satsumas to be used in baking applications, it is suggested that only the juice will be used as the pulp bits may cause anything baked to not rise properly. The satsuma is also perfect for glazes for chicken, pork, and fish dishes.

The satsuma also makes for good marmalade, but be sure to use organic satsumas to avoid any of the pesticide residues that are commonly found on citrus peel.

Nutrition:

  • Carbs
    • Due to its sweetness, satsumas are a little bit higher in sugar content than regular oranges. Even though they are higher, they share the same statistics when it comes to the Glycemic index and Glycemic load.
    • The glycemic index of the satsuma mandarin is at 42 with its glycemic load at 4, which means that it is safe for people with diabetes to consume without worrying too much that their blood sugar might shoot up.
  • Fiber
    • The pulp of the satsuma mandarins is relatively thin so they’re not a particularly good source of dietary fiber.
    • A 100g serving of satsumas only provides 7%-8% of the RDI of dietary fiber. It may not be much, but every little bit helps.
      • Maintaining a diet that hits the RDI for fiber is essential for maintaining gut health as well as maintaining good intestinal flora balance.
      • Fiber is also essential in keeping cholesterol down by preventing the absorption of bad cholesterol.
    • Vitamins and minerals:
      • Satsuma mandarins are rich in vitamin C, with one fruit providing up to 40% of the RDI for vitamin C.
        • Vitamin C protects your cells, strengthens your immune system, and contributes to overall health and wellness.
      • Satsuma mandarins also provide you with 15% of the RDI for Thiamin (Vitamin B1).
        • Thiamin is essential for energy creation and contributes to good heart function.
      • Satsuma oranges contain 5% of the RDI for folate.
        • Folate helps turn carbohydrates into energy.
        • Folate is also very important to pregnant women for the proper development of the fetus.

When Are Satsumas in Season in Texas?

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  • Oktober
  • November
  • December

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Buy Local Farmfresh Satsumas in Texas Directly from the Producer

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Froberg’s Farm and Country Store