We now find ourselves midway through winter, and the choice of fresh seasonal fruits is somewhat limited. It’s around this time of year that we start to crave summer fruit salads, and an abundance of fresh fruit sitting pretty in the fruit bowl. But rather than lamenting the fact that we have a few more months of chilly weather on the horizon, why not embrace one of the very finest winter gems…the delectable clementine?
Not quite an orange, not quite a mandarin, and far from a kumquat – the clementine is officially part of the mandarin family, and is a sweet little addition to winter snacking. Packed with vitamins, clementines are a staple food for me during the winter months, especially when I’m warding off a cold.
With my current jam-packed schedule, I’m often on the look out for snacks to keep me going on the road. Clementines are a great travel snack, as they don’t squash as easily as bananas (bananas in hand luggage = recipe for disaster), and don’t really bruise like apples. And another plus is that clementines have such a sweet and refreshing smell, so they provide a nice break on a stuffy plane.
And my favourite bit about clementines? You don’t need to bother with a knife to cut them up like an orange, you can just eat them straight out of the bag from the market.
Ask at your local market or grocer if clementines from Corsica are in stock. These varieties are slightly more expensive, but well worth it. Perfectly sweet, with just the right amount of tartness, Corsican clementines tend to have a very thin skin, and are virtually seedless.
Officially, clementines grown in Corsica are the only clementines produced in France. Chances are most clementines you spy at a French market or fruit shop will be Spanish or Moroccan varieties.
Citrus fruits are often best eaten fresh, straight from the market (or the tree!), but you can also get creative and whip up some simple recipes with clementines too. Whether you add them to cocktails, salads or sweets, clementines can brighten up a winter menu, and keep things fresh. If you’re looking for some new inspiration for cooking with clementines (or any citrus fruit for that matter), give these recipes a try: